Friday, January 30, 2015

CATAZARO-PERRY: FRUSTRATED, TOTALLY FRUSTRATED?



UPDATED:  11:50 AM

If you are Massillon policeman Michael P. Maier and - if - one day down the road you want to be
Massillon Chief of Police (MPD), it might be advisable to not have Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro Perry as your sponsor.

So far in legal proceedings, Massillon is batting .000 (0 for 3) in what appears to The Stark County Political Report as part of Catazaro-Perry's  all consuming passion to make the grandson of a former (deceased in 2006) highly regarded/respected Massillon policeman; namely, Johnnie A. Maier, Sr. a future head of the MPD.

The appeal of the Massillon Civil Service decision holding that the law of Ohio allowed Mayor Catazaro-Perry to appoint Micheal P. Maier (son of Stark County sheriff George T. Maier) to a vacancy recreated on the retirement of Sgt J.J. DiLoreto had to be painful for Massillon FOP Henderson Lodge president Tim Anderson and the Local 105 leadership inasmuch as Michael's grandfather is listed on Lodge stationery as being president "emeritus" (a honorary status)
  • SCPR Note:  See LINK and note that on the linked FOP webpage that Anderson is listed as the Massillon representative to the Lodge 105).
In this third defeat of what the SCPR thinks is the mayor's fast tracking of Michael towards being the head of the MPD, here is a summary of Stark County Court of Common Pleas Chryssa Hartnett decision in re:  the illegality of the MCSC action is allowing Michael's appointment.
  • SCPR Note:  Yours truly is told that there are reports that Michael Maier took a recent "promotion to lieutenant" MCSC exam but did not fare particularly well.
    • If the speculation is correct, then the prospects for Maier to one day be Massillon police chief are dimmed considerably more than finding himself once again in patrolman status as a potential consequence of the Rogers and Anderson case outcomes.


And here is Judge Hartnett's summary of relevant facts which, she says, were not in dispute.


Here is the refined issue, Judge Hartnett's ruling and the SCPR's read of the significance of the ruling.


And here is her reason for reversing the MCSC Anderson decison:


Looking at the matter through the eyes of the mayor, one would likely see her batting record as, in baseball parlance, 2 for 5 (.400, very good for baseball).  For the Massillon Civil Service Commission (which is controlled, more or less, by the mayor by whom she appoints to the commission) has ruled in favor of Michael or his interest twice.


  • SCPR Note:  Chairman Marcus Simpson is said by The Report's source to have voted to grant the appeal of the FOP.
    • The Report is told that Simpson's term is to expire soon and it would be truly amazing were Catazaro-Perry to reappoint him given his dissent on the Anderson matter.
In light of the MCSC having made two illegal decisions, the more sensible thing for Catazaro-Perry to do is to ask for Chapanar and Campbell's resignation.

Especially in light of this letter from Law Director Perry Stergios:


It is hard to see how Massillonians going forward - if Chapanar and Campbell remain in place - can have confidence that "the rule of law" will be respected by the Commission.

It is interesting to note that Massillon Law Director Perry Stergios was not representing the city in the Anderson case.

Which, of course, means that Massillon spent taxpayer dollars on private counsel.

Massillon is in State of Ohio designated fiscal emergency on the petition of Mayor Catazaro-Perry.

But such does not seem to bother her in the least in pushing through on behalf of Michael Maier either directly or in his interest.
      The first loss (LINK:  see this SCPR blog for the complete story) on the appeal of the-then Patrolman Thomas Rogers not having been selected by the Massillon Civil Service Commission (MCSC) to be promoted to sergeant in that the Commission held that Rogers was not entitled to seniority points as provided for in a City of Massillon/Union contract.

      The promotion instead going to Michael Maier.

      As it turns out on the decision of Stark County Court of Common Pleas Judge John Haas, confirmed by the Fifth District Court of Appeals that MCSC illegally (by the union/city contract terms and the law of Ohio) appointed Maier.


      The SCPR doubts that the Catazaro-Perry administration will voluntarily implement the clear implication of Judge Hartnett's ruling.

      That is to say, the second Michael Maier appointment was never as a matter of law effective and that he remains a patrolman in the Massillon Police Department.

      Counsel for the union (Craig T. Conley) anticipates that Mayor Catazaro-Perry will seek to maintain Maier as a MPD sergeant and therefore in planning further legal action to implement the consequences of the Hartnett decision.

      The mayor is on record as saying that her dealings and determinations with respect to the Michael Maier situation has nothing to do with the fact that his father Sheriff George T. Maier was her first safety/service director.

      It is noteworthy that in the Rogers MCSC decision appeal (the appeal to the Commission itself) George was present.

      Moreover, in Lodge #105's appeal before the commission on its promoting Michael on the basis of using "the List" two years rather than the legal one year period, it is noteworthy that Michael was present with his attorney Steven Okey.

      Catazaro-Perry's statement, the SCPR thinks, belongs in the category of:  "It may be true, but who is going to believe it!"

      Wednesday, January 28, 2015

      THE MESSAGE TO ADRIAN ALLISON? SLOW DOWN ON McKINLEY TAKEOVER OF TIMKEN?



      VIDEOS

      CANTON CITY SCHOOLS
      AT
      JANUARY 20, 2015
      COMMUNITY LEADERS FORUM

      =================================

      LEADER INPUT WITH ALLISON’S RESPONSE

      COUNCILMAN KEVIN FISHER

      DR. ADRIENNE O’NEILL

      ATTORNEY GUST CALLAS

      TAGGART’S ERNIE SCHOTT

      COUNCILMAN RICHARD HART

      MALONE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT DAVID KING

      It is appearing more and more that Canton City Schools (CCS) superintendent Adrian Allison has a hearing public.

