Thursday, November 21, 2019




We Stark Countians all remember hearing the revelation on April 1, 2009 that Stark County taxpayer money had been stolen from the county treasurer's office.

The fallout on elected Stark County officials was enormous.

A county treasurer ends up resigning, a county auditor is defeated for re-election and Stark County sinks into a deep, deep fiscal crisis that took the election of two new Stark County commissioners (Creighton and Bernabei) to institute the values of accountability, openness, official/citizen communication and transparency and thereby redeem the 2009-2011 loss of public confidence in county government.

One of the reasons we humans pay attention to history, is to decipher from history the error of our ways and to institute measure to ensure that similar matters do not go awry again.

The hot issue these days is cyber security of all of U.S. government (federal, state and local [and, yes, even Stark County, its cities, townships, boards of education, et al] included.

On October 8, 2019 the Stark County commissioners held an executive session with Stark County auditor Alan Harold regarding the security of Stark's cyber system(s).

On November 15th, the SCPR sent an inquiry to the Stark County commissioners, to wit:
Having read today a couple of articles on state and county cyber security (LINK 1) (LINK 2) (LINK 3), I am curious as to how on top of the issues presented in the articles are the Stark County commissioners and Auditor Harold's IT department. 
I realize threat the auditor's office is specifically responsible for Stark County IT security.  But I want to know from "the buck stops here" unit of overall county government the state of the commissioners' understanding of the potential for cyber problems in Stark County, whether or not preventative measures are in place and the degree to which the commissioners and Auditor Harold can assure the Stark County public that the county is as secure as "the state of the art" allows. Has there been within the last year a work session on the topic(s) raised in this e-mail. If so, when? If not, why not? If not, whether or not the commissioners think such a session is warranted?
Chief County Administrator Brant Luther's response:

The SCPR appreciates Administrator Luther's "assurances," but we all know that "the best laid plan of mice and men" often go awry.

The antidote?  Fundamental democratic-republican values of government accountability, openness, two way communication and, above all, transparency.

On October 8, 2019, Luther says, the commissioners did have an "executive session" on Stark County's cyber security preparedness.

But that is all we know and that is still all we know after the SCPR raised the issue of transparency in yesterday's meeting.

In the video, note that Administrator Luther asks for "specifics."

Apparently, he had forgotten that the SCPR had provided a specific line of inquiry.  In a follow up SCPR email to Auditor Harold (copied to Luther):
The SCPR cites you to a National Law Review article (LINK) which outlines 11 areas which local governments need to be addressing, to wit: 
Nonetheless, the commissioners "stood their ground" and would not discuss even non-sensitive information on Stark County's plan of preparedness to prevent cyber attack.

Anyone who knows the SCPR knows that this blog will be unrelenting in ferreting out those specifics of the plan that cyber experts agree on is appropriate for public dissemination.

The SCPR is of the opinion that the commissioners are being overly cautious in sharing information on Stark County's apparently, "in the works" cyber security plan.


Cong. Anthony Gonzalez says he is for US/Ohio/Stark Co election security. () But what is doing to encourage support of the Paris Call () by US, Ohio and Stark County government entities?

Ransomware attacks on local governments can and have cost local governments huge payouts to ransomware attackers

Meanwhile, you and I are denied electronic access to our governments.

Recently, the Canton Auditor's Office was duped into paying an employee's paycheck to a spammer.

So for any local government official who thinks that the rest of Stark County government will not fall prey to hackers, spammers, phishers etc, out to think again.

Several months ago Ohio secretary of state Frank LaRose put out a press release (LINK) on his office's effort to provide Ohio with secure elections.

However, when the SCPR asked the Stark Co Board of Elections (Travis Secrest/Dir Jeff Matthews) for information what the LaRose directive would be implemented in Stark County, the BOE replied that the SCPR would have to ask LaRose, whom, of course, failed to answer the SCPR inquiry.

The public needs know at least an outline with as much specificity as is prudent to reveal in order to have a measure upon which to hold public officials accountable if their planning proves inadequate if not non-existence which seemed to be the case with the Stark County treasurer's office under then-treasurer Gary Zeigler.

The public having a ready accountability standard appears to be something that many elected/appointed public officials are deathly afraid of.

