Friday, October 24, 2014

PART I - A MULTI-PART "ANALYTICAL" SERIES ON CAMPAIGN FINANCE ON KEY "STARK COUNTY" RACES



UPDATED:  5:50 PM

Not long ago, The Stark County Political Report did a blog on what appears to be a George T. Maier attempt to intimidate the top brass within the Stark County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) into contributing to and supporting his campaign to make the transition of "merely being the" Stark County Democratic Party Central Commitee (SCDP-CC) "appointed" sheriff to becoming the elected sheriff.


Maier did hold his fundraiser on the 4th as evidenced by this campaign finance report (CFR)  expense statement on his pre-General CFR.


And the results of his "recommended level of support" solicitation are interesting to say the least.

As shown in the graphic above, the only one among the majors, captains and lieutenants part of the solicitation getting anywhere near "the recommendation" is one Timothy George; promoted by Maier to captain in May, 2013, to wit:  (source:  SCSO Facebook page)


Hmm?

Since he was promoted, Stark County Board of Elections filed Maier CFRs indicate that George contributed another $150 in the post-Primary report and therefore is relatively close to what George T. Maier thinks a captain should contribute.


Tim George, as far as the SCPR can determine, has contributed $800 so far.

Of course, we will not know what he or any other of the top brass at the SCSO does between October 16th and up to and beyond the election until the post-General election CFR are filed.

And that we will not know until December 12, 2014.

Just call the SCPR cynical when it comes to the Maiers (George and his brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., a former Stark Dems chairman), but The Report suspects that there might be a "wink and a nod" operation going on whereby other top SCSO officials/employees will make sizable contributions (or have since October 15th) in line with "the recommendation according to the rank," but they will not be known by the public until December 12th.

The SCPR's take on the Maier brothers is that "personal political loyalty" is an obsession with them and that for anyone who violates any test of loyalty with them (contributions, voting for a sheriff candidate or other Maier approved candidate within the SCDP-CC scheme of things, and the like) will forever be suspect with them as having the requisite loyalty so as to be considered part and parcel of the Maier Loyalty Club.


While he is still short of George T. Maier recommended $1,000 for a captain,  Timothy George is far and away (again, according to Maier filed BOE CFRs) ahead of his peers.

Making him, as far as the SCPR is concerned, the most loyal of George T. Maier's loyalists in terms of SCSO employees contributing to the boss' political campaign.

And as seen in the SCPR's blog on Sergeant Major and U.S. Marine par excellence Dan F. Altieri (at least from Altieri's perspective), personal political loyalty seems to be an obsession with George T. Maier.

Altieri thinks he did not get a renewed "reserve" deputy sheriff commission because he had handed out flyers when Maier was vying for the SCDP-CC appointment as Stark County sheriff on December 11, 2013.

As the SCPR understands it, Maier's denial of Alteri's commission, threatened his ability to earn a living.

The SCPR has searched high and low for a photo of Timothy George and cannot find one.

Would someone please send the SCPR a copy of a Tim George photo?

Why would the SCPR want a photo of Tim George?

Answer:  Don't you think he should be included in the SCPR generated graphic of "The Maier Loyalty Club?"  He does deserve to be rewarded for his "all-out-support" for George T. Maier, no? Does anyone dispute that he is entitled to be thought as being a member of the club?


And, one final thing.

Speaking of photos.

The SCPR has a report that there is (or has been) a photograph of former Democratic sheriff Tim Swanson (who, yesterday, endorsed Maier opponent and Republican Larry Dordea) and Democrat and Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero.

So?

Well, the word is that on the photo there are two darts.

Hmm?

So the questions are, if the report is accurate:  (the SCPR has a source that claims to have seen the photo)
  1. What does such a mix in a photo suggest?
  2. Does George T. Maier know about it?
With Swanson's endorsement of Dordea, no indication whatsoever that Prosecutor Ferrero is reconciled to Maier, are there a greater pair of disloyals to Maier in all of Stark County?

And the Maiers ain't ever going to forget that!!!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

BREAKING NEWS! FORMER DEMOCRAT SHERIFF SWANSON TO ENDORSE REPUBLICAN DORDEA FOR STARK COUNTY SHERIFF!



The Stark County Political Report has learned that the broken glass of the Stark County Democratic Party will become scattered shards with the impending "press release" later today by former Democratic Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson that he endorses Republican Larry Dordea over fellow Democrat George T. Maier.


Swanson, as captured in the photo above by the SCPR with former Stark County sheriff department Captain Lou Darrow (now retireat a Stark County Council of Governments (SCOG) meeting on November 12, 2013, just days after the Ohio Supreme Court removed Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee appointee George T. Maier (02/05/2013) from office as "unqualified" by the Ohio Supreme Court on November 6, 2013.

A Swanson filed quo warranto on February 12, 2013 was the basis for the November 6, 2013 decision.

Swanson and Democratic Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero (a former chairman of the Dems) opposed Maier in supporting Darrow on February 5th and again on December 11, 2013 when the Stark Dems once again appointed Maier.

At the February meeting Darrow received 84 votes compared to Maier's 92.  In December, there were still 66 Democratic precinct committee members who were willing to face down the Maier Massillon-based political machine.

Long term Stark County political observers were stunned at the closeness of the February vote.

Had the vote been by secret ballot, many observers think that Darrow would have won.

There are those who think that Maier's brother Johnnie, Jr (a former Dems' chairman) hatched the "open to public scrutiny" vote change in the local Democratic Party bylaws justified by an argument that central committee members are "elected" officials and therefore are obligated to vote out-in-the-open.

While the SCPR agrees with the political theory behind the "out-in-the-open" vote, The Report does not buy into the notion that Gonzalez and Johnnie A. Maier, Jr are "transparency-fostering" party leaders.

The Report thinks that Gonzalez and Maier, Jr will shift with the wind depending on their personal political interests.

As far as the SCPR is concerned, there has never been a definitive answer by the Ohio Supreme Court as to whether or not Maier is currently qualified under relevant Ohio statutes to be sheriff.

And the possibility remains that should he be elected on November 4, 2013, Maier will once again face a quo warranto action like that initiated by Swanson on February 12, 2013 that could keep the Stark County sheriff's office in a state of flux.

With Swanson's endorsement, Dordea - who the SCPR thinks already has an advantage in that the Democratic gubernatorial candidate (FitzGerald) self-destructed and therefore Democrats across-the-board are in for a real shellacking in less than two weeks - picks up another advantage with dissident Democrats who look to Swanson and Prosecutor John Ferrero for leadership.

Ferrero has not, so far as the SCPR knows, endorsed Dordea.  However, it is hard to imagine that he would be telling anybody that he thinks it is okay to vote for Maier after his (Ferrero) being humiliated on February 5th by then Stark County Dems' chairman Randy Gonzalez for having submitted an affidavit expressing his assessment that Maier was not qualified under Ohio law to be sheriff.

To repeat, the Ohio Supreme Court vindicated Ferrero's opinion on November 6, 2013.

George Maier was removed as the Stark County Democratic Party appointed sheriff.