      The predominant message that The Stark County Political Report is hearing from stakeholders is that the "acquisition" (community activist/former board member Eric Resnick's word) by school officials/a majority of board members of the Canton City Schools' Timken High School to be totally absorbed in the more highly renowned and titled McKinley High School.

      A week ago yesterday, Allison invited what he terms as being community leaders to a breakfast meeting (muffins and coffee) at the McIllwain Center located at the schools' administrative complex on - where else - (only kidding) 305 McKinley Avenue.

      Last week the SCPR focused on the major dissident to seeming "fast track" that the administration and school board have embarked upon in "merging" (if one opts for Allison's descriptive term rather than Resnick's pejorative one) Timken and McKinley into one secondary school.


      (Video LINK to Resnick/Allison tete-a-tete; also SCPR blog LINK commenting thereon)

      Most of those present (The Report's take) supported Allison's/the board's timeframe.  But not all.  And Resnick was not the only "cautioning voice."

      The major question now is whether or not Superintendent Allison will pause to listen even if it means postponing the scheduled February 25 meeting which as of now is supposed to be "the drop dead date" on  CCS Board of Education voting "yes" or "no" on what is formally known as Phase III of the school systems "Brighter Tomorrow Plan."


      Here is an indicative e-mail that the SCPR received about a perceived need "to slow down the process," to wit:


      Interesting enough, the e-mail is from a McKinley alum.

      And noted in the above e-mail there is an allegation of politics being played.  Undoubtedly, there are many Cantonians who buy into "this is politics as usual" scenario.

      Moreover, there is the Hall of Fame Village (adjacent to the formerly name "Fawcett Stadium/McKinley High School) project thing.

      The SCPR was present with camera in hand on January 20 when Allison made his presentation to about 40, more or less, community leaders.

      The Report starts its "video-run-through" with the Hall of Fame issue.

      To the SCPR, the most disturbing thing about Allison's presentation of Phase III was his outright dismissiveness of the signifIcance of the Hall of Fame project and an apparent disinterest (or, at least, a low priority) by Allison and the BOE about the effect that shutting down of Timken will have on efforts of Canton and Stark County leaders to revive downtown Canton.

      Here is Allison had to say about any coordination between the CCS and the HOF Village project.  In a word:  "none."  Which, the SCPR thinks, should be alarming to all.



      The SCPR wholeheartedly agrees, though, with Greater Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce president Denny Saunier's word of admonition on the schools connecting to Greater Canton concerns on a nexus with the the HOF complex and a continuing presence in downtown Canton, to wit:



      From this point on The Report's video track starts at the beginning of Allison's presentation.

      In Part I Allison's focus is on four factors in implementing Phase III of the Brighter Tomorrow plan:
      • efficiency,
      • necessity,
      • cutural, and the
      • law
      The one which is causing the big fight between the administration and the BOE is the "cultural" factor.

      In the Resnick blog, one gets a full dose of this fight from the Timken perspective.

      It appears to the SCPR that most of the community leaders assembled on January 20th at the McIllwain Center were pro-merger community leader supporters.

      Later on in this blog will focus on the community leader feedback - leader by leader, except for Resnick who has already had "his day in the sun" of a SCPR blog - with video footage of their respective comments.

      Of course, The Report has already presented Canton Chamber of Commerce CEO Denny Sanuier's reaction/input above.

      That reaction was, the SCPR believes, prompted by Allison's discouraging comments about CCS's lack of liaison with the HOF Village project.

      Here is Part I:



      And Part II:



      And Part III:



      Finally, Part IV - Phase III Decision Timeline



      The important part of the presentation and the one which should have taken up most of the superintendent's time and attention was the reaction of the community leaders who made the early morning (7:30 a.m.) trip to the CCS McIllwain Center.

      Considering the schedules that community leaders have to meet, he correctly allocated one hour for the session.

      However, he took way too long for his presentation.

      Accordingly, the SCPR thinks that he and board members present (Brahler, Rinaldi, Milligan and Ross-Freedom) were denied the opportunity to hear a spontaneous exchange between the community leaders present and Allison.

      In this section of today's blog, the SCPR honors the community leader participants in creating a separate video for each and every one of them in their back and forth with Superintendent Allison.

      KEVIN FISHER
      • Ward 5 councilman
        • talks about brand name value of McKinley
      (Canton City Council, Ward 5)



      DR. ADRIENNE O'NEILL
      • Long time Stark County Educational Partnership president
        • keep a competive factor in play
        • maintain presence in downtown Canton


      GUST CALLAS
      • Repository "intellectually dishonest" on Phase III timeline matter,


      ERNIE SCHOTT
      • the owner of Taggarts Ice Cream Parlor and Kennedy Barbecue.
        • commends CCS BOE for effort to save taxpayers money


        RICHARD HART
        • Canton councilman at large,
          • questions on cost to CCS on home schooling and charter schools



        DAVID KING


        There is no doubt that the Timken/McKinley merger is a hot topic that has the potential to create yet another division in Canton.

        The Hall of Fame city has all too many ruptures in relationships that have materialized over the decades of Canton's continuing decline.

        The Report has the sense that the CCS BOE and Superintendent Allison are not effectively managing the implementation of the Brighter Tomorrow concept.

        They need to step back, regroup and take whatever time is needed to ensure that all stakeholders in the reorganizing and restructuring of Canton's schools is bought into by the vast majority of Cantonians.

        If they rush "pell mell" forward and the "rush to judgment" is just that, Canton may be set back even further than it is on getting things going in the right direction.

        Monday, January 26, 2015

        SCPR'S "DEEP THROAT(s)" AT SHERIFF'S OFFICE STILL AT WORK!



        It appears that Stark County's version of "All The President's Men" may be up and running at the Stark County sheriff's office.

