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Friday, August 22, 2014

(VIDEOS) FIRST INSTALLMENT: SCPR "POLITICAL/GOV'T BIOGRAPHY SERIES" CANTON CITY TREASURER KIM PEREZ INCLUDING COMMENTARY & ANALYSIS




A LIFE OF PREPARATION
TO 
ONE DAY
BECOME
MAYOR OF CANTON?

VIDEOS

THE EARLY YEARS
(Councilman & Republic Steel Employee)
=======================
AS CANTON AUDITOR
=======================
AS COUNTY AUDITOR
=======================
AS CANTON TREASURER
=======================
 "NEW" POLICY ISSUE
(Tying Paying Taxes to Getting Canton Business) 
 
Today, The Stark County Political Report launches its Stark County public official/political figure "video blog" series with Canton treasurer Kim Perez.

In interviewing Perez (some of the discussion referred to did not take place on camera), the SCPR's overall take is that he is still smarting from the cascade of events that took place during what local civic activist and attorney Craig T. Conley has termed as being Zeiglergate (April 1, 2009 through October 19 2011), part of which period Perez served as Stark County auditor, and which (i.e. the cascade of events) most Stark County political observers think resulted in Perez being defeated in his 2010 reelection try.

Perez thinks he was unfairly criticized by local media (including the Stark County Political Report) for his not having done enough to alert local and Ohio officials that something was amiss in the county treasurer's office.

He is particularly hard on The Canton Repository.

The Report reminded Perez that it has always been a policy of the SCPR to place "unedited" e-mails, letters or on camera interviews at the top of any blog which critiques a Stark County government/political figure.

His response?

"That's not how I operate."

Okay, but with that continuing offer always being on the table by the SCPR, how can any subject of the SCPR complain about unfairness?

And to his credit, Perez did not dispute with The Report that he knew that he had ample opportunity on this blog to respond.

Subjects of Repository stories certainly do not get that opportunity.

Accordingly, The Report has seen many instances where the "powers that be" or "powers that 'have been'" at The Rep. have been unfair and The Report thinks the folks of 500 Market Avenue, South consequently has served Stark Countians very poorly.

Perez is a good starting point for this series inasmuch as he has been active in Canton/Stark County politics and government since the mid-1980s.

At the end of each and every biography blog, the SCPR will post the entire video - unedited - for readers of The Report to measure Martin Olson's running commentary on segments of the video.

KIM PEREZ

THE EARLY YEARS 

"A Young Turk?"

With the election of Kevin Fisher (D, Ward 5), John Mariol (D, Ward 7), Edmond Mack (D, Ward 8) and Frank Morris, III (D, Ward 9) in 2011, it was obvious from the get-go that Canton City Council had been - with their election - infused with a stout shot of civic/political energy.

Over time, the SCPR picked up on the significance of the election of the four young (except, maybe, for Morris) and tabbed them as being the "four young Turks" of Canton City Council.

Probably more than any other characterization that the SCPR has done of Stark County officials/public figures, the "four young Turks" has been the one which readers of The Report have latched onto as being their favorite.


The characterization resonated with Kim Perez as evidenced by this first video snippet from yesterday's interview.

Perez goes back to 1985, perhaps 1983 as the date he first got involved in Canton/Stark County politics as a Democrat.

It was 1988 before he was elected as Ward 1 councilman (then encompassing "downtown Canton") in which position he served for 6-1/2 years.

As a part time councilman (working full time, contemporaneously, at Republic Steel as a transportation supervisor) he says:
  • He was part of the founding group of Canton Tomorrow as one of several responses to the beginnings (from his perspective) of the deterioration of downtown Canton,
  • He identifies himself, current Councilman at Large Bill Smuckler and former Councilwoman at Large Mary Cirelli among others was being the 1980s/early 1990s equivalent of the SCPR's "four young Turks,"
    • SCPR note:  It is a political irony that Cirelli decided to take on Perez when he ran for Canton treasurer in 2013,

      1994 - PEREZ AS CANTON'S AUDITOR 

      Highly respected Canton City auditor R.A. Mallon (the father of the current Canton auditor) died in 1994.

      As Kim Perez tells it, nobody thought 20 years ago that he could best Don Casar (retired from council in December, 2009) to become the senior Mallonn's successor.  Roy Gutierrez was party chairman.

      The vote was 22 to 22 in a meeting of Canton Dems precinct committeepersons at Canton Council Chambers.  However, there was one vote on the way.  That precinct committeeperson was in ill health had was delayed in getting to the meeting.  But when he did arrive, the vote was for Kim Perez, and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

      By his account, being selected as city auditor was the beginning of Perez's romance as a government administrator with computer technology.

      2004 - PEREZ  AS COUNTY AUDITOR

      On January 1, 2004 current Stark County commissioner Janet Weir Crieghton (a
      Republican) was elected mayor of Canton over the-then former Canton city councilman Bill Smuckler.

      Her election as mayor left the county auditor's position empty inasmuch as Creighton had been auditor before her defeating Smuckler in November, 2013.

      Stark's Republicans appointed Brant Luther (then her chief deputy) as her replacement.

      The Republicans had held the auditor's office for years and years and at that time the office had quite a few political patronage jobs to hand out.

      The Report remembers (harkening back to the pre-SCPR days) that the Democrats were hot-to-trot to capture the county auditor's office.

      The then-chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr was salivating over the possibility of the Democrats ousting Luther.

      There was talk of the-then county commissioner Gayle Jackson (who Maier calls the best Stark County commissioner of all time) running for auditor.

      But Gayle was way too protective of her position in county government to chance a loss to Luther.

      Undoubtedly, Maier (then party chairman), would have pulled out all the stops for Jackson had she wanted to take the political risk.

      Perez had been Canton auditor upward of 10 years by 2014 and therefore it was natural that the Democrats should turn to him to run against Luther.

      The Report recalls (again, reminiscing about the pre-SCPR days) how Maier, Jr complained about how lazy Perez was in the conduct of his campaign.

      What Maier, Jr was missing in criticizing Perez was that in 2004 the Perez name in Stark County was one of most powerful political name in the county.

      Kim, with his political base in highly Democratic Canton, and with brother Rick being one of the high profile leaders in the Stark County sheriff's department under then sheriff Tim Swanson; it should have surprised nobody that Kim pulled what the SCPR terms as being at least - a mild, if not greater - upset of the auditor's office entrenched Republicans.

      In hindsight, the SCPR thinks - had she run - Jackson would have lost to Luther.

      The Report's interview was focused on the Perez county auditor years (2004 through 2011) not on that part of his term coined by Conley to have been the years of Zeiglergate.

      As indicated in the video below on the county auditor years, the SCPR will sit down with Perez again to spend another hour going over the details of those years.  And that interview will be made part of the his Kim R. Perez biography blog.

      On a positive note, for his 2004 through 2011 years, Perez again focuses on his having fixed on incorporating computer and digital technology in to the operation of the county auditor's office, to wit:
      • The reduction of scattered and fragmented computer/technology in what existed in county computer infrastructure into a more centralized and therefore more efficient and money savings to the taxpayers system, and
      • The sophistication of and refinement of GIS (Graphical Information System).
      A poignant moment in the interview occurred when Perez took a moment to reflect on his 2010 loss of the county auditor's office to Republican Alan Harold.

      Perez claims to harbor no ill feeling towards Harold and cites situations wherein he has - since the losing campaign - worked collaboratively with the county auditor's office.
      However, to the SCPR it is unmistakable that he still carries memories of the campaign.

      Especially a billboard ad which shows Perez to be a member of a golfing group which included then-Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler in a "for charity" golfing event.

      There is no doubt about it, the 2010 Perez/Harold face off was an "in your face" political hardball effort by Harold.

      Perez termed the loss as being "a perfect storm" (or "the stars aligning") having in mind, undoubtedly, Zeiglergate and 2010 being a Republican year across Ohio (e.g. Richard Cordray losing his office of attorney general to former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine).