Though The Report thinks Dordea is disadvantaged in that he is a classy guy who runs his political campaign at a very high moral level as compared to the political "rough and tumble" Maiers (to be nice about them); it could be that the "stars are aligning" for him and the rift within the Stark County Democratic Party in combo with the coming Republican tide will put him over the top on November 4th.

SWANSON'S ENDORSEMENT

After careful consideration I have decided I cannot remain silent any longer concerning the Sheriff's race. Having spent the last forty years of my life dedicated to serving the citizens of Stark County and for fourteen of those years you trusted me as  your elected  Sheriff (1999-2013), I must speak out.

There is only one qualified candidate appearing on the November ballot, Larry Dordea. I cannot believe the audacity of the Democrat candidate, who was found to have illegally occupied the office of Sheriff by the Ohio Supreme Court. 


I implore you not to be deceived by the rhetoric and untruths being shared by Mr. Dordea's opponent. 


There is only one candidate appearing on the ballot who truly meets all the necessary qualifications. That candidate is Larry Dordea.


The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. 

-- Sir Edmund Burke  1729-1797     

Tim Swanson retired


Stark County Sheriff


Tim Swanson 


STARK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY APPOINTED SHERIFF "GEORGE T. MAIER" DENIES AMERICAN MILITARY HERO DAN ALTIERI A RESERVE DEPUTY SHERIFF COMMISSION!


(SO THE SCPR THINKS!)

DUE TO "POPULAR DEMAND"

REPUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 23, 2014

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OCTOBER 22, 2014

UPDATE:  10:05 AM

An email to the SCPR from Sgt Major Altieri

Dan Nicholas Altieri
rocksgtmajor@ ...   Today at 12:00 AM
To  Tramols@att.net
Mr. Olson,

I appreciate you taking interest in my story.

I have had both the honor and privilege to have served with many great, honorable, and extraordinary men and women in both my law enforcement career in nearly 27 years at the Stark County Sheriff's Office and the 30 years, 10 months and 14 days of active/reserve duty in the United States Marine Corps.

The experience I gained at both places was eye-opening and one of a kind. Working beside so many selfless men and women who prided themselves in doing the right thing, caring for each other, and being a part of something so much bigger than themselves. Demonstrated to me what a great country we live in and a place we need always to protect.

I was forward deployed 15 times with the United States Marine Corps, serving on 4 combat tours with the Marine Corps Infantry.

I went on hundreds of combat patrol missions in places like Grenada, Beirut Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I was  "part of a team" of men who would face death daily and most times, live to tell about it.

My story is not new though, many men and women in history have done this and so, so, much more. Veterans Of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and many other conflicts.

As Marines and as Soldiers this is expected of you. You take care of that Marine to the left and right of you, to the front, and the back of you.

There is much "Honor, Courage, and Commitment" in the Marine Corps and the United States Armed Forces. I am very honored and humbled about being a Marine Corps combat veteran. My father was a combat veteran,

My Uncles were combat veterans, my Cousins were combat veterans. We are not hero's, [sic] just part of something so much bigger than ourselves.

We were just "part of a team".  


[Editors note:  enlarged for emphasis in light of Maier's claim - see below - that because Altieri was not personally politically loyal to Maier in Maier's political campaign he is not a team player.  

Altieri was a loyal "for the well being of Stark County's people highly respected sheriff's department employee which is a proper application of being a team player.  Being a team player for selfish politicians is not, in the opinion of the SCPR, an appropriate definition that Maier apparently has in mind]

I do know a lot of heroes though. I served with many men who gave their lives up on the battlefield so we all could live free in this United States of America. Many of those heroes are buried in section 60, in Arlington National Cemetery. I feel obligated everyday to make sure the sacrifices of those great men are never forgotten. It is my responsibility to always keep their stories and memories alive forever.

Semper Fi!

Dan Nicholas Altieri


ORIGINAL BLOG (UPDATE 10/23/2014)

As readers of The Stark County Political Report know, yours truly, from the beginning of his tenure as the appointee of the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (SCDPCC) as sheriff, has not thought very well of George T. Maier's character.

Yesterday, The Report learned new information that plunges Maier to the lowest level possible on the SCPR's scale of rating character.

Maier in December, denied a "reserve" deputy sheriff commission to retired Stark County deputy sheriff Dan Altieri who also happens to be - in the estimate of the SCPR - an American military hero.
  • SCPR Note:  For the time that Altieri served as a reserve deputy sheriff, he says he did so for "no pay."
Altieri, an Afghanistan veteran,  told the SCPR yesterday a startling account of a conversation he had with Maier within days of Maier being reappointed by the SCDPCC (December 11, 2013) after having been tossed from office on November 6, 2013 by the Ohio Supreme Court as being unqualified to be sheriff.

To summarize (see more details below) In the conversation, Maier made it clear that because Altieri had supported Lou Darrow for sheriff and had handed out flyers in support of Darrow, he (Maier) would have "to think it over" as whether or not he would commission Altieri as a reserve deputy sheriff so that "he would be qualified" to assume a security job at an area college.

Take a first hand view/listen as Altieri in 2011 is interviewed by a military officer about his sterling military career:


Highlights of the video include:
  • 24 years (then, in 2011) 27 by the time he retired in 2012 as deputy sheriff [in the jail division],
  • 9 years, the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine, achieving Sergeant Major status, engaging in some 125 combat missions,
  • 11 deployments over 28-1/2 years as an active duty and reservist Marine,
  • combat deployments (Infantry):
    • Grenada, 1983
    • Beruit Lebanon, 1983/1984
    • Desert Storm, 1990
    • Iraq, 2005
    • Afghanistan, 2011
  • Altieri awards:
    • the Bronze Star, 
    • Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2 gold star with combat device), 
    • Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (1 gold star), and 
    • Combat Action Ribbon (1 gold star).     

In addition to his heroic military service sacrifice for you and I to be freedom enjoying Americans exercising our Constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of association, the SCPR thinks Altieri courageously stood his ground in exercising his Constitutionally protected political right to support Lou Darrow in the face of a bullying George T. Maier.

The arrogant Maier questioned the American hero Altieri's trustworthiness.

How dare he!

Here's Alteri's account of the conversation about getting a reserve deputy sheriff commission.

A few days after Maier was reappointed sheriff by the SCDPCC, he pulled Altieri aside:  (a paraphrase)

Maier:  "I didn't appreciate your handing out Lou Darrow flyers. The flyers are very offensive to me and my family."

Altieiri:  "There was nothing in those flyers that didn't appear on the front page of the newspaper."

Maier:  "Because of your passing out those flyers, I can't trust you."

Altieri:  "I worked at the sheriff's department for 27 years and in doing so demonstrated my trustworthiness."

Maier:  "Do you think I am qualified to be sheriff?"

Altieri:  "No I don't in that the Ohio Supreme Court has said you were not qualified."

Maier:  "You are not a team player.  I will have to give you a call back on the matter of your continuing as a reserve deputy as to whether or not I will grant you a commission for a new term."

Does anybody reading this blog think George T. Maier called back?

Of course not!