        Nobody is alleging anybody having broken into George T. Maier opponent for Stark County sheriff Larry Dordea's campaign headquarters in the lead up to the November, 2014 general election to find out what they could about Dordea's secret campaign plans.

        But there is no doubt that Maier has surrounded himself with a bunch of political loyalists who wear Stark County sheriff department uniforms and who apparently think that when Sheriff Maier says - "jump," they all rejoin - "how high?"

        This blog's rough analogy to Watergate is done in order to how a politician's insecurity  (referred to herein as political paranoia) can lead to some pretty dire results.

        And it could be that over the next two years Stark Countians will be sitting in "front row seats" as what the Stark County Political Report thinks is Sheriff George T. Maier's malady of political insecurity play out.

        As the SCPR revealed in the blogs (the Sgt. Major Altieri blog) on the campaign in progress, there can be absolutely no doubt that Sheriff Maier puts personal political loyalty at the highest rung of the ladder to departmental success. One it appears departmental leadership aspirants have to climb over to get a Maier nod for promotion.

        Although Dan Altieri (a highly decorated Marine, who fught in Afgahanistan and Iraq) had been a terrific, no-nonsense, non-political law enforcement officer faithfully serving "the people of Stark County," after retiring, having been a deputy for 27 years, was denied a reserve deputy sheriff commission by Maier in January, 2014 because Altieri (according to Altieri) had the temerity to exercise is U.S. Constitutional right of political association in supporting Lou Darrow in Darrow's contest with Maier to get the appointment of the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee to replace November, 2013 Sheriff-elect Mike McDonald.   McDonald could not take office on January 7, 2013 because of an illness which cost him his life in February, 2013.


        According to Altieri, when he cornered Maier asking why he was being denied a commission after his long and faithful service as a deputy sheriff, he was told that his support of Darrow raised a question with Maier as to whether or not Altieri was trustworthy.

        Altieri's offense made him so untrustworthy to Maier?

        He handed out literature for Darrow at a Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee meeting in support of Darrow.

        The denial could have cost Altieri a job at an area college had not other Stark County law enforcement offices stepped in to provide the needed commission.

        Maier certainly is entitled to have loyal-to-a point, dependable, reliable police officers surrounding him in his official capacity.

        However, for Maier to demand personal political loyalty as Altieri says he did of him is "over-the-top" which means to the SCPR that Maier needs to be watched very closely by area media on the question of whether or not as sheriff he is politicizing the operation of Stark's countywide law enforcement agency.

        There are those who say that it seems that personal political loyalty to George T. Maier has a lot to do with if not everything to do with whether or not one gets an administrative job with the Stark County taxpayer supported county sheriff's office.

        As far as the SCPR knows there is no general public solicitation of the taxpaying Stark County general public for administrative job openings.

        Stark County Political Report readers know the track record of The Report in climbing all over elected public officials (Democrat and Republican) who cut out the taxpaying public from opportunities to gain public employment.

        One of the most egregious cases is how former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez's son Kody benefited from such a process in being selected by Rick Campbell (Democrat county recorder) and Phil Giavasis (Democrat Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts) for two different chief deputy positions.

        Of course Randy says he had nothing to do with Kody's jumping to the front of the line or more accurately being the only person in line.

        And the SCPR thinks he has the political savvy for such to actually be the case.

        However, The Report believes that the likes of Campbell and Giavasis (current Dems party chairman, who, by the way, was Randy's boss when he was chief deputy of Canton Muny) don't have to be asked. Both have highly acute political noses that The Report believes function flawlessly to benefit the likes of Kody Gonzalez.

        Now that Republicans have regained a foothold in county government, they too (e.g. Harold [county auditor], Zumbar [county treasurer], Park [Common Pleas judge] and Creighton [commissioner] indicate that Republicans are not to be outdone by the Dems.

        In a twisted bit of justification, each party points to the other as doing politics driven (as contrasted to "merits driven" combined with "open to the taxpaying public driven") job selection as a proper basis on which to appoint - as a primary criterion - the highly partisan or personal political loyalist to public office.

        It is stuff like this that grates on the everyday citizens and over time builds up to a point that ordinary citizens increasingly take on a cynicism which erodes there willingness to participate in the processes and structures of our democratic republic.

        After having created the conditions for rank-and-file citizens to want to opt out of American's superbly designed democratic-republican system of government in (increasing numbers):

        • not voting, 
        • not working on political campaigns, 
        • not attending government meetings, 
        • not willing to speak out on witnessed abuses of power by government officials, 
        • and the like)

        many of our elected officials want to disparage the body politic (i.e. the electorate) as somehow being disinterested bores.

        Closer to the truth of the matter, yours truly thinks, are the "inside jobs" done by many of our politicians which send out a message loud and clear that the hoi polloi is only to active in the public square to support the politicos continuance in office.

        Otherwise, "We the People" are just to shut up!

        While a number of Maier regime administrative posts are carryovers from Tim Swanson time as sheriff, can there be any doubt that they have been scrutinized by Maier and the likes of his political henchmen (err consultants, for example brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and Stark County Democratic Party political director Shane Jackson) for George T. Maier personal political loyalty?

        The SCPR was the only Stark County media outlet during the campaign that informed the Stark County voting public that Maier has a history of allegations that suggest that he may not have the temperament, disposition and overall character qualities that many of us insist upon as being essential to being possessed by Stark County's top cop.

        It could be that Maier has satisfactory answers to those allegations

        However, Stark County only countywide print media (The Repository) failed to press Maier for answers to the allegations.

        The SCPR did.

        The Repository has a history of landing on certain candidates about one thing or another, but giving others like Maier a pass.

        Former Stark County auditor Kim Perez is a prime example of The Repository's singling out to the exclusion of others.