      And, of course, but for the godsend of a independent (to the political right) candidate running for commissioner,  Democrat Tom Bernabei would never had won a commissioner's seat.

      On another note, off camera, Perez talked about how The Rep. has worked him over on political patronage over the years he was county auditor.

      He thinks he has been singled out on this score and that a different standard is being applied to his successor Alan Harold.

      Perez cites the recent hire (August 4, 2014) of a chief information officer and administrator in the information technology office of the county auditor's office as, perhaps, being unnecessary.


      Perez praises Anita Henderson (who worked for Perez when he was Canton auditor) as being the county's top notch government employed information technology person.

      He suggests that the August 4th hire has close political or personal ties to Harold. 

      It is interesting to note that the hire (Seth Peterson) is being paid nearly $32,000 more annually than Henderson and she has been employed in Stark Canton/Canton computer technology for 27 years.


      Why couldn't Henderson be promoted to the newly created job, the SCPR muses?

      It will be interesting to hear Harold's response to the Perez's intimation, no?

      Moreover, Perez alluded to, in Wednesday's interview, Harold's addition of two information technology employees at a total - just annual salary cost - a little over $96,000 annually.

      Hardly sounds like Perez has gotten over his loss to Harold, no?

      However, he does ask some pretty questions.

      The Report believes that Perez has been no worse than Harold (see Conde blog) and many other Stark County based elected officials on the patronage thing.

      But to the SCPR for any elected official to hand out taxpayer supported jobs without first inviting the public to apply is unacceptable, be it Perez or any other elected official.

      Again, off camera, The Report ticked off the names Fisher (Kevin Fisher, now Ward 5 Canton city councilman), Jimmy Babcock (now Canton councilman-at-large) as persons he seems hired to hired on the basis of them having political connections.

      Another person who now comes to mind is David Maley (now with Massillon's Catazaro-Perry administration).

      Perez seemed to want to assign political patronage justification to the "everybody does it" category or by diverting attention to the Republicans or to The Repository's imbalanced attacks on him.

      That does not work with the SCPR and The Report has no sympathy with him that The Rep may have singled him out.

      Of course, the SCPR excoriates every Stark County officeholder (Republicans and Democrats with equal zeal) on this issue. The Report thinks that "political connectedness hirings" short-circuit everyday Stark Countians of the opportunity to get public employment.

      Depriving taxpaying Stark County employment opportunities needs to stop for every Stark County official, including Kim Perez.

      By not advertising and thereby getting a field of candidates to consider, a public official misses out on some exceptionally well qualified candidates that would serve the public and the officeholder quite well - if - given a chance.

      In this video, Perez talks about his county auditor years.



      2013 -  ELECTED CANTON TREASURER

      Having been Canton auditor and Stark County auditor in the wake of the political sunami of 2010, Perez, on his own judgment and on the advice of family and friends, does the obvious and runs for Canton treasurer in light of the announcement by long time treasurer Robert Schriak that he would not seek reelection in 2013.

      Lo and behold!  Who should be one of his opponents but former "young-Turk-esque" council ally of yesteryear (1980s/1990s) Mary Cirelli.

      As it turns out Cirelli came in third in a field of three which surprised the political pundits.

      Of course, as the victor, Perez predictably in the interview took the high road and said that he did not take it personal that Cirelli challenged him.

      Though he denies it, the SCPR believes that he is not so magnanimous with the likes of Republicans Alan Harold, Janet Creighton and others.  Moreover, the SCPR suspects he harbors dislike for Democrat Johnnie A. Maier, Jr whom he opposed for the party chairmanship in 2003 when Chairman John Ferrero resigned on becoming Stark County prosecutor.

      In discussing his running for and being elected Canton treasurer the conversation seemed to migrate to his becoming a rather active treasurer (not simply the city's income tax collector) as a prelude - the SCPR thinks - to running in the May, 2015 Democratic primary against sitting Democratic mayor William J. Healy, II.

      As this part of the video shows, in his less than a year as Canton treasurer, Perez (uncharacteristic of what the SCPR thinks one would expect of a city treasurer) has:
      • raised the issue of Stark County's Ohio General Assembly standing idly by as the State of Ohio devastates local government in taking away various state level funding of local government,
      • raised the issue of Canton having reduced (at the initiative of the Healy administration) the credit that Cantonians who work out-of-town on their Canton income tax obligation from a full 2% to 1.7%,
        • SCPR Note:  Canton council passed legislation to restore the full 2% credit but the measure was vetoed by Mayor Healy
      • raised the issue of Canton devoting more resources and leverage (i.e. if you want get city business, you companies better have paid or be up-to-date with your city income taxes [a criticism of Healy for not using this leverage?]) to collect sorely needed delinquent income taxes,
      • raised the issue of Canton capital funds (a criticism of Healy, maybe?) being used to fund city operations
      The Report thinks Perez is being coy in how he handles questions as whether or not his uncharacteristic activity as treasurer is clear indication that will take on Mayor Healy.  Bill Smuckler has already told the SCPR that he will not run, if there is more than one opposing candidate in the field.

      Apparently, all Perez has to do is to let it be known that he is running for mayor.  And, it could be that such is exactly what he is telling Canton politicos privately.

      Feedback that the SCPR gets from "in the know" Canton politicians point in that direction.

      In the following video, Perez - in mostly a forward look - addresses being city of Canton auditor.



      THE PEREZ DELINQUENT TAXPAYER PLAN

      It was difficult to get Treasurer Perez on topic with respect to the "let's tie doing business with Canton with having paid taxes."

      He wanted to talk ad nauseam about the income tax credit issue.

      Finally, the SCPR was able to get him on topic.

      While the SCPR fully supports Perez's tie-in, it would be incredibly naive to think that his being an evangelistic Canton treasurer does not have its roots of his setting himself up to run for mayor.



      Kim Perez does like to present himself as a kind of political innocent that things (bad, but mostly good) just happen to.

      Far be it from that.

      Kim Perez is one of Stark County's most sophisticated politicians who nearly survived the disaster election of 2010.

      If he decides to take on Mayor William J. Healy, II in the May, 2015 Democratic primary, the SCPR thinks that he will come out the winner.

      Moreover, if the mayor's political calculus tells him he would lose such a match up, look for him to move on to something else rather than absorb political humiliation at the hand of a fellow Democrat.

      SCPR APPENDIX

      FULL "UNEDITED" KIM PEREZ VIDEO


      Wednesday, August 20, 2014

      VOLUME 10: GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN STARK CO GOV'T. IS THE CITY OF CANTON THE VERY WORST?



      The Stark County Political Report has published some pretty startling number in this ongoing series examining whether or not there is evidence of "gender discrimination" in Stark County government.

      Volumes 1 through 9 of this series focused on county government.

      Here are links to those blogs:
      Today, the SCPR begins this blog's focus on the city of Canton.

      And it is not a very pretty picture.


      But before getting into the specifics of the Canton male/female equity picture, The Report diverts a bit to add a personal note.

      As the father of three daughters The Report (one of five boys in a family of eight, growing up) has gotten a "up close and personal" look of how in the 1970s, 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s and, yes, even in 2014 gender discrimination flourishes in America, Ohio and indeed our own Stark County.


      I can spin quite of number of tales about the gender discrimination the Olson girls have experienced during their lives.

      As their father, I have stood toe-to-toe along side them "fighting the good fight" on behalf of fairness to more than half the American population.


      Of course, I am far from finished with this fight.

      And it is important for the well being of our great nation, state and county that men join in the fight to fully embrace and include 51.5% (Stark County) of our population.

      Everyone who reads this blog needs also to read Gail Collins' epic work on how America has "historically" mal-treated women.


      In coming volumes, the SCPR will delve into the specifics of the city of Canton (a bastion of supposedly "liberal" Democratic Party politics) treatment of women.