Here is a copy of an email received by Altieri in January, 2014:

Dan Nicholas Altieri

Dear Officer Altieri,

This notice is to inform you that the Stark Co. SO [Stark County Sheriff's Office] recently filed paperwork with our office indicating that your appointment with Stark Co. SO has ended effective 01/31/14.  If you feel this paperwork was submitted in error, please contact your agency.

If you have any questions for the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission regarding this notice, please contact Justin Hykes at (740) 845-2716 or Justin.Hykes@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.


Judith I. Wilson
Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission
Professional Standards Section
Office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
Office number: 740-845-2668
Fax number: 740-845-2675
Email:  ...

The SCPR thinks the behavior is tantamount to Maier foisting an "abuse of discretion" (of a power that he had as the representative of the people of Stark County; not a personal, private power as he seems to think) on Altieri.

Stark Countians should be outraged!

What an insult to an American military hero, no?

A man who risked "life and limb" to keep this country free and a thriving democratic-republic.

And where has Maier political pal Shane Jackson (Stark County Democratic Party political director) been; the self-appointed guardian of the sacrosanct?

He should have been way ahead of the SCPR in chastising his buddy for his treatment of one of Stark County's finest warriors, no?

Among Maier's glaring negative qualities (if one can get through all the "splash and dash"), one should include hypocrisy.

Maier has participated in job fairs specifically targeting military veterans; he mouths his respect for veterans and yet he treats the militarily distinguished Dan Altieri - in the name of Stark Countians in his capacity of sheriff - in a manner which is disgraceful.

For those who know anything at all about this guy and his out-and-out power politician brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman); political vindictiveness shows up time after time after time for those of us who dare to tell them "to take a hike."

To George, trustworthiness is defined as being "ask no questions loyalty" to him individually and his personal political ambitions.


To Altieri, loyalty is defined as being to the American people and to the people of Stark County.

George T. Maier, in the view of the SCPR, behaved shamefully with American military hero and Stark Countian "I will exercise my Constitutional rights" Dan F. Altieri.

After December 23, 2013 (the end date for Altieri's Swanson issued commission) and Maier's failure for obvious political recrimination reasons, Altieri was no longer qualified to do police work in Ohio.

And, as the SCPR understands it, Maier is said to have known that his denial of the commission would jeopardize Altieri's employment.

To the credit of three area police chiefs (Navarre, Perry Township and Hartville), Altieri had alternative opportunity to get credentialed.

Predictably, he took up the offer of Hartville Chief of Police Larry Dordea (Maier's November 4th opponent) and is working as a part-time Hartville police officer.

For most of his life, Altieri has been a political independent.  But over the last 8 years he says he considers himself to be a Republican.

During those years he served under Democrat Tim Swanson.  And had Mike McDonald not tragically succumbed to a terminal illness and could not take office on January 7, 2013, Altieri says that he would have stayed on in a McDonald administration of the office.

He had high regard for McDonald.

Obviously, he does not for Maier.

He does support Dordea's election and expects him to be successful.

However, should Dordea not be elected, Altieri says that he could be looking to run against Maier in November, 2016.

Of course, Altieri is not the first nor is he likely to be the last to catch the ire of George T. Maier for refusing personal political loyalty to Maier over the interests of the people and the rule of law.

Altieri's problem with Maier is eerily similar to that experienced by Lawrence Township trustee Michael Stevens.

When he was supervisor in the Street Department of Massillon city government (Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. administration), he had a dispute with Maier over Kathy Catazaro-Perry signs for mayor being in the public right-of-way, to wit:


Isn't shocking that the man would be "the elected by the people" sheriff of Stark County would be "vulgar and out-of-control" and hurling "f ..." bombs around.

If a ordinary citizen gets under his skin, is the Stevens example in the offing?

How crude for a man who "dresses to the nines," no?

And, of course, there is the Columbus Dispatch article of August, 28 2008 in which there were allegations that Maier had been abusive of Ohio State Patrol officers.

In recent days the SCPR received a mailing of a copy of an Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) investigation on the vetting or lack of vetting that a candidate was subjected to in his getting a top level job with the ODPS.

The investigation, as interpreted by the SCPR, seems to indicate that top level employee was hired without being vetted about the circumstances surrounding his dismissal from the Ohio State Patrol (OSP) and his failure to indicate same on his written application after the fact of his ODPS hiring.

The investigative report shows that Maier (assistant director at the ODPS) knew about the apparent OSP firing (which occurred years earlier) and talked about it with others within the ODPS but was of the mind that "everybody deserves a second chance."

Unless, if your name is Dan Altieri, who, of course, did nothing wrong.

There was "no mercy" for a man who was exercising his Constitutional rights.

But if George likes you and, apparently, even if he thinks the dismissal was appropriate action, being "a friend of George's" is all it takes to get him to look the other way.

It turns out that the top level official had not only one omitted apparent firing, but another.

What is not clear about the investigation is whether or not Maier knew about the second incident.

The SCPR thinks it is likely that he did.

So what, one might say.

Well, doesn't one have to question his judgment?

Add this to all Maier's other questionable qualities and it is just a bit scary - it is Halloween season, you know -  that this guy might become the "elected" sheriff of Stark County?

APPENDIX

Most recent Altieri biography:

Sergeant Major Dan Altieri completed boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina on 23 March 1983 and was assigned to the United States Marine Corps Military Police School at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

In July of 1983 Private First Class Altieri reported for duty at 2D Military Police Company, 2D Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina where he served as a  rifleman.

He deployed in October of 1983 as an attachment to Echo Company, 2D Battalion, 8th Marines where he participated in Operation URGENT FURY, the invasion, evacuation, and liberation of the island of Grenada.

Later in November of 1983, he participated in shore based combat operations with the Multi-National Peace- Keeping Force in Beirut, Lebanon.

He was then later deployed to Cairo, Egypt in July of 1985 on Operation BRIGHT STAR with Golf Company 2D Battalion, 6th Marines.
While at 2D Military Police Company he served in the following billets: Rifleman, Fire Team Leader, and Squad Leader until December, 1986 when he obtained the rank of Sergeant.         He began his Marine Corps Reserve career in 1989 with 2D Military Police Company (B-), Headquarters and Service Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His detachment was mobilized during Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM from February 1991 to July of 1991 and performed a joint NATO Operation in Northern Norway, and then stateside duty in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina with Brigade Service Support Group 2 (BSSG-2). While at Military Police Company (B-) he held the following billets: Training NCO, Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, Company Gunnery Sergeant, Company First Sergeant, and Platoon Commander.

        He was promoted in 1995 to Staff Sergeant and in 1997 to Gunnery Sergeant.

In May of 2001 he was promoted to First Sergeant and he then assumed the duties of Company First Sergeant for Lima Company, 3D Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division in Columbus, Ohio.

During his tour of duty, Lima Company won the 2001 Super Squad Competition for 4th Marine Division, conducted Counter-Terrorism Training in Israel in 2004, and then later completed a successful combat tour with Regimental Combat Team 2, 2D Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) in Al-Anbar Province, Iraq during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF 04-06) in 2005. There he participated in such notable combat operations as Operation MATADOR, NEW MARKET and SWORD.