        When he took office as Stark County auditor in 2004 having defeated Brant Luther (who worked for her in the auditor's office) hand-picked by Janet Creighton (now a Republican Stark County commissioner) to succeed her as the appointee of the Stark County Republican Party upon her resignation as auditor in 2003 to run against Democrat William Smuckler for mayor of Canton (which contest she won), The Repository folks landed on Perez for bringing some his Democratic friends into office with him as staff members.

        The SCPR thinks that the media should always be on the outlook for such.  And The Report had the same take on Perez.

        After the SCPR broke the story on Kody Gonzalez and his inside track (a second time) to a chief deputyship, The Repository did chime in.

        But by and large "mum is the word" with The Rep editorial board on personal political loyalty tests and political party office holder "horse trading."

        And the SCPR cannot recall in all the years of being a Stark Countian (40 years) of the editors jumping on a Republican office holder.

        The difference between The Repository and The Stark County Political Report is that The Rep has shown itself to be "a respecter of persons" whereas the SCPR is an equal opportunity critic.

        The SCPR has written quite a few blogs over the nearly seven years of The Report's existence laying out chapter and verse how highly politicized yours truly thinks the record shows Sheriff Maier's brother Johnnie to be.

        To the SCPR, Johnnie (a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman) is the most politically paranoid politician in all of Stark County.  Accordingly, The Report thinks he surrounds himself in political and government circles with people he has determined to be totally loyal to his political interests.

        Since George first came to the notice of the SCPR when he was sworn in as the SCDP-CC sheriff appointee on February 5, 2013, it  is appearing to The Report that Sheriff Maier and brother Johnnie share the affliction of political paranoia.

        Many folks are dismissive of importance of political paranoia as a factor in a politician's life and for the most part they are right to be so because nearly every politician is afflicted to some degree. But most successfully keep a cap on it.

        One American politician who allowed political paranoia to destroy his presidency, and for many pf us, his credibility forever, was President Richard M. Nixon (1969 - 1973).

        In the process of the unfolding of what came to be called "Watergate," the United States of America came to the threshold of a Constitutional crisise

        Yours truly just finished reading "The Powers That Be" by David Halberstam.  (A book, hopefully, the big a The Rep have read).

        The book is an exhaustive study (over 1000 pages) of The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times and CBS (to a lesser degree ABC and NBC) in terms of them effectively serving their reading publics with investigative journalism that dug out things like Richard Nixon's political paranoia prompting the occurrence of Watergate.

        "The Powers That Be" shows Richard Nixon as being one of those persons who did not take scrutiny or criticism well from the days (1946) he was first elected to Congress.

        The paranoia began early and went largely unchecked until he resigned the presidency in humiliation.

        He surrounded himself with "jump how high" folks and these folks as detailed in "The Powers That Be" tried to bully the media.  Disturbingly enough, they were successful until Bernstein and Woodward got rolling on Watergate with the help of a courageous "loyal to America first" person in Mark Felt.

        On Friday the SCPR was contacted by a source internal to the Stark County sheriff's department and told that on January 20th (Tuesday of last week), Sheriff George T. Maier issued an internal memo laying out a number of promotions and other moves.

        Here is a copy of that memo.


        Here is one SCPR source says about the promotions:

        ... it sounds clear to me, that most of the deputies and employees are NOT in support of the recent Maier promotions. 

        Apparently it's known/believed within the Sheriff's Office, that the recent Maier promotions are a direct result of Charles Stantz, Timothy George, and John Oliver being "MAJOR" supporters of George T. Maier's election campaign.  

        They were frequently seen attending area parades, public gatherings, canvasing neighborhoods, erecting George T. Maier campaign signs, and etc in support of Maier for Sheriff.  (Which was clearly seen in photographs posted on the "Maier for Sheriff" Facebook page.) 

        The SCPR is also hearing that Maier will be bringing in a chief deputy sheriff.  There has not been one since McDonald held the post.

        The word is that the new chief will come from among Maier's Ohio State Highway Patrol pals (to the degree they still exist) who is said to have retired recently.

        It appears to the SCPR that Maier has announced the promotions of four (George, Stanz and Oliver; Loy, of course, not a raise in rank for he is not a deputy sheriff, but with a much more significant job) of his most personally political loyal - during the Maier/Dordea campaign - administrative sheriffs.

        Not only did Maier promote George, Stanz and Oliver, but he raised Stanz and Oliver by two ranks (from lieutenant to major).

        The SCPR is told that it has been eight years since a skipping of ranks promotion took place (under Swanson) wherein Sgt Johnson was promoted to captain about eight years ago.

        Folks, these promotions and their suspiciously seeming correspondence with political campaign activity, should raise red flags to the Stark County public and to all of Stark County media.

        But no one should hold his/her breath in thinking that Stark's only countywide newspaper will nose into the question of whether or not the Maier promotions have anything to do with their political involvement in George's campaign.

        Fortunately, the SCPR does have  "Deep Throat-esque" type figures deep within the bowels of the Stark County sheriff's department.

        Which likely means that there is very little Maier can do outside his close-in super loyal officers that the SCPR will not get hold of and pass onto the Stark County public in the context of a critical journalistic analysis.

        Which, of course, likely drives the Maier brothers right up the proverbial wall.

        It would not surprise the SCPR that with the publication of this blog that Maier and his political confidants will launch a witch hunt to ferret out the department's "Deep Throat."

        In a post-election blog, the SCPR chided the sheriff-elect that one of his first hires should be a plumber so as to fix all the leaks emanating out of 4500 Atlantic Boulevard.

        Over the seven years that this blog has been in existence, yours truly has received numerous reports the degree to which Johnnie, Jr., and R. Shane Jackson "bounce off the walls."