      The SCPR's initial take on Canton government's performance on gender equity is that Canton makes Stark County departments of government look like gender equity progressives.

      To whet your interest in what is to come with ensuing SCPR reports on Canton, take a look at this graphic:

      Tuesday, August 19, 2014

      MAIER CAMPAIGN CROSSES "THE BLUE LINE?"



      UPDATE:  12:12 P.M.

              lougiavasis1
              Today at 12:08 PM

      To:  THE REPORT Martin Olson

      Martin,

      When I read your blog today I was amazed, no shocked at what you reported as to my reaction to your questioning about the picture and topic of your blog. At no time did I react in a manner or state that I thought it was funny. I did in fact state to that I saw it was posted on Facebook by someone else and mearly shared the photo onto my own Facebook page because I thought it was kind of a cool picture.

      That was the exact word I used when asked by you was I thought it was kind of a cool picture, I never used the words I thought it was funny. When you asked me if I thought it appropriate for the officers holding the shirt on duty I stated clearly that I thought it was just a couple of officers having fun with the crowd and being over zealous in showing their own personal support for the Sheriff.  I also told you I was not present at the Hall of Fame Parade and did not and do not know who took the picture.

      The only thing you got correct in your blog was the fact yes I did have the photo on my page and Yes, I am 110% support Sheriff Maier and his election.

      Lou Giavasis

      ORIGINAL BLOG

      George T. Maier (the Stark County Democratic Party appointee as sheriff) probably - personally - had nothing to do with an incident during Pro Football Hall of Fame parade festivities whereby two auxiliary Canton Police officers appear to have been enticed by Maier campaign workers into displaying a Maier for Sheriff campaign t-shirt outside the window of the driver's side window of Canton Police Department cruiser.


      However, the SCPR believes that he and his super-politically attuned brother - Johnnie A. Maier, Jr - a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman, have created a political culture within the campaign whereby the prime operating structure is understood by one and all:  "ya gotta do, what you gotta do! - no matter who might get hurt in "doing what ya gotta do" in order to get George T. Maier elected.

      The photograph was published almost immediately on Democrat and Plain Township trustee Louis Giavasis' Facebook (FB) page.

      Okay!  Okay! The Report knows.

      All the clicking on the link above only gets a reader this:


      That's because likely on the insistence of Canton safety forces personnel Louis Giavasis felt he had no alternative.

      The SCPR talked with Louie as soon as The Report was emailed by a source with the link and had checked it out.

      Louie (the brother of current Stark County Democratic Party chairman and Canton clerk of courts Phil Giavasis) initially conveyed an impression the SCPR that he didn't know who took the photo, who posted the photo but that he thought it was funny

      (SCPR Note: [See Giavasis response at the beginning of this blog] "funny" may not have been the exact word Giavasis used, but, if not, the take away impression for The Report was that at the very least he was humored by the photo).

      Well, Canton's safety director (Andrea Perry) and Lieutenant Greg Boudreaux were not laughing.

      The Report spoke with Director Perry within a day or so of the incident occurring and she assured the SCPR that she was aware of the incident and had dealt with it.

      However, as readers of the SCPR know, your truly wanted much more in detail that the brief conversation with Perry entailed.

      So here is the entire e-mail exchange between Boudreaux and The Stark County Political Report:

      Greg Boudreaux
              Aug 18 at 3:47 PM

      To   Martin Olson
              Martuccio, Joseph

      Mr. Olson

      I'm sorry, I had assumed you had seen the photos.
      [Editor’s note: The SCPR, of course, had seen the photos; however, The Report wanted to confirm that both officers were involved in the incident] Yes, two Auxiliary officers were involved who were working together in one police cruiser (one incident involving two Aux. officers). Concerning your questions:

      1. No, the Aux. officers did not have the shirts with them prior to duty.

      2. The person(s) who gave them the shirt are unknown.

      3. The t-shirts were given in exchange for the pictures being taken. The details of this are as follows: The officers were assigned to work the pre-parade route and were driving in the 2500blk of Cleveland Ave. N.W. They saw several people with Meier for Sheriff t-shirts. They casually asked how they could get a shirt. Someone in the group (apparently at least three people were handing out shirts) gave them a shirt and asked to take a picture of them with the shirt. The officers complied, had their pictures taken.

      4. Answered above. Yes, whomever gave them the shirt requested to photograph them with the shirt.

      5. No, neither officer had anything to do with the photos being put on FB.

      6. Unknown. I can only assume that a supporter of Sheriff Meier posted the photos.

      7. Unknown who took the photos

      8. Both Aux. Officers expressed remorse over the incident and did not realize that their actions were a violation of the rules of the department. One offered his resignation and both expressed that they would not have done it had they known that it was against the rules. Both denied that this was in anyway an effort on their part to show that that the CPD has officially endorsed Sheriff Meier.

      I hope that this answers your questions.

      Sincerely,

      Lt. Greg Boudreaux
      Canton Police Department
      Training Bureau
      (330) 438-4512


      On 8/18/2014 2:05 PM, Martin Olson wrote:
      > Regarding your description :
      >
      > "I can assure you that this was just a use of bad judgment on their part and a spur of the moment incident."
      >
      > "Their?"
      >
      > Am I to assume that there were two auxiliaries who displayed the Maier campaign sign?
      >
      > If so, the follow questions apply to both of them:
      >
      > Did he have the shirt with him when he reported to duty that day?
      >
      > Whom did he get the shirt from?
      >
      > Did anyone one other than a CPD connected person (again, your use of the word "their" indicates to me a fellow auxiliary officer may have been involved) prompt the the display of the Maier campaign shirt?
      >
      > In your interview with the auxiliary officers, was there any indication that the auxiliaries were put up to doing the displaying by persons outside the CPD?
      >
      > Did either of the auxiliaries have anything to do withe posting of the photo on Louis Giavasis Facebook (FB) page?
      >
      > If so, what/who prompted them to post the photo on the FB page?
      >
      > If not, who took the photo?
      >
      > Please provide me with any other details that convinced you that the displaying was a "spur of the moment incident" and not part of a pre planned prompting on the part of non CPD persons.
      >
      > Thank you,
      >
      > Martin Olson
      > SCPR
      >
      > From: Greg Boudreaux <greg.boudreaux@cantonohio.gov>
      > To: tramols@att.net
      > Cc: "Martuccio, Joseph" <Joe.Martuccio@cantonohio.gov>
      > Sent: Monday, August 18, 2014 1:29 PM
      > Subject: Canton Police Auxiliary Officers
      >
      > Mr. Olsen - Mr. Martuccio asked me to contact you directly regarding the Auxiliary police officers and their being photographed with "Meir
      [sic] for Sheriff" T-Shirts. 

      I have spoken with the officers involved and they have been disciplined. I can assure you that this was just a use of bad judgment on their part and a spur of the moment incident. 

      Auxiliary Officers are all volunteers who provide numerous hours of volunteer service to the City. They provide business checks, home checks, security details, patrols, and work numerous hours during the HOF events. 

      While we do go over policy matters, they are not as familiar with the Rules and Regulations of the department as a regular, full time police officer.
      >
      > It is unfortunate that these officers had this lapse in judgment and I sincerely apologize for their actions in this matter. We are continuing training with all of our Auxiliary officers to ensure that this issue is not repeated.
      >
      > Thank you for your concern and I appreciate the diligence in the work that you do.
      >
      > Sincerely,
      >
      > Lt. Greg Boudreaux
      > Canton Police Department
      > Training Bureau
      > (330) 438-4512


      The SCPR thinks that it ought to be more than a tad disconcerting to everyday, voting Stark Countians that a man who would be sheriff seems to have embraced and promoted a culture that it is understood that "ya gotta do, what ya gotta do" in the way of politiking.