On 25 March 2006 he was promoted to the rank of Sgt Major and was assigned as the Sergeant Major for 3d Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division.

        As the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Sergeant Major, he conducted training operations in Queensland, Australia in 2007, and had a successful combat tour with 1st Marine Headquarters Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) in Helmand Province, Afghanistan during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF10.0/10.1) in 2010-2011.   
                                       
       In May 2011, Sgt Major Altieri was assigned as Regimental Sergeant Major for 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division. During his tenure at 25th Marine Regiment, he assisted in the readiness of his units going to and from Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (10.1/10.3), and multiple security operations.

       Sgt Major Dan Altieri retired on 1 June 2013, after serving more than 30 years of both active and reserve service.

       Sergeant Major Dan Altieri’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (w/ 2 gold star in lieu of 3rd award and combat distinguishing device), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (w/ gold star in lieu of 2nd award), Army Achievement Medal and Combat Action Ribbon (w/ gold star in lieu of 2nd award).

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NORTH CANTON CITY COUNCIL IS NOTHING BUT A MONUMENTAL "SCREW UP" THESE DAYS?



UPDATED:  12:17 PM (10/23/2014)

CORRECTION:  The SCPR inadvertently attributed to Law Director Fox as having accumulated and taken "the most" comp. time.

Actually, it is North Canton Chief Engineer James Benekos who takes "the honors" of being at the top of the list.  Fox is second.

Undoutbtedly, this is a rare case of Fox liking coming in second rather than "top banana" as he appears to accustomed to insisting upon, no?

The Report thanks the "eagle eyed" SCPR reader who picked up on the error.

As always, readers can depend on the SCPR to correct errors and to allow subjects of SCPR blogs to respond to the opinions of The Report.

VIDEOS

MAYOR DAVID HELD
ON
NORTH CANTON
COMP. TIME POLICY

Readers of The Stark County Political Report need to go back to the blog of June 24, 2014.


The June 24th blog contains a "spot-on" summary of the many grievances that a group of civic activists (who call themselves the "Concerned Citizens of North Canton" [CCNC]) have with North Canton City Council and its law director Tim Fox.

It may be that North Canton's council should be billed as "the biggest 'screw up' council" in all of Stark County.

As the SCPR sees it, since former council president Daryl Revoldt left council and since Jon Snyder,  Pat DeOrio and Jeff Davies are no longer council members "all Hell has broken out on council" and rather than "hear" and "work with" North Cantonians, the current council has chosen to do battle with the likes of the CCNC.

Not that Revoldt, Snyder (also a former president), DeOrio and Davies were perfect council persons, but, at least, they listened and they did not let the sitting law director at the time be "the tail that wags the dog" as appears to be the case with Law Director Tim Fox.

Wednesday's SCPR blog first reported an apparent additional (others: e.g. health care and public records management) North Canton City Council screw-up that has been in the works for some time; namely:  the formulation of a seemingly (according to the State of Ohio Auditor's office) illegal "compensatory time-off" policy and implementation.

Now this memo from council president Jeff Peters:

> From: ...  <dpeters46@neo.rr.com>
> Date: October 16, 2014, 12:36:49 PM EDT
> To: "MBailey@northcantonohio.gov" <MBailey@northcantonohio.gov>


> Subject: Memo from NC city council president
>
> Good afternoon all! City council, in the coming weeks will be addressing "comp time" among other compensation related things. 


With that in mind and questions surrounding how the final legislation will look, we want to address the current status of all accrued " comp time." 

Any accrued "comp time" to date  will not be recognized by council. 

We hope to have draft legislation ready by mid November so that we have a comprehensive and clear direction moving forward from that point. 

We want all to know that their hard work is noted and appreciated! 

If you have any questions re; this issue, please reach out to me or VP Foltz, and we ask for your patience while we move through the legislative process..
>
> Regards,
>
>
> Daniel J Peters
> NC city council president


The smoking gun in the memo?

Any accrued "comp time" to date  will not be recognized by council. 


 As of September 6th, this is how the accumulated/used comp. time chart looked.


Isn't it interesting that Tim Fox is the second largest accumulator and user?

And, if the the SOA makes in finding of "illegality," perhaps, the biggest payer of "cash equivalent" into the North Canton treasury.

If he is ordered to do so, wouldn't this be a case of "poetic justice?"

Why the "abrupt" stoppage?

The SCPR thinks that Peters/Foltz have reason to believe that when the State of Ohio Auditor's office next audits North Canton,  there might well be a finding that as of September 16, 2014 (presumably there has been more comp time earned and consumed in the ensuing 30 days), recipient North Canton employees will have to repay the city for the comp time consumed.

Not because the employees did anything wrong!

But likely because council blindly relied on the position and therefore advice of Law Director Fox that in his opinion the State of Ohio Auditor (SOA) is wrong on its interpretation of the legality of North Canton's formulation and implementation of the comp time policy.

As far as the SCPR can tell, the whole scheme got up and running on the basis of a letter issued by Mayor David Held who "unduly" (in the opinion of the SCPR) relied on the legal opinion of Law Director Tim Fox.

What does Fox's opinion appear to be?

That North Canton could cast aside State Auditor  e-mails implying (the SCPR's interpretation) that there would be "a financial reckoning day" for those employees that received time off from January 1 through October 16th because North Canton is "required as a matter of law" to provide for comp. time in ordinance form.

Apparently, as evidenced by the Peters memo, council is now having second thoughts about taking the law director's advice.

Mind you, the CCNC is not challenging the desire of council to compensate certain exempt employees (which means they do not get paid overtime for working in excess of 40 hours a week) for "beyond the call of duty" hours worked.

But rather the CCNC cares about, in council's failure to act via a city ordinance, exposing the beneficiaries of the policy change to the possibility that these employees "down-the-road" will have to pay "cash" - potentially in the thousands of dollars category - because of council's apparent reliance on Fox's position vis-a-vis the State of Ohio Auditor's office.

The Concerned Citizens have tracked the issue for some time.

In Wednesday's blog, the SCPR did not include documents which show the progression of events.

But being the only Stark County media outlet that fully informs its readers, the SCPR today shares relevant documents with The Report's readers.

COMMUNICATIONS 
NORTH CANTON CITY OFFICIALS
STATE OF OHIO AUDITOR

JON SNYDER (THE THEN COUNCIL PRESIDENT)



January 8, 201[4]

To: Directors of Finance, Law, and Clerk of Council Re: Compensatory Time for Exempt Employees

Dear Karen, Tim and Gail,

Because you are exempt employees, the law prohibits the City from compensating you monetarily when you are required to work beyond the normal workday. I know that you have sacrificed a significant amount of your off-duty time for the City—simply attending weekly City Council meeting over the period of a year would account for nearly 12 days of overtime. Accordingly, beginning with the first pay period this fiscal year, I wish to offer you the ability to earn compensatory time, as described below, as recognition for your past and continued service to the City.