        The irony is that these two gave yours truly the idea of starting a blog.

        Questions need to be answered by this sheriff:
        • justifying these promotions on merit grounds, and 
        • addressing his seeming obsession with personal political loyalty as  factor:
          • in whom he hires to administrative positions, and/or 
          • who gets promoted.
        Maier has to (in order to avoid the sheriff''s department being generally thought as being rife with a requirement of political correctness in sync with Maier's political interests), persuade, by clear and convincing evidence that his administrative hirings/firings and promotions had nothing whatsoever to do with the recipient's personal political loyalty to him.

        Additionally, there are obvious questions about the promotions and added department functions cost paid out of the Stark County general fund funded by Stark County taxpayers.

        Here is a comparison between the only existing major's (Arnold) pay rate and those of Oliver and Stanz as lieutenants.


        • SCPR note:  When Maier provides data to the Stark County auditor's office, The Report will be sure to publish the "more or less" exact cost to Stark County taxpayers of the actions he outlines in the above January 20, 2014 inter office memo.

        Of course, Maier does not have the gonads to take "political factor" and fiscal questions from The Stark County Poltical Report.

        As the SCPR sees it, this is "come to Jesus" time for the bigs at The Repository.

        The Report is told that quite of number of deputies are upset with how Maier is handling things and see a significance to the safety of the Stark County public with Maier spending money on promotions and other, perhaps, unneeded changes in that overtime for the day-in, day-out law enforcement deputy sheriff workload is alleged to be severely cut back.

        One change that the SCPR applauds is the addition of an investigation function (i.e. a detective bureau).

        It has take Maier two years to add this much needed capability.  But "late is better than never."

        Maier has blown off the SCPR questions because he knows that yours truly will not abide preconditions as to limiting the digging nature and scope of inquiry. (see blog on Massillon Ward 4 Councilman Shaddrick Stinson's attempt to do so)

        Would Maierdare blow off The Repository?

        If The Rep takes up the challenge to insist that Maier answer incisive questions on the issues raised in this blog, the interview needs to be video recorded and made available to the Stark County public so that we all can assess whether or not The Rep did its journalistic due diligence.

        The potential gravity of this situation in terms of continuing public confidence in the integrity of the Stark County sheriff's office depending of a thorough vetting of Maier hiring/promotion practices is clearly, as far as the credibility of The Repository is concerned is a "trust, but verify" matter..

        When Kim Perez took office as county auditor, the editors went to work right away.

        And who thinks that the functioning of the auditor's office is anywhere near in importance to the public having confidence in the operation of countywide law enforcement?

        It is not a question of the professional police men and women who staff the sheriff's department.

        Only yesterday, the SCPR received a response to questions posed to former Sheriff Tim Swanson.

        Here is what he had to say about several of Maier's promotees:
        Oliver and Stanz are both outstanding deputies and always could be depended on to do a professional job, great choices in my book. 
        The question insofar as the SCPR is concerned is whether or not what the SCPR thinks is a case of Maier being unduly afflicted with political paranoia manifests itself in his management of the professionals who work for him?

        Maier and his qualities or lack of qualities as a leader, is the topic of inquiry; not the professional law enforcers.

        However, the SCPR can think of a least administrative employee who seems to voluntarily follow Maier around like "a lost puppy dog" seeking his Master and thereby thought by many to be pretty much having been - at the outset - an unadulterated political hire and, here, by the way is a good paying job that was not put out to bid to the general Stark County taxpaying public.

        Low and behold!

        A 16 months later a promotion!!

        At who knows (we will know soon and the SCPR will publish that number) at what kind of increase.  Of course, all taxpayer dollars from a taxpaying general public who never got an opportunity to apply for the job.

        Swanson also said in his e-mail response :
        Remember Maier, outright lied about his qualifications in the first place. 
        He told me as well as making the statement publicly that he would not vie for the appointment if he was not qualified.   
        Track record of being able to be trusted as to what he says as to be truthful, isn't very good. 
        I think that haunts some of the people still there. I'm still dumb founded by the arrogance of the ones involved in the debacle and those that sit by and don't say a word or see the same injustice as we and a few others do.  (emphasis added)

        On November 6, 2013, the Ohio Supreme Court "on a technicality" (George Maier says) said he was not qualified.

        The SCPR agrees with Swanson that Maier has a credibility problem.

        Accordingly, he is one to focus on going forward; not the sheriff department deputies.  The Report thinks he has created a climate that one needs to be "politically correct" in order to thrive with the domain of the Stark County sheriff's office.

        They likely will do what they have to do to survive and some of them may turn themselves into quintessential "yes-men" in order to tap into the opportunities presented by the political current which appears to be engulfing the office.

        Political correctness should not be part of the equation in Stark County public official/employee relationship.

        It is the role of media to let Maier that know that every step he takes as sheriff is being watched.

        If the Stark County media does it job in closely watching Maier, then the professionals have some protection from future political whims that Maier may wish to press on them going forward.

        Because The Repository failed to press for answers in the lead up to the Maier/Dordea election contest, the editors now have to verify to the Stark County reading public that they can ask searching, penetrating and incisive questions of the sheriff.

        The Stark County commissioners have a role to play.

        It is their general fund appropriation function.

        They are in the process of conducting budget hearings.

        Sheriff Maier is due in for the sheriff department hearing on February 5th.

        Don't expect it to happen, but the commissioners should be asking about the expenditures Maier made in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 which smack of George T. Maier using taxpayer money to plaster the name of "Sheriff George T. Maier" within the sheriff's complex (as if the deputies and other sheriff personnel do not know he is sheriff) and all over Stark County (the vehicles) when it was far from certain that he would ever be elected sheriff.

        Commissioner Thomas Bernabei to the SCPR is ga-ga over Maier.  The only public official The Report has seen Bernabei embrace has been Maier.