      It would be nice if the Maier campaign would be in a position to adopt and adapt via a press release of Boudreaux's statement:

      It is unfortunate that these campaign workers/supporters had this lapse in judgment and I sincerely apologize for their actions in this matter. We are continuing training with all of our campaign workers and supporters to ensure that this issue is not repeated.

      You can bet your bottom dollar that if the following photo (doctored by the SCPR for blog political commentary illustration purposes) was an actual photo of the work of a rogue Dordea campaign worker, Maier and his brother Johnnie, Jr would be clamoring for an investigation to find the miscreant to be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.


      Maybe the SCPR has missed an outcry of outrage on the part of the Maier campaign leaders (including, of course, George himself), but The Report is not aware of an effort by the Maier forces to find out the identity of the Maier supporters who are said by a Canton police lieutenant to have prompted the violation of Canton Police Department rules by two of the department's auxiliary officers.

      As can be seen in the Boudreaux response, the "political prank" zeal of Maier supporters has been costly to the auxiliaries involved and was a huge embarrassment to the Canton Police Department.

      Louis Giavasis thought it was funny, but the SCPR did not, does not and nor should any other Stark County who thinks that official law enforcement should stay out of political campaigns think that such a photo is a proper topic for humor.

      Certainly, no elected public official should treat "the crossing of the blue line" as a matter humor.

      In fairness to Giavasis, he did pause for thought after the SCPR continued with him as to the ramifications of a campaign via workers/supporters having "crossed the blue line" and involved law enforcement in partisan political activity.

      Giavasis is a main player in the Maier campaign.

      While he denied knowing anything about the particulars of the incident, the SCPR for one is skeptical that such is the case.

      Monday, August 18, 2014

      PART 3: IS STARK COUNTY OVERPAYING FOR 9-1-1 DISPATCH BECAUSE OF A "FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE?"



      Today's blog is Part 3 of an ongoing series wherein The Stark County Political Report continues to raise the question of whether or not Stark County government is overpaying to the tune of $1 million plus for a 9-1-1 Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) upgrade.

      The focus today is an apparently "lost" communication sent by the mayor of Hartville (Richard Currie) and the Stark County commissioners office, to wit:

      From: Richard Currie
      Sent: Friday, July 25, 2014 2:04 PM
      To: 'tmbernabei@starkcountyohio.gov'
      Cc: 'jwcreighton@starkcountyohio.gov'; 'rregula@starkcountyohio.gov'; 'jjconcatto@starkcountyohio.gov'
      Subject: Stark County CAD

      Tom:

      In response to your email of July 22, 2014, the software development costs for Hartville’s TAC RMS system to interface with your proposed CAD system would be $10K.

      If, however, the agenda is to save money and increase safety for first responders and the citizens of Stark County, I would ask that you give thoughtful consideration to the proposal that Tom Craven outlined in his letter to Joe Concatto (attached).

      The package outlined would cost $12K per PSAP per year, or less than $100K for the whole county. This system would provide CAD, MDT, and RMS for everyone and thus everyone would be on ‘the same page,’ as far as communicating and sharing data. All participating agencies would require MDTs and cellular service, noting that several police agencies in Stark County already utilize some aspects of TAC. This arrangement would be ideal for police, fire, jail, courts, and CJIS.

      I endorse Tom’s proposal, as does Hartville Police Chief Larry Dordea.

      Thank you,

      Rich

      Richard A. Currie, Ed.D.
      Mayor, Village of Hartville
      202 W. Maple St., P.O. Box 760
      Hartville, OH 44632

      ... .

      It could be yet another "failure in communications," but the SCPR has inquired of the county commissioners about imput/discussions they may have had with Stark's (non-participating in a countywide 9-1-1 centralized system) political subdivisions.

      On Friday immediately passed, The Report received this communication from county Chief Administrator Brant Luther, to wit:

      Public Records Request (PRR) re: responses on letter to political subdivisions on 9-1-1 CAD upgrade

              Brant Luther
              Aug 15 at 9:01 AM

      To:  Martin Olson

      Hello Martin,


      After checking, it appears that Commissioners have received phone calls in response to that letter, however it doesn't appear that they have received letters or emails responding to the letter.

      Have a good weekend,
      Brant

      >>> Martin Olson <tramols@att.net> 8/13/2014 7:23 AM >>>

      This is a SCPR PRR for electronic versions  (i.e. pdf or equivalent) of responses to the Stark County commissioners in re:  the purchase by the county from New World Systems of a upgraded 9-1-1 CAD system.

      Previously you have provided the SCPR a copy (by way of example) of a letter sent under the signature of Commissioner Tom Bernabei to Alliance encouraging Alliance officials to consider joining with Stark County in providing 9-1-1 dispatching services to its citizens.  You will recall that you told me that the same letter was sent out to all Stark County political subdivisions with the only change being the addressee.

      Thank you,

      MartinOlson/SCPR

      • SCPR Note - Commissioners Creighton and Regula's responses (none from Bernabei to-date) to an SCPR request for input they may have had:
        • Fw: Public Records Request (PRR) re: responses on letter to political subdivisions on 9-1-1 CAD upgrade

                  Janet Creighton
                  Aug 15 at 11:17 AM

          To:  Martin Olson

          Martin:

          I have not received any calls or mail in regard to the letter.

          Janet

          >>> Martin Olson <tramols@att.net> 8/15/2014 9:10 AM >>>
          Commissioners Bernabei, Creighton & Regula,

          Regarding Brant Luther's response to the SCPR's inquiry, please provide me with a list of names/officials who responded to the referenced letter and a summary of their respective responses.

          Thank you,

          Martin Olson
          Stark County Political Report
        • Fw: Public Records Request (PRR) re: responses on letter to political subdivisions on 9-1-1 CAD upgrade

                  Richard Regula
                  Aug 15 at 11:48 AM

          To:  Martin Olson

          Martin, I have received no written, e-mail or phone messages in regards to the referenced letter. Thanks Richard
      SCPR readers will recall that on July 30, 2014, the Stark County commissioners approved the recommendation of 9-1-1 Project Manager Joseph Concatto and his CAD Project Team that the commissioners use about $1.9 million in Stark County taxpayer money to purchase an upgraded CAD system in the hope that one day Stark County's political subdivisions (villages, cities, townships and boards of education) will come together to form one "highly efficient/effective" Stark County 9-1-1 call receiving/dispatch system with which to process the emergency (i.e. fire, police, ambulance) needs of Stark Countians.

      In the July 30th move, the best that Concatto, the CAD Project Team and the commissioners (after five years of mulling it over) achieved was to bring three of Stark's eight (3 of 8) dispatch centers together into one "we hope one day" countywide system.

      The three (the Sheriff department's operation, the Canton Communications Center and The Regional Emergency Dispatch (RED) Center) do compose the bulk of Stark's population. They represent (by The Report's calculation) about 80% (population wise) of the county's some 375,000 residents.

      But about 75,000 of Stark's residents plus another several thousands who are transient in or traveling through Stark County are not going to be served by the upgraded 80% countywide CAD system when it gets up and running some 9 to 12 months from July 30th.

      Some Stark Countians including the SCPR think that, perhaps, the commissioners did not in approving the Concatto/CAD Project Team recommendation.

      Moreover, the SCPR's underlying theme in this series of blogs is that there was a failure in communications from Concatto/the CAD Project Team to the commissioners which is the basis of a seeming continuing "failure of communications" which, perhaps, gave birth to and is perpetuating Stark County taxpayers not getting "the best bang for the buck" in upgrading the county's CAD system.


      The basis of the suggestion that Stark Countians will be getting "short-shrifted" is a "late" (in fact, last minute - in a formal definition of the word "late") proposal by TAC Computers that apparently would save Stark Countians $1 million plus while providing for all of Stark's needs in terms of CAD system efficiencies, effectiveness, completeness and integration.