The Exempt-Employee Compensatory Time Policy below is in draft form and I intend that it be included in the update to the City of North Canton’s Employee Handbook:

1. Accrual and usage of compensatory time for exempt employees

a. The employee’s supervisor must approve overtime in advance.
b. Compensatory time may be earned one-for-one for required work hours in excess of normally scheduled hours.
c. Is recorded on time curds when earned and when used.
d. Is earned and used in not less than 0.5 hour intervals.
e. May accrue up to a maximum of 40 hours.
f. Compensatory leave shall be granted by the employee's supervisor at a time mutually convenient to the employee and the supervisor.
g. Earned compensatory time shall be used before an employee is granted a leave of absence without pay.
h. Earned compensatory time shall not be used to extend an employee’s date of resignation or retirement.

2. Transfer and cash out prohibited

Earned compensatory time may not be transferred between employees, converted for payment, or converted to another form of vacation time or compensation. Employees forfeit compensatory balances upon transfer, termination, resignation, or retirement.

Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or comments.


cc:  Mayor, Council mbrs




January 8, 201[4]

To: Finance Director 

Re: Directors’ Time Sheets

Dear Karen,


Beginning with the first pay period for fiscal year 2014, the Directors of Finance, Law, and Administration, and the Clerk of Council will not require a supervisor’s signature for their time sheets or for the City Employee - Time Off Request form. Employees serving in these positions are at the highest level of supervision, trust, and accountability within North Canton’s government. Accordingly, their signatures attesting to the accuracy of the aforementioned documents require no additional validation.

Please contact me if you have any questions, concerns or comments.



cc/  Mayor, Council Mbrs,
Dir. Admin, Law, Clerk of Council, MAYOR DAVID HELD


MAYOR DAVID HELD




January 21, 2014

To: Director of Administration, Mike Grimes

Re: Compensatory Time for Exempt Employees

Dear Mike,

The law prohibits the City from compensating exempt employees monetarily when required to work beyond the normal workday. I know that our exempt employees sacrifice a significant amount of "off-duty" time for the City during the year for simply attending weekly City Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings, Zoning Board meetings, snow plow duty and many other type of events.

Accordingly, beginning with the first pay period this fiscal year, I wish to offer them the ability to earn compensatory time, as described below, as recognition for past and continued service to the City.

The Exempt-Employee Compensatory Time Policy below is in draft form and intended to be included in the update to the City of North Canton’s Employee Handbook:

A. Accrual and Usage
1. Exempt employee overtime must be approved in advance by the employee’s supervisor.
2. Each hour of approved overtime is earned one for one for comp time.
3. Comp time is used in not less than 0.5 hour intervals.
4. An employee may accrue comp time to a maximum of 40 hours.
5. Comp time shall be granted by the employee’s supervisor at a time mutually convenient to the employee and the supervisor.
6. All comp time must be used before an employee is granted a leave of absence without pay.
7. Comp time is recorded on time sheets when earned and when used.

B. Transfer and Cash Out Prohibited

1. The City does not permit comp time to be transferred from another employer or between employees.


2. Similarly, the City does not permit employees to cash out comp time or convert it for payment.



It is the assessment of The Stark County Political Report that two North Canton government officials (Finance Director Karen Alger and former Clerk of Council Gail Kalpac) and Jamie McCleaster, president of the North Canton Concerned Citizens deserved "the" credit for council president Daniel Jeff Peters' e-mail of October 16, 2014 which stopped the Held/Fox/Snyder (former council president and Ward 4 councilman Jon Snyder) "dead in their tracks on the apparently illegal (according to the SOA) plan.


The SCPR waited through Council of the Whole meeting, an exceptionally long (cough, cough) executive session of council on Monday evening, to get an interview with Mayor Held.

The Report wanted to get Peters on camera, too, but it appeared to the SCPR that Peters scurried out quickly - perhaps - to avoid the SCPR camera.

Of course, it is possible that Peters had "home matters" to attend to and therefore had to make a quick exit.  It is a SCPR impression that Peters normally hangs around after a meeting.

The following interview of Held, the SCPR self-servingly thinks, was quite incisive and effective in smoking Held out on what went on between him, Snyder, Fox and others in their coming together in a consensus that Fox's inexplicable advice - i.e. to ignore the SOA and its insistence:
  • that an amendment to North Canton's original base time worked ordinance or,
  • a completely new ordinance be put together to make compensatory time taken off legal and,
    • therefore take affected employees "out-of-fiscal-danger" of potentially having to reimburse the city treasury for the compensatory time taken off.
    •  


    The primary theme that Held sounded out in the interview as the reason why recipient comp. time employees should not be concerned about a SOA imposed "cash" recovery of comp. time used through October 16th (reference:  the Peters memo to council) is a repetition in this excerpt in his January 21st letter, to wit:


    Notwithstanding Held's video denial, the SCPR is convinced that Timothy Fox is in charge in North Canton government.
      Should Fox's boss (in effect, a majority of council, i.e. four of the seven members) fail to rein him in and reassert its dominance; groups like the CCNC (in the 2015 elections) should target enough of the sitting council members with opponents (or get existing members "to see the light") pledging and committing to reassert council hegemony in North Canton government.

      The SCPR thinks that when the SOA auditing personnel show up on the steps of North Canton City Hall, Mayor Held, Fox, former Councilman Snyder and Peters "may end up eating crow."
        As written before by the SCPR, the Concerned Citizens are not against the compensatory time policy adjustment, only that the program be implemented according to the "rule of law."

        Obviously, Fox and the SOA have a different take on what the law is. Such is not new for Fox.  
        He has a different take than others on:
          • the legality of legislation passed by a nearly 80% to 20% on the vote of North Canton's voters,
            • the interpretation of Ohio's Open Records law as contrasted to that of Ohio's attorney general, and
              • now contends with the State of Ohio Auditor on the proper legal foundation for comp. time policy change and implementation.
              Is this a case of the world being wrong and Tim Fox being right whenever Tim Fox is having a legal opinion?

              The Report thinks that the CCNC ought to take another look at any policy change and insist that any legislative change:
                • have a cap (notice the SCPR broached that topic with Held), and
                  • that perhaps the accumulation of compensatory time not begin to accrue for any given work week until an included employee has worked 50 hours.
                  Former Clerk of Council Gail Kalpac in a conversation on Monday afternoon with the SCPR says that she alerted Jon Snyder to the need for an amended or new ordinance immediately on her learning of the Held/Fox/Peters scheme for putting a policy change in effect.

                  She also mused about how for the many years she worked for North Canton that there was no thought by exempt employees of being compensated (time wise or cash payment wise) for working beyond the normal American work week of 40 hours and that she thinks somebody ought to be looking out for North Canton taxpayers in that respect.

                  The SCPR agrees with Kalpac and thinks that council and the CCNC should rethink that matter and adjust any forthcoming legislation to address Kalpac's points.