        If a hug was Bernabei's modus operandi on greeting public officials across-the-board (his custom is to do a hearty handshake), The Report would think nothing of it.

        But its not.

        And this should be disturbing to Stark Countians in terms of Bernabei being able to distance himself from Maier so as to be as searching on Maier as sheriff on fiscal matters as he is on other public officials who get funds from the county's general fund.

        For Bernabei is far and away the most capable commissioner in terms of asking tough questions of those officials who spend taxpayer dollars.

        The SCPR has not heard Bernabei ask Maier one "ire provoking" (to Maier) question as he has with other county officials.

        In the 2014 budget hearings, there were a number of pointed exchanges between Bernabei and elected department heads.  Even Janet Creighton got in on the act here and there.  But it was Bernabei who put on most of the heat.

        So The Report expects the February 5th session to be an "atta boy, slap on the back" hearing.


        Other county officials will not be so lucky, if prior budget hearing sessions (2013/2014) are any indication of what commissioners put "out-of-favor" department heads through, of Stark County government through.

        The SCPR has no problems whatsoever with the grilling.

        But it needs to be evenly/equally applied.

        When Stark County taxpayer funds are a stake, it is not a matter of being in or out of favor on the personal likability chart.

        Whether The Repository or the commissioners do their due diligence or not, readers of the SCPR can rest assured that The Report will.

        In Maier's case, it is just terrific that Stark County's version of Deep Throat" continues to function post-election right under George's nose.

        Don't you just love it?

        Hey Sheriff Maier, who do you think Deep Throat is?  Or, perhaps, better yet:  who the Deep Throats are?

        Maybe he will put his new investigation unit in on the hunt?

        LOL, no?

        Sort of, perhaps in a political sarcasm/satire context.

        But not for everyday Stark Countians who have no other policing resource!

        What if one of George Maier's political enemies (no names please) needs sheriff office services and/or contact and has to deal with one perceived to be on a political correctness track with the sheriff?

        Which factor will trump?

        Political correctness or professional policing?

        Think about it Stark Countians!

        Friday, January 23, 2015

        WHO WILL JOIN THE SCPR IN SCRUTINIZING STARK CO. DEPARTMENT OF GOV'T BUDGETS?



        Updated:  10:30 a.m.

        Its not a "sexy and glitzy" process, but on Monday the Stark County commissioners will start the process of having Stark County Departments of government in to meet with commissioners in for work sessions as the commissioners embark on the annual budget hearings.


        The graphics above are from the 2014 SCPR extensive coverage of the Stark County general funding budgeting process.

        And here is a list of key blogs done by The Report for those who want an insight into what the process entails in some detail:
        1. Volume 1
        2. Volume 1a
        3. Volume 2 
        4. Volume 3 
        5. Volume 4
        6. Volume 5 
        7. Volume 6

        2015 is, the SCPR thinks, a critical year for determining whether or not the commissioners have the willpower and discipline to "hold the line" on county government expenditures from the county's general fund.

        What makes this year so critical in the way of the SCPR's thinking is that revenues, according to Stark County Auditor Alan Harold, at Tuesday's monthly county finances meeting had a significant uptick in revenues.

        In 2014 the county appropriated some $60 million in Stark County taxpayer funds for the providing of health, safety and well-being of Stark Countians.

        In Tuesday's  meeting, Harold revealed that Stark County government has collected some $3.25 million more than anticipated and consequently the county is running a cash flow surplus of some $14 million.

        The SCPR is somewhat concerned about and skeptical of the commissioners being able to administer fiscal self-discipline to themselves and to other Stark County departments of government in light of what they have done in the past; especially with the Stark County commissioners administrative operations.

        They have added quite three of new positions and in the case of the chief county administrator dramatically increased the pay scale since the full implementation of the November, 2011 passage by Stark Countians of a 1/2 percent sales tax increase.

        The cost of the new positions and dramatic increase?

        How about $209,464.202!

        A 54% increase in a little over two years.

        Absolutely, breath taking, for the managers of Stark County's general fund budget to themselves go on a spending binge, no?

        Not including the dramatically higher pay for Brant Luther, the commissioners have doled out more than 4% in raises to continuing employee positions over the 12/2012 through 01/2015 time period.


        On the constructive side of things, the commissioners have provided a structure of county finances which, if properly employed, has the potential to channel the county revenues/expenditures overall balance into being a reality-based and therefore sustainable model.

        Under former Stark County boards of commissioners (those including folks other than Thomas Bernabei, Janet Creighton, Richard Regula and to a lesser extent Pete Ferguson), Stark County's fiscal structure and processes were an absolute joke.

        Worse yet, the failure of prior boards to thoroughly vet and monitor what county departments were doing with your (meaning hardworking, everyday citizens) hard earned taxpayer dollars, the SCPR thinks, led to a certain arrogance among county officials.

        One example of the arrogance came from Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero (thinking his office to be short-handed because of budget cuts) threatened (the SCPR believes) the commissioners in 2012 with the prospect that he might ask Stark County judges to start appointing private sector attorneys to handle cases as an "in-your-face," "I will go behind your back" move designed to intimidate the commissioners into giving in to his budget appropriation demands.

        Had he followed up on what The Reports takes as being a bullying bluff, it could have cost other Stark County departments of government many thousands of dollars in at the time highly scarce revenues to run the basic services that Stark Countians have come to depend upon.

        Ferrero has a history of trying to bully those (including the SCPR) who disagree with his actions or imposing the priority of his office needs over all other Stark County department of governments.

        So it was intriguing (and pleasing) to the SCPR when he became the primary focus of a "bull against bull" match up with the-then Stark County Democratic Party sheriff appointee George T. Maier.