      What's more, if the TAC proposal would indeed achieve all of the foregoing, then the $1 million plus in savings could go to satisfying the priority of some Stark County emergency responders that rather than purchase a CAD upgrade the county should upgrade its emergency communication infrastructure (i.e. the latest and greatest 800 mhz radio system) so that each and every Stark County based emergency services unit could be in communication with each other in the event of a large (geography-wise) or catastrophic emergency.

      Mayor Curie's e-mail response directed to Commissioner Tom Bernabei (the commissioner most intimately involved and most knowledgeable on the county's 9-1-1 system), the SCPR thinks, deserves a response, to wit:

      I would ask that you give thoughtful consideration to the proposal that Tom Craven outlined in his letter to Joe Concatto (attached).

      The Hartville communication should have reached the recipients (Concatto and the recipients) well before the July 30th decision date and accordingly in making the decision of the 30th Concatto should have volunteered a detailed "substantive" explanation as to why the TAC Computer should not be considered.

      Failing Concatto, addressing in public, Mayor Currie's request; the commissioners having been privy to the mayor's communication, should have drawn Concatto out on "the substance" of the TAC proposal as compared to those of the three other proposals under consideration before the commissioners decided to go with New World Systems.

      In addition to the e-mail exchanges, the SCPR is told that there was a face-to-face meeting between Bernabei, Concatto and Mayor Curie and that Commissioner Bernabei seemed surprised at the relations made about some the points in regards to the quality, scope and integration of the TAC Computer System all for a much lesser price.

      The SCPR thinks that in light of the Hartville communication and the failure of it to be addressed in the Concatto July 30th presentation, the commissioners should have a work session which includes all the primary players to delve into the processes whereby the TAC Computer proposal was not considered.

      The suggested probe is not about TAC Computer.

      Rather it needs to focus on whether or not in making the award for a 9-1-1 CAD system the commissioners (under the advice and counsel of Concatto and the CAD Project Team) made a choice in the overall best interests of Stark Countians.

      Commissioners Thomas Bernabei and Janet Creighton made a name for themselves in vastly improving the democratic processes of Stark County government when they were elected commissioners in November, 2010.

      As a consequence of their democratizing actions (one of which was the institution of "work sessions" on Monday and Tuesday of each week) in response to what local civic activist and attorney Craig T. Conley termed as being "Zeiglergate," (April 2009, through October, 2011) and other inadequately dealt with county government problems (e.g. a prior board of commissioners having "imposed" a 0.5% sales tax in December, 2008); Bernabei and Creighton,beginning in January, 2011, were able to recover Stark Countians' confidence in county government so that in November, 2011 Stark County voters gave a solid approval to an increase from 0% to 0.5% in the form of a county sales tax.

      Such was quite an achievement.

      The SCPR sees a work session review on the substance of the excluded TAC proposal as being in line with what Bernabei and Creighton have stood for in terms of trying to do what is best for Stark Countians.

      It seems to The Report that Concatto and his CAD Project Team "stood on ceremony" (i.e. opted "form over substance") in casting aside the TAC Computer proposal.

      And there may indeed be reasons why the New World System is worth a $1 million plus more to the safety, well-being and emergency services response capability to Stark Countians.

      But so far, The Stark County Political Report and others believe that the case has not been made by Concatto et al.

      The Report appeals to the commissioners to convene a work session(s) to get to the bottom of this matter and thereby reassure Stark Countians that they - the commissioners - have, in fact, provided for the safety of Stark Countians in a adequately frugal way.

      Friday, August 15, 2014

      EXPECTED KASICH DRUBBING OF FITZGERALD ON NOV. 4TH TO SWEEP DORDEA TO VICTORY? HOW ABOUT JUDGE WERREN?



      Updated:  09:45 a.m.

      Down-ticket statewide Democrats are getting worried that the political butt-kicking that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed Fitzgerald is about to take on November 4th at the hand of incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich is going to do-in their candidacies.


      Recent polls show Kasich with as much as a 12 percent lead.


      Of the statewide Democratic candidates, only Connie Pillich seems to the SCPR to have much of a chance of winning.

      And, that, it appears to the SCPR, is due to series of bad press phenomena suggesting Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel is doing a rather superlative job of politically self-destructing.

      Registered Democrats are prone to vote in substantially lesser number than their Republican counterparts in non-presidential and off-year (i.e. odd numbered year) elections.

      The SCPR is predicting on this August 15, 2014 that Kasich will win with a 60% to 40% spread, if not greater.

      Here is what Democratic secretary of state candidate Nina Turner had this to say to the Cleveland Plain Dealer recently:

      The FitzGerald effect

      Turner said problems plaguing Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ed FitzGerald in the news recently has had an effect on her campaign. Northeast Ohio Media Group previously reported FitzGerald's early morning incident with a woman who was not his wife in 2012 and the 10 years he went without a driver's license.  
      (color text emphasis added by the SCPR)
      Channeling Winston Churchill, Turner said, "When you're going through hell, you keep on going and that's pretty much what we are doing."

      "He has apologized," Turner said.
      "People are human. People have failings. It's unfortunate people want to keep piling on people's failings."

      Turner said FitzGerald's "challenges" don't change the environment in Ohio, and that people still have reasons to vote for Democrats.
      Reference:  Nina Turner says secretary of state should provide more help to new businesses: 4 takeaways by Jackie Borchardt, Northeast Ohio Media Group on August 13, 2014 at 4:32 PM, updated August 13, 2014 at 6:20 PM
      "THE FITZGERALD EFFECT" IN STARK CO.

      While the SCPR does not think he will take a "butt-kicking," Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee sheriff appointee George T. Maier is likely to take a political hit because of "the Fitzgerald effect.

      The more that Kasich expands his polling leads (and thereby fuels a public perception that "the election is over"); the more rank and file Democrats will get discouraged, the more likely it is that their voting numbers will go down which makes it more likely that down-ticket Democrats, including at the county level, will become victims.

      Nevertheless, the Dordea/Maier contest is likely to be relatively close.

      The SCPR sees Dordea winning by about a 53% to 47% margin.  It could be as much as 55/45 or as little as 51/49.

      The Report has a source saying that the Democrats have taken a poll on the Dordea/Maier race and that it came back with Dordea up 12 percentage points.  The SCPR is skeptical first, that there is that wide of a margin between Dordea and Maier, and second, that if the Democrats had such a poll done that they would share it with anyone who might leak it.

      Dordea's margin may be dependent on him being at the side of Kasich each and every time he appears in Stark County between now and November 4th. The Hartville police chief needs to get himself in media photographs arm-in-arm with Kasich.  Moreover, getting the governor to say how important that it is that Dordea be elected Stark County sheriff would be political "frosting on the cake."

      The Chryssa Hartnett (a Democrat) versus Curtis Werren Stark County of Common Pleas judicial race is likely to be even closer than the Dordea/Maier match up.

      If Hartnett is to pull off a victory in the face of the expected Kasich landslide, she will have to emphasize that she has been "a top-gun" prosecutor and one way or another emphasize to the public that Werren is a political appointee whose legal experience pales in comparison to her own.

      Registered Democrats (including the Maier loyalists) will vote for Hartnett.  Registered Republicans will vote for Werren.  It will be the non-party-registereds who decide this election if Hartnett is to win.

      One politically active Stark County Republican tells the the SCPR that he figures that Hartnett will attract the votes of Republican women who have the advancement of women at the top of their political criteria list.

      It is sort tricky for a judicial office candidate to emphasize his party affiliation.  But that he is a Republican in this election year advantages Werren.  We shall see how creative the Werren campaign can be in getting the message out that John Kasich is the one who put him on the bench in the first place.

      If Hartnett runs "the perfect campaign," she wins 51% to 49%.  But if she does not, then Werren could well win by a comfortable margin.

      Had Lou Darrow been the Dems' choice back on February 5, 2013 to replace November 5, 2102 sheriff-elect Mike McDonald (who could not take office on January 7th because of an illness which cost him his life in February), the Dems' would not even have "a fightin' chance" this November.