                  There were a flurry of e-mails going back and forth between Held administration officials, Law Director Fox and council members and the SOA on the legality of (let's call it what it really is) "the Fox plan." Here, in the estimation of the SCPR, are two key e-mails that reduce "the bone of contention" to a succinct rendition of the the overall controversy, to wit:

                   EMAILS

                  First, from the State Auditor's Office:


                  And then, the ultimate authority (SCPR sarcasm, folks):


                  It is apparent to the SCPR that Fox, who is said to have been recruited (in 2011) by Held to run for the Ward 3 council seat then occupied by temperamental but talented Councilman Jeff Davies, has Held's loyalty and has insight into the internal dynamics of council politics and thereby has survived in maintaining at least four council votes.

                  Jon Snyder tells the SCPR that he is likely to run against Held next year but might opt instead to run for council-at-large.

                  In any event, The Report thinks that unless or until council gets Fox under control, North Cantonians can look forward to one pitched battle after another between a majority of council (being manipulated by Fox) and North Canton's vigorous citizen activists. And the SCPR thinks that the North Canton Council as presently constituted is not about to get Law Director Tim Fox under control!

                  Hmm?

                  "No cash changed hands" and therefore the 15 or so affected employees have nothing to worry about? 

                  How about North Cantonians as citizens and taxpayers receiving diluted city services because a given employee was off the job and on comp. time?

                  Is there a "cash equivalent" in the opportunity cost of North Cantonians not having access to city employees out-of-the-office on comp. time?

                  The bottom line of all this discussion is Law Director Tim Fox and - to the SCPR - his holding a majority of council and Mayor Held in thrall.

                  Again to say, unless and until a majority of council pledged and committed to controlling the law director is in place, there are rocky times ahead for North Canton government!

                  Sunday, October 19, 2014

                  DO STARK COUNTIANS PURDY OR ROSS-FREEMAN HAVE A CHANCE TO BE ELECTED TO STATE BD OF ED?


                  (Extract:  Stark BOE website)
                  (Photos added)

                  VIDEOS

                  KATHLEEN PURDY
                  CANDIDATE FOR STATE BD OF EDUCATION
                  8TH DISTRICT

                  IDA ROSS-FREEMAN
                  CANDIDATE FOR STATE BD OF EDUCATION
                  8TH DISTRICT

                  Can Stark Countians Kathleen Purdy or Ida Ross-Freeman defeat  a"shopworn"  Mahoning County Democrat in next month's general election?

                  Probably not.

                  DEMOCRATIC PARTY FAVORITE
                  ROBERT F. HAGAN

                  The "big guns" in Ohio Democratic politics went out and got 27 year (between serving in the Ohio House/House) legislator (Robert F. Hagan ["Bobby" to his political insider friends] ) of the Youngstown area to run for the State Board of  Education (SBOE) seat currently held by Lake Township's Deborah Cain.

                  Cain is being term limited out and has signed on as a candidate in a "sure to lose" Ohio House challenge in


                  the 50th House District (gerrymandered heavily Republican) currently held by incumbent Republican Christina Hagan of Marlboro Township.

                  The likely winner in Ohio 8th State Board of Education District - the SCPR thinks - is going to be Robert Hagan (no relation to Christina) who is another "political hanger-oner" who is leaving the legislature because of term limits.

                  He is perhaps Ohio's most "liberal" Democrat.

                  STARK COUNTIAN (ALLIANCE)
                  KATHLEEN  PURDY

                  And that perception in the largely rural 8th might provide an opportunity for a more politically moderate candidate such as Kathleen Purdy of Alliance to pull an upset.


                  A 26 year middle school teacher in the Plain Local Schools, Purdy, in a video interview with the SCPR, was beside herself that the Ohio Education Association (OEA) endorsed Hagan over her.



                  Purdy, who has served on the Stark County committee which selects from Stark County candidates for various offices for  the OEA's endorsement, seemed shocked that she did not get the endorsement over Hagan.

                  All her amazement tells the SCPR is that she does not understand the symbiotic relationship between the Ohio Democratic Party and the state level Ohio Education Association.

                  A tipoff on the relationship is a blog on the Plunderbund website which gives this description of the "political" importance of who gets elected to the SBOE:
                  When the Ohio General Assembly passes legislation regarding education-related policies, most of the components direct the State School Board to interpret and implement the changes.  As a result, electing members that truly support public education is an important and often overlooked step that Ohioans can take to help to ensure that public schools have the best advocates making these decisions.
                  And here is a LINK to a page on Plunderbund which includes a list of Plunderbund endorsed candidates for the SBOE which includes none other than the wife of the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) chairman Chris Redfern:


                  Although George T. Maier, the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee "appointed" sheriff was willing to have his picture taken with her at a recent political function, his brother and Stark County political operative extraordinaire Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (a friend of Redfern and former Stark Co. Dems chairman) was unable to get the state Dems to  endorse Purdy over Hagan, if he tried.


                  Knowing Johnnie, the SCPR is skeptical that he would buck the state party for a run-of-the-mill Stark County Democrat.

                  Though the Ohio Department of Education website presents the SBOE as the non-partisan entity it is as a matter of Ohio law, to wit:


                  Don't believe it!  Who gets appointed to the board by the governor is highly political.

                  Ohio voters do get elect 11 of the members.   And the Columbus-based Ohio Democratic Party is challenging in 7 of the 11.  The Ohio Republican Party is putting on an "all-out" fight to - with the addition of most of Republican Governor John Kasich's 8 appointee - to control the implementation and interpretation that the aforementioned (above) Plunderbund quote.

                  STARK COUNTIAN (CANTON)
                  IDA ROSS-FREEMAN

                  Ida Ross-Freeman did surprise nearly every Stark County political pundit in getting elected to the Canton City Schools Board of Education (CCS-BOE) two years ago.  There were two seats up for election.  She came in second in a three person race.

                  The SCPR's perception is that she has been somewhat of a controversial board member.

                  Were she to win in the 8th would surpass her surprise win in 2011.

                  Don't count on it.

                  The SCPR spoke with her at the Stark County Foundation Community Engagement Candidates Forum this past Monday.


                  Thursday, October 16, 2014

                  ABSENT STARK CO. OFFICEHOLDERS - CANDIDATES INSULT VOTERS & THEREBY UNDERMINE VOTER PARTICIPATION IN DEMOCRACY?



                  UPDATE: 09:00 PM

                  Martin,

                  In response to your recent post regarding Stark County officeholders participation in democracy, I am writing to clarify what you perceived as my lack of participation in 2013.  There are three documents attached.  The first page is an email that I sent to Ms. Jones that included my completed questionnaire, which according to the invitation, served as my reservation for the 2013 Neighborhood Showcase and Town Hall Meeting.  The next two pages are the actual questionnaire.  You will note that it is complete.  From my email you can see that it was sent to Ms. Jones in time, as per the instructions.   The last page is a letter that I wrote to Mr. Samolczyk the evening of the event after I was turned away for not having turned in my questionnaire.   

                  As you can see, I had every intention to participate.  Upon arrival I was told that I had not returned my questionnaire.  At that point I drove home, printed a copy of my email and returned to be told that I didn’t have my materials turned in and that I would need to leave.

                  Your post stated that you would like to see the 33 non-participants apologize.  I however, will not be apologizing.  As you can see, I did my part.  Perhaps apologies should be coming from the person who was keeping track of the reservations.

