GEORGE T. MAIER APOLOGISTS
"If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be duck," no?
Apparently not, if your name is George T. Maier and you are Stark County Democratic Party appointed sheriff.
Clear back on June 3, 2014, it appeared to the SCPR that George was thinking ahead to November 4, 2014 and his attempt to have validation of being Stark County sheriff by anyone other than the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee.
Twice Maier encountered stiff opposition to being appointed sheriff by the Dems to replace former chief deputy and sheriff-elect (November, 2012) who was unable to take office on January 7, 2013 due to being in the last stages of a terminal illness which took his life on February 22, 2013.
On February 5th, 84 Democrat central committee persons voted "no" (in voting for the politically unsophisticated Lou Darrow) on Maier, while a slim majority of 92 voted for Maier who is the brother of the politically consummate Johnnie A. Maier, Jr; a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman.
On December 11, 2013, in a re-do of the selection process because the Ohio Supreme Court found (November 6, 2013) that Maier "was not qualified" to be sheriff on February 5th, 66 Stark County Democratic Party precinct committee persons voted for Darrow and against Maier.
Those numbers in and of themselves make it obvious that Maier has an uphill climb to get elected to anything countywide in Stark.
Only in Massillon do the Maiers seem to have much political clout. Johnnie has settled down as clerk of courts with the Stark County Democratic Party political director (Shane Jackson) at his side as chief deputy since the late 1990s as a refuge from being term-limited out of the Ohio House of Representatives.
Back to George T. Maier "thinking ahead" to November 4, 2014.
Recently, the SCPR received a copy of the following "inter-office memo:"
Hmm?Dear Friends and Colleagues,
We have been discussing holding an agency open house to allow the public to visit our facility to interact with you to have a better understand of what we do here at the Stark County Sheriff’s Office.
The visit will not include access to our secure areas but will afford the public with the opportunity to view some common areas and permit us to place some of our equipment on display.
I anticipate that this event will be sometime in September or early October before the weather turns allowing us to host part of the event outdoors.
The reason for this memo is to see if any of you might be interested in participating on a committee organize this event and get it off the ground. This would require some volunteer time to help work on the planning of this event.
If you are interested I will select a small group of people to take the lead on this and so please let Carrie know if you are interested in participating.
An open house?
September or early October before the weather turns?
Election date: November 4, 2014!
What a coincidence!!!
The perfect cover for staging what some may think as being a political event at taxpayer expense, no?
So the SCPR started digging.
One of Stark County's most stand up guys in the estimate of the SCPR is Warren Price.
A former Democratic Alliance councilman, candidate for mayor and William J. Healy, II administration official (top level in various roles) and now Human Resources director for Maier.
While he appears to be a loyal person for whomever he works (something, undoubtedly the Maiers understand about him), if "push comes to shove" in that his boss asks him to do things not in the public interest, the SCPR thinks that "he will - in the end - turn on a person he views as an "out-of-bounds" boss and opt out.
He was part of the legal team which represented the Stark County Democratic Party when Lou Darrow filed his ill-fated Writ of Prohibition in the Ohio Supreme Court against the Dems trying to prevent the February 5th vote.
Such is exactly what The Report thinks happened in his leaving the Healy administration in July, 2013.
knew his days with the Healy administration were numbered (summer of 2013) and either approached or was approached the Maier folks about his doing work for the Dems' appointed sheriff.
Notwithstanding Price's generalized "aim to please," The Report thinks that he is the most reliable person on George T. Maier's staff to look out for the public interest over Maier's personal political interests and if "pushed to the wall" will push back.
Of course, the Maiers (George and Johnnie, Jr) will, undoubtedly, be watching him very closely and will likely subtlely remind him periodically that he is an "at will" sheriff's department employee and that he had better mind his "p's and q's."
In the SCPR's asking for sheriff department public records, Price appears to be bending over backwards to provide them.
So the SCPR sent a copy of the inter-office communication to Price asking for records on purchases and a list of those "volunteering" in support of an open house.
Relying on the fiction that the SCPR thinks George T. Maier is perpetuating in-house that the spruce up at the 4500 Atlantic Avenue complex has nothing to do with his proposed open house and it certainly has nothing to do to having a pretext of using taxpayer money in support of what some think is an effort to buttress his underway political campaign, this is what Price had to say about the SCPR estimated $2,000, more or less, in recent expenditures in making repairs/refurbishing at the jail complex:
A photo example of one purchase made (five spotted, at last count) at Stark County taxpayer expense "not for open house and certainly 'not for political purposes:'"
(Enlarged, non-colorized, version of Maier logo on soap dispenser/sanitizer dispenser)
Cool, really cool, no? All at Stark County taxpayer expense!
No offense to Price but as an offense to Maier: "Sheriff - who is going to believe that?"
As the SCPR is apt to say when Stark County politicians engage the ridiculous, and to say it once again in an expanded form: "it may be true, but who is going to believe it?"
Of course, The Stark County Political Report thinks that anything that George and brother Johnnie say is laced with personal political interests and therefore suspects that their goals have not much if any connection with the public interest.
Some folks think that Maier's predecessor Tim Swanson was a highly political sheriff.
George T. Maier, on the other hand, does not have the guts to take SCPR questions.
The Report thinks that if Maier is elected, he will politicize the Stark County sheriff's department to a degree that Stark Countians have never seen.
As far as the SCPR is concerned, Maier is already made quite a few moves in what is believed to be bringing his political loyalists onto the sheriff's payroll beginning with his assumption of office in early 2013.
Slowly but surely neutral leaders at the sheriff's department are filtering out.
Predictably, Lou Darrow has left. Reports are that he departed after confronting Maier about a Maier promised assignment that had not materialized. Maier's reported response: "Wait until after the election."
Other top-tier sheriff's department personnel are set to leave rather than abide Maier's arbitrary ways, the SCPR is told.
It appears to the SCPR that Maier and his political advisers are configuring ways for sheriff department employees to curry favor with the sheriff.
In the inter-office memo (see the entire memo above), the so-called "volunteers" for the projected open house are told that Maier is looking for ( I will select a small group of people to take the lead on this) in what some might think to be an implication of creating an elite group of insiders who have the confidence of the sheriff.
The SCPR has reports to the effect that Lt. Stantz is spending large amounts of time (presumably his own time) doing campaign activities for Maier.
The Report is told that a postcard has been sent out to sheriff deputies indicating that it is presumed that they would want a "Maier for Sheriff" sign in their yards. But if they do not. They are to contact Lt. John Oliver, and tell him so.
Very intimidating to those hard working deputy sheriffs, no?
Other Stark County sheriff department top brass names that keeping coming up to the SCPR as being part of the Maier reelection campaign in discussion with sources include. Oliver, Lt. Charles Stantz, and Captain Tim George.
Moreover, The Report is told that a former sheriff's department employee (now a civilian?) whose spouse still works for the department was allowed to drive a taxpayer provided vehicle in the Alliance (July 29th) "Carnation Festival" parade.
None of this is a surprise to the Stark County Political Report.
And the SCPR hasn't even gotten into the "Coffee With a Cop" program that has "political" timing written all over it as far as The Report is concerned.
The Report cannot wait until Maier's October 23rd campaign finance report is released (listing contributions from the post-primary report through October 15.)
It will be interesting to see how many "entirely on their own" (of course) department employees will have made contributions and in what amount.
To the SCPR, for Stark County chief law enforcer to be "politically initiated" as the SCPR thinks George T. Maier is, should be a matter of grave concern to Stark County voters!!!