      Darrow is all policeman and not a politician in any sense of the word.

      And that's the way it should be.

      But being completely non-political does not usually get people elected to political office.

      Had Lou Darrow been more of a politician (let's say with the William J. Healy, II wing of the Stark County Democratic Party), he would have been the February 5th appointee.

      But, to repeat, he isn't political and it appears that "it was only a matter of time" until he left the sheriff's department, now under the control Maier.  Darrow's departure as of August 1st as a retiree was a function of the aforesaid "it being a matter of time."

      Maier not only has the FitzGerald problem but he also has a significant part of the Stark County Democratic Party (e.g. Prosecutor John Ferrero, former Sheriff Tim Swanson)  that will make his bid to become the "elected" sheriff and uphill climb.

      Of course, Darrow likely continues to be one of Maier detractors.  But he should be of no worry to the Maiers (a reference to George and his well-heeled "politico" brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr; a former Stark Dems' chairman) inasmuch as he does not have a political side to him.

      But Ferrero and Swanson are significant and they could turn out to be decisive factors should George lose in a nail-biter type of election.

      It appears to the SCPR that Swanson's civil liability lawsuit against Maier for usurping the office of Stark County sheriff (according to the Ohio Supreme Court in its November 6, 2013 quo warranto decision) will be decided within 30 days of November 4th.

      Headlines of a $90,000 or so judgment against Maier immediately before the election would not be a positive development for him.

      Moreover, The Report is hearing that "the honeymoon period" between Maier and the troops (especially the top echelon) at 4500 Atlantic Boulevard is evaporating.

      The initial "this Maier guy" is a vast improvement over the "gone fishin" Swanson has turned out to be a bittersweet thing.

      The hope at the sheriff's compound that things - in an overall sense - have improved with the appointment of Maier, seems to be turning South.

      The Report hears that there is growing dissatisfaction with Maier's imperial, swashbuckling style and that rumblings of disaffection within the sheriff's digs are growing louder and more rampant by the day.

      In addition to Darrow leaving, The Report hears that another top sheriff's department official will be retiring reportedly because of the "in-your-face-ways" of Maier.

      It appears to the SCPR that Maier is being the quintessential politician in his first try for elective public office.

      To some Stark Countians, Maier's saturation in "all things political" will be more than a little disconcerting.

      After all, he is Stark County's chief law enforcement officer.

      Seemingly, he never wears civilian clothes.

      On-duty, off-duty, George T. Maier "plays the role" of being the consummate cop.  How convenient this is when he drops in on a political event in full sheriff's dress, no?

      Though, as Stark's appointed sheriff, the department he heads up does not police the City of Canton, Perry Township and North Canton, where does he hold his "Coffee With A Cop" session?  You've got it!  Canton, Perry Township and North Canton.  Hmm?

      While the Coffee With A Cop program did show up in Plain Township on Wednesday which contracts with the sheriff's department for policing services, the program has yet to show up in an area of the sheriff's jurisdiction in which there is no extra incentive (i.e. the $1.5 million or so contract with Plain Township) or which holds much political prospect for Maier's candidacy.


      While "the official line" on the sheriff's office taxpayer support website is that the Coffee With A Cop was "a national initiative adopted by the Stark County Sheriff’s Office," the more discerning among Stark Countians might think their was a political dimension to the adoption (announced in April of this year, right before the primary election in early May).

      It could be true that Maier's motive was civic in nature; however, the timing is such that it falls into the category of "who is going to believe" that?

      Needless to say, George T. Maier is quite the opposite of Lou Darrow.

      With Maier, one has to wonder whether he ever does anything without an eye being on the politics of the matter.

      Should he lose on November 4th, it certainly will be a crushing blow to his ego.

      And, if he does, he will have a ready built excuse.

      It was "the FitzGerald effect" bleeding down to the county level, no?

      And you know what?

      The SCPR thinks it will not be an excuse but the political reality that 2014 was not a good years for statewide and county level Democrats!

      Wednesday, August 13, 2014

      PART 2: (A SERIES OF BLOGS) IS STARK COUNTY OVERPAYING FOR 9-1-1 DISPATCH BECAUSE OF A "FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE?"



      Last Friday, The Stark County Political Report raised the question as to whether or not the county commissioners made a decision to upgrade the county's 9-1-1 dispatch system and in doing so might have cost county taxpayers $1 millon plus.


      The Report believes that IF the commissioners made a costly mistake to Stark's taxpayers, it was all due to a "failure to communicate" by the commissioners' "expert" advisers and that the commissioners were acting on the information they had.

      Chief of among the commissioners' advisers is former Canton fire chief and safety director in the Janet Creighton Canton mayoralty administration (2004 through 2007); namely, Joe Concatto.

      Concatto was a surprise selection inasmuch as  many of those staffing Stark's emergency services domain thought the likely choice was Nimishillen Township fire chief Richard Peterson.


      Peterson had tied himself to former Nimishillen trustee Todd Bosley (turned county commissioner in the election of November 2006; defeating the-then incumbent commissioner Richard Regula) who, as a primary campaign issue, pledged to fix problems with the county's 9-1-1 dispatch as an outgrowth of incidents whereby errant dispatching jeopardized the ability of needy Stark Countians to get the most efficient in emergency services.

      The opportunity came for Bosley to push a 9-1-1 dispatch rehab (described in a 2007/2008 commissioned analysis as being "broken") when in December, 2008 he and fellow commissioners Tom Harmon and Jane Vignos "imposed" a 1/2 cent county sales tax increase with half of the increase targeted to the 9-1-1 project.


      The "imposed" nature of the increase fired up opposition in Stark and in the November election the opposers successfully repealed the increase.  However, the increase tax collection had begun in April, 2009 and continued through March 31, 2010.

      The SCPR believes that the "imposed" nature of the tax made it impossible for Bosley to be reelected as commissioner (or to any other Stark County-based office) and therefore he was not around - as commissioner - to guide the use of the several millions set aside for fixing 9-1-1 dispatching.

      Before he left office, Bosley was a player in the process of determining whom was going to be the 9-1-1 rehab project manager.

      Though it appears Bosley tried to have Peterson named 9-1-1 project manager (whom, the SCPR thinks, had - at the time, at least - more familiarity with Computer Aided Dispatch systems than Concatto); he failed.

      Eventually, Bosley accepted Concatto, the apparent choice of the political power brokers among Stark's fire chiefs, and, of, perhaps, former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez who long served as a Stark County Council of Governments (SCOG) member and chairman of the Governance Committee on 9-1-1.  Gonzalez worked tirelessly for some 20 years or more trying to centralize Stark's 9-1-1 call receiving and dispatch in order make it more efficient/effective.

      To put Gonzalez's contribution into perspective as affecting the county's neighborhoods; every time a citizen needs emergency services and a benefited recipient wants to direct appreciation to a person, Gonzalez, the SCPR thinks, is the guy.

      The SCPR thinks Gonzalez deserves more credit than any other Stark County official for getting the 9-1-1 system in its present vastly improved state.

      Officially, SCOG selected Concatto in mid-March of 2009 to be the project manager.

      There have been many twists and turns for Concatto (working very closely with Gonzalez) over the past five (5) years plus as he has endeavored to get some semblance of a centralized Stark County 9-1-1 dispatch system up and running.

      Finally on July 30, 2014 the Stark County commissioners acted on Concatto's (and his CAD Project Team members) recommendation that nearly $2 million (when a six year maintenance plan is included) of the remaining $2.35 million that the commissioners have on hand be spent on a "new" Computer Aided Dispatch "software-based" system from New World Systems(a top-tier CAD provider according one publication)




      As indicated in Part 1 of this series, the SCPR suspects that in the CAD Project Team "standing on ceremony" (i.e. "form over function") on timeliness of bids/proposals, Stark's taxpayers may be paying nearly $2 million to a Michigan based company for what might be had from a 29 year old Ohio company for in the neighborhood of "a $1 million plus" lesser or more number.