                  Sincerely,

                  John M. Rinaldi EM,C


                  ORIGINAL BLOG

                  VIDEOS

                  STARK COMMUNITY FOUNDATION
                  DIRECTOR - COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

                   MARILYN THOMAS JONES

                  ASSESSES
                  10TH ANNUAL SCF CANDIDATES FORUM

                  In recent months the SCPR (in a series) and another Stark County media outlet has written about the extremely poor voter turnout in recent times on the part of Stark County voters.

                  The focus of the SCPR series was the May, 2014 primary election in which a mere 13.9% of Stark Countians bothered to vote,

                  One would think that those who hold office would have a nearly 100% voter turnout, no?

                  Wrong!

                  It was about 80%.  While way higher than the 13.9%, 80% is still an indictment of those who hold the public trust not supporting our democratic/republican system of politics and government by participating at "the most basic of levels."

                  So it should be no surprise that those who expect you and I to participate in our government processes and respect the "rule of law" they administer, demonstrated - the SCPR thinks - hypocritical conduct this past Monday, October 13th, when only about 50% of invited Stark County officials/candidates for public office in next month's general election showed up to a Stark County Foundation sponsored candidates forum (the 10th annual such event) held at the McKinley Grand.


                  As the SCPR is wont to do, today's blog names names (and shows pictures [see graphic above]) of those 11 (12 of the 23 "live in Stark County" did show) Stark County-based officeholders/candidates who insulted:
                  • the nearly 100 citizens who also showed up,
                  • the Stark County Foundation 
                  and, who, by their absence set an absolutely awful example for day-in, day-out citizens and our obligation (purchased with the blood of America's military men and women) to participate in our political system.

                  The SCPR realizes that the previous paragraph contains "strong words," but makes no apologies whatsoever.

                  The Report understands that there are bona fide reasons why an officeholder/candidate cannot participate in a given event.

                  And so the SCPR asked Marilyn Thomas Jones (Director of Community Engagement, Ex Officio) whether or not the Stark County Foundation received "regrets" from those invited Stark County-based officeholders/candidates who did not show.


                  Answer?

                  "Not a one!"

                  Again, "not a one!!"

                  And a third time, "not a one!!!"

                  Thomas Jones told the SCPR that there was an internal debate at SCF as to whether or not the SCF would publish in its professionally done guide the names of those who did not appear and who did not express regrets.

                  The SCPR compliments those SCF members who prevailed and made the decision to embarrass those who hold or seek to hold the public trust in their  not appearing and being subject to answering the "mere" two questions put to them by SCF selected interlocutors for a total of 3 minutes in accounting to the voting Stark County public.

                  The Report is told that had a given officeholder/candidate expressed "regrets," the plan was for the entire text to be published in the program guide.

                  Well, at the very least, their failure to express regrets saved the Foundation some money on the ink cost factor in publishing them in the guide.  (obviously, dripping with sarcasm on the SCPR's part)

                  The Stark County Political Report challenges the following listed officeholders/candidates to explain to Stark Countians why they did not attend the SCF event, and, at the very minimum, express regrets.

                  1. Janet Weir Creighton, unopposed, Stark County commissioner,
                  2. Christina M. Hagan, state representative, 50th Ohio House District,
                  3. William B. Hoffman, unopposed, judge, Fifth District Courft of Appeals,
                  4. Scott Oelslager, state senator, 29th Ohio Senate District,
                  5. Kirk Schuring, unopposed, state representative, 48th Ohio House District,
                  6. Deborah L. Cain, candidate, 50th Ohio House District,
                  7. Dixie Park, unopposed, judge, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division,
                  8. Stephen D. Slesnick, state representative 49th Ohio House District,
                  9. Frank G. Forchione, unopposed, judge, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, General Division,
                  10. Jeff Gruber, Canton City School treasurer running for Stark County auditor,
                  11. Tayrn Heath, unopposed, judge, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, General Division
                  Now on to the Kudos.

                  First, the Stark County Foundation for putting on such a splendid event.  Particularly to be complimented are:


                  Second, those officeholders/candidates who took the time and effort to support this worthy event:


                  Was the 2014 event an anomaly?

                  Not at all!

                  In fact, at the 2013 event, only 15 of 36 officeholders or 36 invited appeared:  42% compared to this year's 48%.

                  And what's worse about the 2013 numbers is that these are the folks who were running for offices that are "the closest to the people," which is to say the city council and board of education level.


                  Those 2013 officeholders/candidates who by their participation showed that they honor and respect our election process:


                  A SCPR special mention for 2014 attendees goes to Judge Kristin Farmer of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas.

                  Though she is unopposed, a status disdained by the SCPR whether or not The Report thinks well of an officeholder, Judge Farmer appeared and fully participated in Monday's event.

                  She could have cooked up some sort of reason not to attend.  She did not need to benefit from voter contact.

                  Obviously, she respects and cares about the integrity of America's election system in that she was willing to make herself accessible to the 100 or so attending the SCF candidates forum on Monday night.

                  Also in line for special recognition is Canton mayor William J. Healy, II, Councilmen Jim Griffin (Ward 3), John Mariol (Ward 7) and Edmond Mack (Ward 8).

                  None of these Canton public officials are on the ballot this election, but they were present on Monday in support of the SCF annual event to help Stark County's voters be better informed.

                  The 33 Stark County officials not attending the 2014 and 2013 events need to follow Farmer's example.

                  Moreover, the missing 33 should be apologizing.

                  The SCPR for one will publish the apologies on camera or by written word.

                  How many apologies will be forthcoming?

                  Here is a SCPR interview of Marilyn Thomas Jones after the meeting with her assessment of the session:


                  Wednesday, October 15, 2014

                  NORTH CANTON LAW DIRECTOR TIM FOX: "STILL OUT OF CONTROL?"



                  In hindsight, the Concerned Citizens of North Canton would likely view the following photo with alarm.


                  Former North Canton Ward 3 councilman Tim Fox making the transition from councilman to law director has turned out to be a nightmare for North Cantonians who want their city council to exercise control over Fox.

                  As early as September 12, 2012, The Stark County Political Report sensed that there might be "an unholy relationship" between Fox and his former fellow council members.


                  It is now apparent that there is something about Fox and his relationship to council wherein they are prepared to the last man, the last woman to defend the beleaguered law director from accountability through council (the republican aspect of American government) to citizens (the democratic aspect), whom, of course, (i.e. "the consent of the governed") constitute the authority of any government institution in the United States of America.

                  But apparently not in North Canton, Ohio.

                  It has been one fight after another fight after another fight between Law Director Fox and a community political action group which calls itself the North Canton Concerned Citizens (CCNC).

                  On July 16th of this year, the SCPR "naively," (as it turns out in terms of a continuing effect) wrote that "citizen action works" in assessing the effectiveness of the CCNC in getting North Canton in compliance with the Ohio attorney general's office (OAG) notion of what constitutes compliance with Ohio's Open Records law.

                  The problem?

                  Law Director Fox was telling OAG officials how wrong the office was on its interpretation of the law.