        The SCPR in prior blogs has described Ferrero as being courageous in taking on taking on the Maier brothers and The Report still thinks that though his motive may well have been tainted, courageous was to proper word to have used.

        Ferrero did have the distinct advantage of the law Ohio being on his side.

        The SCPR suspects that his motive was not so much his devotion to the rule of law as it was a comeuppance on his part against Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., whom he preceded as Stark County Democratic Party chairman.

        Both are Massillon based and have fought each other (and you can through former mayor Frank Cicchinelli in to the mix insofar as Maier is concerned) in a political turf war in the highly charged political battleground of Massillon.

        In the end, Maier proved to be a more effective bull than Ferrero.

        However, Stark County would be better off, in the opinion of the SCPR, if neither one were a county officeholder.

        He isn't complaining to the SCPR, but Stark County budget director Chris Nichols has to deal with the Ferreros, Maiers and others of their ilk (e.g. Stark County recorder Rick Campbell) in recommending to the commissioners which county departments should be financed out of the county general fund and at what level.

        Though the SCPR believes to this day that Nichols and Luther (Stark County's chief administrator) got their jobs (both well connected Republicans, Luther more than Nichols), at least in part due to political connections (again, especially Luther who once worked for Creighton when she was Stark County auditor) to Commissioner Janet Creighton; both have turned out to be exemplary employees.

        Creighton denies that political connectedness had anything to do with Luther and Nichols being hired.

        Moreover, she makes no apologies whatsoever in pressing for the hiring of persons she feels comfortable with.

        To which, the SCPR responds:  "Fine and dandy if you own or are managing a private company. But not when you are financing employment with taxpayer dollars."

        Think maybe it might be good for taxpayers to have those employed in public positions to be loyal in terms of working smoothly with their bosses, but separated from personal or political ties that make it difficult if not impossible to take exception (even in private) to the boss?

        The Nichols process of employment was particularly troublesome to the SCPR because the commissioners failed to advertise the budget director position to the general public.

        The commissioners appeared to have relied on their overall impression of Nichols from his "for the chief administrator postion" interview and his resume (and, perhaps, his political connectedness) in short-circuiting the budget director hiring process.

        In hindsight, it is hard to imagine that the commissioners could have done better than hiring Nichols.

        But it is taxpayers dollars that the commissioners are dealing with and the general public is entitled to have an opportunity to apply for taxpayer funded jobs, and it is in the interest of county taxpayers for the commissioners to have made double-sure that Nichols was without a doubt the person to hire by having had an open process.

        To the degree that there are warranted suspicions that politics trump something like a totally "open to the general public" hiring process, the SCPR thinks the public is correct to take on a distrustful of government attitude towards those who participate in the short circuiting.

        Accordingly, The Report does not want to hear the actors complain about the skepticism, distrust and sometimes cynicism that the public seems to be taking on to a increasing degree vis-a-vis government at all levels including the local level.

        These government official perpetrators themselves provide fertile soil for negativity toward government to take root and flourish.

        Notwithstanding SCPR misgivings about the process employed in hiring Luther and Nichols, yours truly thinks that this board of commissioners is a vast improvement over boards of let's say going back some 30 years; there is no such thing as a perfect public official and that it is up to everyday citizens participating in the government process (e.g. the county budget hearings) to keep them on "the straight and narrow."

        The SCPR relishes the role that The Report, among Stark County media, has pretty much singularly taken on as being a primary scrutinizer of "all things Stark County political subdivision government."

        But due to the limitations to being one person who tries to cover all of Stark County, The Report undoubtedly only uncovers a small fraction of unaccountable, inefficient, nontransparent, and uncommunicative Stark County political subdivision officialdom.

        If Stark County is to eventually become a model of local government in terms of being reasonably accountable, efficient with our hard earned taxpayer dollars, transparent on the processes of governance and being accessible to and communicative with everyday Stark Countians, it will certainly take more monitors than The Stark County Political Report.

        As this blog began, the county budget process is not "sexy or glitzy" but with the vast improvements the current board of county commissioners have made on the  transparency-in-government factor alone; everyday citizens and certainly the few community activists that dot the county have in sitting in on the upcoming budget hearings and thereby joining the SCPR effort to let government officials that they are being watched.

        Any citizen and activist who would join in on monitoring the budget hearing process should read the blogs that the SCPR did on last year's process.

        Here are the links to those blogs.

        And here is Thursday's schedule of hearings.



        Unfortunately, due to a personal healthcare situation, the SCPR will not be able to attend Monday's hearing.

        The question is who will step into the breach and be "the eyes and ears" for all of Stark County's taxpayers as the hearings unfold?

        Here is the entire schedule of budget hearings.  Please note that Coroner and the Obligations section of the Commissioners offices have yet to be scheduled.



        Thursday, January 22, 2015

        SCPR'S MARTIN OLSON MAIN STREET EXCHANGE NCCS TV INTERVIEW




        On Thursday, January 15, 2015, yours truly was interviewed by Doug Lane who is director of the North Canton Chamber of Commerce (NCCC) and who hosts a program entitled the Main Street Exchange. The segment was published for online access on Tuesday of this week.

        The program is described thusly on the program's website:


        CLICK HERE to access the video which focuses on results from the November, 2014 election, voter participation and some key races in the upcoming 2015 elections.

        A SCPR thank you to Doug, the North Canton Chamber of Commerce and the North Canton City Schools TV-11 Video Department.

        Wednesday, January 21, 2015

        BREAKING NEWS! FRANK CICCHINELLI DECIDES NOT TO RUN FOR MAYOR!


        The Stark County Political Report has learned that Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. will not be running for mayor of Massillon in the May, 2015 Democratic Party primary election.

        Yesterday, well known Massillonian J. David Ress (of Massillon Magazine) took out petitions to run in the 2015 Democratic primary against sitting Democratic mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.