      Of course, The Report knew that a blog series such as this one would raise the hackles of the deciders of the matter (primarily Concatto, the CAD Project Team and, perhaps, Commissioner Tom Bernabei who is said by Concatto to be "next to him [Concatto) in knowledge of 9-1-1 dispatching) and is not surprised to receive emails on the publication of Part 1 on August 8th.

      Unlike many in Stark County officialdom, The Report welcomes differences of opinions.

      In one of the emails Concatto typed in CAPITAL LETTERS which for those of us familiar with the significance of same is like "shouting" at a person.  Maybe that is not the case at all.  Perhaps he inadvertently hit the "caps lock" key.  In Part 3 of this series you will see the entire email; you - the reader - decide for yourself.

      Of course, the SCPR could be off on a tangent on being suspicious, and, if such turns out to be the case, the likes of Concatto and other knowledgeables should be able to "clearly" show point-by-point why The Report's suspicions are ill-founded.

      The Report's sources are the "unsuccessful" bidder's employee Tom Craven and an unnamed safety forces person (Source), who, of course, does not want to face recrimination if the name was known.

      Before going through the SCPR's timeline, readers who want to get the most out of this series should read a 2012 magazine article entitled:  Are CAD Systems Becoming Too Complicated? (Mike Scott and Randall D. Larson, authors)

      Here is what the SCPR thinks is a poignant observation for readers to mull on (an extract from the article) in light of Stark County's proposal being 160 pages along:

      TriTech’s Chris Maloney said such systems often are designed too broadly which detracts from the basic fundamentals of dispatch.  “When procuring a new system, agencies try and make sure that any and all requirements are thrown into the RFP to make sure they don’t miss anything,” he said.  This leads to “featuritis” – systems that can do everything poorly and not important things well.”

      Yes, Concatto's group put out a 160 page specifications list in a Request for Quote.

      Was this a case of Stark County overdoing it?

      And, of course, by implication of the first, a second question is whether or not the commissioners did the best thing for Stark County taxpayers in light of the county's needs (e.g. a completely revamped 800 mhz radio system) and scarce finances in not exploring whether or not TAC Computer would have provided for those needs at a much lower cost?

      SCPR Note:  See TAC's proposal at the very end (i.e. the Appendix) of The Report's Part I blog.

      What follows is a chronological timeline of conversations/correspondence that the SCPR has had on the matter and how The Report thinks the issue of "frugality with Stark County taxpayer money" plays out.

      JULY 30, 2014

      WHAT CAUSED THE SCPR TO QUESTION?

      In making his presentation to the commissioners on July 30th, Concatto spent about 30 to 45 seconds in referring to the untimely bid of TAC Computers (TAC) of Bedford, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland).

      Because of the brevity of Concatto's reference to TAC's proposal, it might be that Commissioners Creighton and Regula did not know that the TAC proposal was for much less money than the New World bid.

      In fact, Commissioner Janet Creighton, after the meeting of the 30th, told The Report that she was not familiar with the TAC proposal (a copy of which the SCPR provided her).  However, she was quick to jump on the fact that TAC's bid had not been timely submitted.

      The Report has reason to believe that Commissioner Bernabei did know well before July 30th and therefore it is disappointing to the SCPR that he did not at the meeting of the 30th (as he is so prone to do in many of the presentations made to the commissioners) draw Concatto out on the TAC factor.

      As readers of the SCPR know, The Report is well taken with Commissioner Bernabei as being a no nonsense, due diligence commissioner.

      It is a sad day indeed for The Report, as is suspected, when it appears that Commissioner Bernabei has taken a pass on matter of critical importance to the county.

      That's how much confidence that the SCPR has had in him.

      AUGUST 4, 2014 (SCPR's "SOURCE")

      The Report contacted a person referred to in this blog as being the "Source" and posed the question:

      "What do you think of the commissioners' accepting the bid of New World Systems' proposal for a state-of-the-art countywide CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch)  at their July 30, 2014 meeting?"

      Answers:
      • The commissioners did not purchase a "countywide" system and for PSAP's (public-safety answering point) other than the Sheriff's dispatch, the Canton Communications Center's dispatch and the Regional Emergency (RED) dispatch to connect, they likely will have to purchase a "software" patch (estimated at about $10,000 annually) to join in with the New World system
        • SCPR notes/comments:  
          • This is a point that Director Concatto and the commissioners readily concede.  Moreover, they are optimistic that in "build it and they will come" fashion (a la "A Field of Dreams), once Stark County political subdivisions (i.e. villages, cities, townships and boards of education) see the operation in action over a period of time and at the urging of county officials, they will "see the light" and over time merge to form an actual countywide system.  
          • Concatto and the commissioners have not publicly addressed the additional "patching" cost factor to the five outside the county system PSAPs.
      • The system purchased is not fully integrated down to the police cruiser in the context the cruisers "mobile data points" and thereby having laptop computers and having access to the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS, the county's records management system) so as to have more or less "real time" information on the person the officer is dealing with on the scene,
        • Comment:  Isn't this latter point a factor of police officer safety?
      • Raised questions about whether or not New World has had problems in implementing its system.
        • Comment:  The SCPR does not recall ever hearing in the discussion of the New World proposal anything about the New World system's reliability factor.
          • It could be that New World is the very best available and, if so, Stark Countians through the commissioners should have affirmative user based testament(s) to that effect dug out by the CAD Project Team
      • Notwithstanding the CAD Project Team, as reported [including a video of them saying so] by the SCPR, standing behind Concatto, most if not all Stark County fire and police chiefs oppose [according to the Source], the July 30th commissioners decision because of the ongoing projected costs of maintaining the system in years beyond the current maintenance agreement and because they preferred that the money be used for new 800 mhz radios, and
      • TAC Computer's Tom Craven, being a technology geek, lacked the marketing sophistication of TAC's competitors
       AUGUST 6, 2014

      On the 6th, the SCPR spoke with TAC's Craven and summarized that conversation in an email to Concatto for his response.

      [Regarding:] TAC

              Martin Olson, Aug 6 at 9:39 AM

      To:  Joseph Concatto

      Joe,

      Spoke with Tom Craven of TAC yesterday
      [actually on the 4th] regarding your statement at last week's commissioners meeting that TAC was too late in submitting a proposal for Stark's CAD.

      He denies that such is the case.

      Says that the 9-1-1 project team has known about TAC for four years and the team has had a presentation made to it.

      He claims that Stark is overpaying by at least $1 million with the New World bid.

      He says that Canton already has TAC's up-to-date system and the PD does not want to change but that the CFD (which I believe you once headed) does.

      I would like to hear the details about your side (the team's side) of the recommendation to the commissioners to buy into New World.

      Craven says that he has sent you an e-mail detailing a proposal for CAD for Stark without the GIS factor.  Please forward a copy of that e-mail and any other correspondence from TAC to you/the project team.

      What is the GIS factor and how critical is it to a properly functioning system?

      Thanks,

      Martin Olson
      Stark County Political Report


      Concatto's response:

      Re: TAC

              Joseph Concatto, Aug 7 at 11:07 AM

      To:  tramols@att.net
              andrea.perry@cantonohio.gov
              Dean McKimm
              John Whitlatch
              Raymond Friedmann
              majorbrink@jtpd.com
              Jamie Wood
              Mark Busto
              Joseph Concatto
              Thomas Bernabei
              Bruce McAllister
              maier@starksheriff.org

      Martin,

      Please see attached for my response to your e-mail.


      SCPR Note:  Interesting cc:  list, no?

      Concatto's letter:

      Martin,

      Here is my response to the e-mail sent to you by Tom Cravan [sic, actually name is spelled Craven] on August 6, 2014.

      “Tom Cravan
      [sic] denies that TAC was too late in submitting a proposal for the Stark’s CAD.”

      First, the proposal that TAC sent me on July 21, 2014 was a just that, an unsolicited proposal not a bid.