                  Under pressure from the CCNC, North Canton City Council and Mayor David Held (who staunchly defends Fox on any pronouncement he makes as if "it as come down from God Almighty), Fox was "brought to heel" on the public records matter.


                  The SCPR no longer believes that there is any check on Fox within North Canton government and that the mayor and council have allowed him to become "a virtual law unto himself."

                  At times, it appears that Fox runs North Canton government in its entirety.

                  Accordingly, The Report thinks that citizens and groups like the CCNC need to square up with the obvious political reality of Fox's excessive control and to start work now to replace four councilpersons, any four, of the currently sitting councilpersons come November, 2015 with four North Cantonians who are committed to reining Fox in.

                  On May 28, 2014 long time council clerk Gail Kalpac resigned.

                  While she never said so herself as a matter of the public record, it is believed that she was a victim "the impossibility" of working for Fox who many think is a "my way or the highway" type of government official.


                  Last night, CCNC president Jamie McCleaster presented at North Canton Council's "Public Speaks."

                  The topic?

                  You've got it!

                  Out-of-control Law Director Tim Fox.

                  This time Fox is disputing the Ohio Auditor of State office's take on the legality of how North Canton government (presumably on Fox's advice) has gone about implementing a "comp time" policy for non-exempt North Canton employees who work beyond a 40 hour work week.

                  The CCNC does not oppose the policy change.

                  However, the concerned citizens are concerned that the manner in which is not the proper way and that when the Ohio auditor's offices comes to North Canton to do its next annual audit that employee beneficiaries of the comp time policy change will be required to pay money into the North Canton treasury for time off taken pursuant to - according to the state auditor's office - the illegal way the policy change has been handled so far.

                  Undoubtedly, the SCRP thinks, in digging deeper in the CCNC's protest - of the apparently Fox advised comp time policy change on the basis of questionable legal authority - runs deeper than the change itself.

                  The Report thinks that there is "a pitched battle" between Fox, the mayor and council on one hand and the CCNC and other citizens on the other hand, and, that it is a matter of political will as to whom is going to prevail.

                  While the SCPR applauds the CCNC for using "the bully pulpit" of "Public Speaks" to try to get council to assert control over Fox, it is apparent that nothing short of a reconstitution of council with at least four votes committed to controlling Fox will work in getting the law director under control.

                  Otherwise, the prospects are for persistent, continuing conflicts between Fox and the citizens.

                  The issues will change, but the underlying dynamic - the CCNC perception of an "out-of-control law director - will remain the same.

                  It is hard to see how North Canton government can function efficiently and effectively in this environment of chronic strife.

                  In the graphic at the lead of this blog, the SCPR - by way of example - lined out the names of Councilpersons Foltz, Peters, Werren and Kiesling. Such was not to suggest necessarily that those four be the target come the November, 2015 election.

                  The CCNC is in the best position in terms of knowing the thinking of existing council members on the matter of reining Fox in and therefore should be the guiding light as to whom should be opposed with vigorous opposition in next year's election.

                  What follows is a publication of McCleaster's Monday night remarks, to wit:

                  Statement to North Canton City Council 10/13/14
                  in regards to comp time for exempt employees
                  CCNC-PAC

                  I’m here this evening as the Spokesman of Concerned Citizens of North Canton Political Action Committee. 

                  Tonight, I’d like to talk about comp time for the city’s exempt employees.

                  All documents and supporting information that I reference, as well as our recommendations will be provided to you this evening for you to review at your leisure.

                  In January of this year then Council President Jon Snyder, and the Mayor, without a committee discussion, a passed ordinance, or any public mention took it upon themselves to grant comp time to exempt city employees. 

                  We have many hard working employees here in North Canton, I’m not here tonight to discuss whether or not they should have comp time, but rather the manner in which this policy, so to speak, was enacted.

                  Through a public records request from the Ohio Auditor’s office, we have received a chain of emails sent between Finance Director Alger, the Auditor’s Office, Law Director Fox, Administration and all Council members beginning in late March of this year. 

                  Finance Director Alger asks the Auditor’s office how the city would authorize the comp time “policies.”

                  On March 24, 2014 Lori Hoffman from the Auditor’s office replied that, and I quote, “in order for the city to follow the [policies], they would have to be approved by council. If they aren’t approved by council at a public meeting, we would not recognize them as being valid ordinances.” 

                  This response was forwarded by Finance Director Alger to all of council as well as Law Director Fox and the Administration. 

                  What’s of particular interest is the responses that Mr. Fox gives to the Auditor’s office. 

                  It’s been well documented and reported that Mr. Fox thinks that the Attorney General’s opinion in regards to Ohio’s Sunshine Laws is “ridiculous,” and judging from his response to the Auditor’s office, he must feel that their opinion is ridiculous too. 

                  In the end, on April 2, 2014, Mr. Fox, after citing a previous legal case he felt that showed he was still in the right, relented and said that the city will treat this as an ordinance.

                  That was over six months ago. 

                  Why has this ordinance not been brought to committee and ultimately passed?

                  Has Mr. Fox convinced Council that he is right and the Auditor’s office is being ridiculous, and that no ordinance is needed? 

                  Something needs to be done now to protect our city employees. 

                  I would hate to see these dedicated, hardworking employees have to repay the city or have their vacation or sick time adjusted for their comp time usage because they were illegally given a benefit by someone who wasn’t able to solely grant said benefit.

                  Unfortunately the inaction described here is becoming a pattern with this council.

                  Earlier this year council failed to act when 4 members elected to continue taking health insurance benefits that they weren’t entitled to take, and action only came after public outcry.

                  This summer, all members of council sat idly by as Law Director Fox failed to follow Ohio’s Sunshine laws, and suppressed citizens requests for electronically transmitted public records. 

                  Are you receiving bad advice from your Law Director on this and other issues affecting our city? 

                  Something needs to change. 

                  The previous inactions were a public embarrassment to the city, and cost three of you financially when repayment of health benefits was necessary. 

                  Now, I’m afraid your inaction may cost our hard working employees financially. We ask that you bring this issue up for discussion and do right by your constituents and employees at your earliest opportunity.

                  While you are discussing the subject of comp time we ask that you look into not only what the federal and state governments consider to be an exempt employee and how they can and can’t be compensated based upon hours worked, but also what our peer cities listed in the annual audit do in regards to comp time. 

                  Wadsworth and Fairview Park offer no comp time to their exempt employees, whereas Perrysburg utilizes flex time which is utilized, quote, “very sparingly, per supervisor approval and according to work load.”

                   It’s worth noting that the cities that we contacted that do offer comp time do so through ordinance, not via resolution or memo from the council president.

                   Even given that the current exempt ordinance for the City of North Canton specifies that the exempt employees of the city “shall work the necessary hours to properly discharge all duties involved in their respective positions,” the members of Concerned Citizens of North Canton PAC urge you to honor these hard working employees, and to adopt a policy of flex time, such as what is employed in the city of Perrysburg going forward. 

                  We would recommend that if flex time is issued to an employee, that it be used within the pay period earned, or the period that immediately follows. At the end of the day, whatever your decision, don’t fail to act on yet another important issue!