        Ress told the SCPR about his pulling petitions last evening and implied that he did so with the blessing of Cicchenlli.


        Had Cicchinelli, mayor for 28 years prior to being defeated by the current mayor in the 2011 Democratic Party primary, not made up his mind to run, Ress would not have pulled petition, so the SCPR thought.

        Early today The Report confirmed with Cicchinelli that he has in fact decided to run.

        Does this mean that one should count Cicchinelli out of a November general election race?

        Perhaps not.

        One thing for folks to look for is whether or not Cicchinelli actually votes in the May Democratic primary.

        For if he doesn't, folks like yours truly will be pondering the significance of his not having done so.

        Would such a development mean that Cicchinelli is positioning himself to run as an "independent" and thereby making it a three way race between himself, Republican Lee Brunkhart and Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry?

        Even Ress himself understands that he is in his own words to the SCPR "a dark horse" candidate to take the mayor out in May.

        His lack of political sophistication could actually turn out to be an advantage in a run against Catazaro-Perry and prime base of Massillon political support; namely, Johnnie A. Maier, Jr's Massillon Political Machine (MMPM).

        RESNICK INJECTS "ANIMOSITY" INTO CANTON COMMUNITY LEADERS MEETING?



        The Stark County Political Report is not quite sure how former Canton City Schools board member Eric Resnick got on yesterday's invitation list sent to community leaders.


        But he did.

        For media, Resnick being present at any public meeting is like "manna from Heaven."

        For Canton City Schools (CCS) Superintendent Adrian Allison, it had to be "a time that tries men's souls."

        Allison made a presentation yesterday to some 40 or so Canton-based or interested persons singled out by te superintendent as being community leaders.

        After the presentation, Allison opened up the session into a Q&A which most of us is a Question & Answer time.

        But with respect to former CCS board member Eric Resnick's participation, it might be more fitting to think of his and Allison's segment as being a Question & Animosity time.

        As readers of this blog know, the SCPR is sympathetic to citizens who actively participate in public meetings.

        However there are a few that even the SCPR find hard to abide.

        Resnick is one and there is another one who hangs out in Massillon official circles.

        One characteristic of folks like Resnick and the Massillon guy, the SCPR thinks, is that they are "my way or the highway" people and therefore The Report deeply discounts their input when it comes to assessing the value of their public arena participation.

        The Report's take on Resnick is that he lives in a world of his own defining and if one does not share that definition you are just flat out wrong.

        The Report sees Resnick as a doctrinaire type (way left of center politics) who seemingly cannot image in his wildest dreams that anybody might see things differently than he does.

        The SCPR has been acquainted with Eric Resnick for about ten years or so.

        And he has been a subject of a half a dozen blogs since this blog got started in March, 2008.

        Yesterday, Resnick, at the aforementioned meeting, made a rather sobering suggestion to the effect that the CCS Board of Education may have violated Ohio's Sunshine Law (i.e. decisions can only be "open to the public" meetings) in coming to a decision to "merge" Timken High School into McKinley High School.

        To boot, Resnick took issue with and scolded (as arrogant types are apt to do) the media for using "merger" rather than "acquisition" in writing about Canton City Schools' Brighter Tomorrow Phase III initiative which, again, is the phase that deals with the high schools being merged into one.

        Below is the entire exchange between Resnick and Superintendent Allison.

        Things to look for (not covered elsewhere in this blog) in Resnick's questions and comments: (SCPR's interpretation)
        • Superintendent/BOE being hostile and disrespectful in the merger (if The Report may disagree with Mr. Resnick) of Timken with McKinley,
        • Superintendent Allison was being deceptive (the SCPR's word/phrase; not Resnick's) on November 15, 2014 at a CCS BOE work session in which Resnick says Allison never mentioned the phase including a Timken/McKinley merger,
        For the record, Resnick was corrected by prominent Canton attorney Gust Callas to the effect that "no, Eric, merge is the correct term. We at Black, McCuskey ... have 'merged' firms and the name after the 'merger' remains Black, McCuskey ... ."



        Resnick has the potential to be an effective "hold them accountable" factor if he can rein-in his "my way or the highway" attitude.

        Notwithstanding the SCPR's disenchantment with Resnick, he did raise a important point (the Sunshine Law thing) that board/school officials need to answer.

        It is interesting to note however that Resnick did not mention yesterday the opinion of some that the CCS-BOE may have violated Ohio Sunshine Law in the appointment of a board member on June 14, 2010 when Resnick was a board member.

        Maybe Resnick had misgivings about that process and the SCPR is having a run of bad luck in finding online documentation of same.

        The Report is just a tad suspicious that the-then board member Resnick had nothing publicly to say about the June 14, 2010 appointment when it became a matter of controversy in September, 2010.

        If he didn't, it does not invalidate his current Sunshine Law compliance concerns.

        However, most of us expect that one who sounds off like Resnick did yesterday to have a track record of consistency.

        Maybe he did object or express reservations about the 2010 appointment process back in 2010 and it is merely of case that the SCPR can't chase it down.

        Credibility is everything to school boards and school officials and they need to respond to and, if need be, correct on this suggestion of legal impropriety.

        But not the merger/acquisition language thing.

        Resnick's oration on comparing/distinguishing the two words was just "old fashioned" silliness that apparently bespeaks Resnick's compelling need for everyone to speak as he does,  to do as he does; even if on the most inane of things.

        It is a credit to Superintendent Allison and the CCS BOE that Resnick (who appears to be billing himself as the spokesperson for "Keep Timken - Timken" folks) was invited to the community leader breakfast (muffin and coffee) meeting.

        But it is difficult for the SCPR to think of Eric Resnick as being a community leader.