      Let me begin by saying that the safety of the first responders in Stark County was always, and remains, our top priority.  


      The CAD Project Team, which you met at the Commissioner’s meeting, has been involved with this project since April of 2010.  They include representatives from the Sheriff’s Dispatch Center, the Canton Communication Center and the RED Center and they have been involved in all aspects of this project.

      This Team designed and issued a Request for Qualification for the purpose of contracting with a national consulting firm to help write the specification for a countywide CAD/Mobile System.  RCC Consultants, Inc. was chosen as the consulting firm and Mr. Leo Birbilas was the lead consultant.  Mr. Birbilas came to Stark County and met with the dispatch centers in Stark County, the Stark County Fire Chief’s Association, the Stark County Police Chief’s Association, a number of Fire Chiefs and Police Chiefs, County officials and the CAD Project Team.  These meetings formed the background for the specifications for the CAD System.

      On October 31, 2012 the County released a Request for Competitive Sealed Proposals for a Computer Aided Dispatching System and a Mobile Data Computer System.  This proposal consisted of approximately 160 pages of specification for both of these Systems.


      Thirteen vendors requested and received bid packages for this Proposal and this included TAC Computer.  On November 19, 2012 we sent out an addendum to this Proposal to all thirteen vendors including TAC Computer.

      Nine of the thirteen potential vendors submitted a bid for this project and the bids were opened on January 17, 2013.  TAC Computer did not submit a bid.  We eventually reduced the number of vendors to three.  After having all three vendors demo their product we picked a final vendor which was New World Systems.

      This was a very extensive project.  We always had the safety of our first responders as our first priority with cost of the project our second priority.

      I am not sure why TAC Computers did not submit a bid but the fact was they did not.  It was important that all the vendors that submitted a bid could conform to our specifications.  Whether or not TAC could or could not conform to our specifications is a question for TAC Computers.  There last minute proposal will not be accepted by the County.


      “Craven states that the 9-1-1 project team has known about TAC for four years and the team has had a presentation made to it.”

      The CAD Project team has known about TAC but they were never given a demo of his system.  Tom Craven did give a demo to the Canton Police and Fire Department and I was present at one of these demos around 2010.

      “Craven claims that Stark is overpaying by at least $1 million with the New World bid.”


      As stated above we had nine vendors who bid on this project and their bids ranged from$1,176,935.00 to $2,664,882.00.  These bids were based on the specifications for the CAD System.  TAC Computer did not submit a bid saving the County 1 million dollars.
      “Craven states that Canton already has TAC’s up-to-date system and the PD does not want to change but that the CFP (which I believe you once headed) does.”

      I assume the “you once headed” is referring to me and I am not sure why the reference.  


      I had no input into the Canton Fire Departments decisions regarding TAC.  However I did reach out for a response from Canton and received the following:

      Canton Fire Department did an evaluation of the TAC CAD system in 2012.  They actually ran it as their CAD for about a week and the Fire Department found that the TAC software was not functioning very well with their Firehouse records management systems.  Report times and run numbers were some of the issues.  That was a problem for the Fire Department in reporting to state for NFIRS and EMS and they had to make manual corrections.  


      Canton discontinued using the TAC CAD and never felt a need to revisit it.  The Canton Police Department and the Canton Fire Department still uses Enroute as their CAD provider but will move to the New World System.  

      Canton personnel did view the demo from New World and are very comfortable with the New World product and they believe this System will serve their needs well.

      Martin you had a question regarding the importance of GIS mapping in a CAD system.  


      GIS mapping is vital to a properly functioning CAD system.  Stark County’s GIS Department and their mapping system is one of the best in the state.  GIS mapping will run within the same bandwidth as the new CAD System.  It will include Pictometry and will be updated on a daily basis.  

      You can contact Brian Hall the director of the Stark County GIS Department for more detail regarding the importance of the GIS mapping system. 


      SCPR Note:  The SCPR was way ahead of Concatto on this suggestion.  The Report captured Hall and Stark Emergency Management deputy director Rich Weber after the commissioners' meeting of August 6th and put the question of GIS compatibility direct to Hall and Weber, to wit:



      Continuing with Concatto's letter:

      I hope this information will enlighten you on how this project came about and the extensive time and effort it took to pick the vendor that will provide Stark County with a Countywide CAD System.


      So ends this Part 2 of the SCPR series on the question of whether or not "a communications failure" was a key factor in the concern of The Report and various Stark County fire and police officials that the commissioners may have overspent Stark County taxpayer money in agreeing on July 30, 2014 to pay New World Systems nearly $2 million for a new CAD system.

      Within days, the SCPR will pick up this series with Part 3.

      In Part 3, The Report will share with readers, in detail, the Craven's (for TAC) response to the various issues raised by Concatto and his CAD Project Team in recommending that the commissioners award the county's CAD business to New World without digging - it appears to the SCPR - into the details of the TAC proposal.

      Moreover, the SCPR will share it its entirety, Concatto's point-by-point rebuttal to various parts of Part 1 of this series.

      In concluding this Part 2 however, The Report does take the final paragraph of the Concatto letter referred to in the paragraph immediately above this one, to wit:

      Martin, though I may not always agree with you, I respect your effort to get your opinions and documentations out to the public.  I have always responded to your questions in a timely manner, however, I will not debate Tom Cravan [sic] nor your "person of considerable knowledge" on your blog.

      An interesting statement, no?

      Especially, the I will not debate language.

      Well, Mr. Concatto can "rest at-ease."  This  series of blogs has never been about getting interested parties to debate.

      What it is about about is Stark County citizens being fully informed about whether or not those paid by Stark County and Stark County political subdivision tax dollars have looked carefully and thoroughly at all options available to the best advantage of the Stark County taxpaying public, whether or not the proposals were timely submitted.

      Taxpayers are likely interested in "Substance over Form," when it might mean saving $1 million plus.

      It has taken Concatto and his close advisers over five (5) years to get to recommending to the commissioners on July 30th.

      And that is all well and good.

      So what was the big rush to "short-shrift" (what the SCPR is thinking) the TAC Computer proposal?

      As persons who is paid with Stark County taxpayer dollars, Concatto, the commissioners and the CAD Project Team have an obligation to convince Stark County taxpayers that there are substantive reasons why they recommended/approved spending $1 million plus over what TAC's proposal called for.

      In pushing for answers, the SCPR makes no apology.

      These days, the only media place the Stark County public will get a thorough examination of the questions raised with the TAC Computer proposal is with The Stark County Political Report.

      The Report compliments Concatto with being willing to respond to each and every question the SCPR has ever posed to him on his and the CAD Project Team's effort in coming to a recommendation on which company the commissioners should award the CAD contract to.

      And that is how it should be.

      To his credit and to Commissioner Tom Bernabei's credit, they do not take the route that a few politically cowardly Stark County politicians have taken vis-a-vis the SCPR.

      The political cowards know they cannot handle The Report's questions so they avoid and they make snide, derogatory remarks about "the blogger" in their handpicked loyalty groups.

      Agree or disagree with the SCPR, The Report publishes every word written and every camera interview done.

      The Report thinks well of the commissioners and thinks well of Concatto and his CAD Project Team.

      But thinking well of or, for that matter, ill of a public official or figure is not a SCPR consideration.

      The Report's thing is to delve into what no other media in Stark County will.

      In this vein, it is a fiduciary-esque public obligation of the commissioners, Concatto and the CAD Project team to satisfy the Stark County public that the recommendation and concomitant decision was in the overall best interests of Stark Countians.

      If, on the other hand, there was indeed "a failure in communication" that caused the on-the-face-of-it TAC Computer money saving proposal to the tune of $1 million plus to get "short-circuited, then those same public officials should own up to it.

      In the end, once this series is completed, Stark Countians will be equipped to make a determination for themselves as to whether or not they have been well served by those in whom they have placed their trust.