But they do not mind taking in their annual salaries.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


UPDATE:  8:55 a.m. Video of Stark County Citizens Who Experienced a Rough Voting Experience

UPDATE:  9:02 a.m.  One on One Post-Event Interviews with Mike Brickner of All Voting is Local & Co-president of the Canton Area LWV

ALL VOTING IS LOCAL in Canton yesterday. Sponsored by the Canton Area League of Women Voters. SCPR videotaped 1.34 min of Canton presentation.

Event is designed to equip "everyday" citizens to get active in ensuring that Stark County elections are smooth.

Here is a 2012 incident that reveals that for several Alliance area residents that demonstrates that only with citizen involvement monitoring year in, year out county, city, township, boards of education and other political subdivision entities (e.g. libraries), can we feel confident that each of our votes will count.

Here is a one-on-one interviews with presenter Mike Brickner (All Voting is Local) and LWV co-present Carol Canavan.

Monday, November 18, 2019


When the SCPR took a look at Brook Harless' (Plain Township trustee candidate) campaign finance report (pre-general election), all this blogger could see was 'red flags' which prompted a "deep dig" into the question:  "What is going on here?"

It is truly amazing what one finds when one examines things like campaign finance reports and makes "simple" Google (R) searches.

Take a look at Harless' pre-general 2019 campaign finance report:

Note all those "heavy hitter"  Stark Co (and connected) Republicans:
  • Jane Timken, Ohio GOP chair
  • Sarah Brown of Alliance, a Ohio GOP committeeperson,
  • Reggie Stoltzfus, (R, Stark's 50th OHse [Christina Hagan's former office),
  • Anthony Gonzalez (R, US Congress 16th [opposed by Hagan in 2018]),
  • Bob Gibbs (R, US Congress 7th [a out&out Trump supporter as was Hagan])
And take a look at Harless' 2017 pre-general CFR:

No "heavy hitter Republican official" except for:
  • Christina Hagan, then a member of the Ohio House as Stoltzfus' predecessor
    • (six years, having been appointed by the Ohio House Republican caucus in 2011 when Todd Snitcher resigned to take a Gov. Kasich PUCO appointment as chair) 
Note:  NO 2019 campaign contribution Hagan to Harless!
Lay on top of all this the fact that Christina's brother Josh ran (as political ally of now OH Hse speaker Larry Householder) against Stoltzfus (a supporter of then OHse speaker Ryan Smith) for the GOP 50th District nomination in May, 2018 while Christina was running against Gonzalez.

Byzantine politics, no?

What to make of all this?

The SCPR thinks that a battle between political right-wingers Hagan/Harless is underway.

Who is going to end up the loser?

Christina Hagan as her ambition to build a Stark County based family political empire vanishes?

Thursday, November 14, 2019

GONZALEZ: How Mature of a Politician is this Guy?

Anthony Gonzalez (R, the 16th) represents part of Stark County.

While this action is commendable, his use of RNC or Republican Congressional Caucus "push polling" (designed to lead responding citizens to politician/political party desired answers) is shameful.

Something Stark Countians would expect of either highly partisan Republican Bob Gibbs and Democrat Tim Ryan.

SCPR does  not expect a response from Gonzalez.

Apparently, he (being a freshman congressman) hasn't yet developed the maturity to qualify as a first rate representative.

Friday, November 8, 2019


DISCLAIMER:  SCESC Governing Board President Mary Olson is this blogger's spouse.

Up in arms! is the only way to describe the discussion last night at the regular monthly meeting of the Stark County Educational Service Center Governing Board.  Stark County state Representative Scott Oelslager (Republican, OHse 48) was the main target of the outrage.

President Olson opened the consideration of legislation passed earlier this year whereby a provision was slipped into the omnibus two year State of Ohio Budget Bill which made it much easier for any dissatisfied group of parents to petition to transfer from one public school district to another.

Here is the entire resolution.

It is widely believe that Oelslager was behind the legislation on behalf of Hills & Dales which is one Stark County's wealthiest communities, reportedly, at the urging of resident W.R. Timken, Jr.

Timken, a former U.S. ambassador, is known as being part of the Timken family who brought the Timken Roller Bearing Axle Company to Canton from St Louis many years ago.

Prior to being changed this year, the school district transfer law had safeguards against communities like Hills & Dales  cherry picking their public school district.

Reportedly, the Hills & Dales initiative motivation is to help million dollar and up homeowners sell their properties. After all, who would want to buy a mega dollar home in a school district (Plain) that has a 43% cultural diversity rate.  Much better Jackson, with its marked monolithic cultural factor.

And, by the way, it appears that Oelslager, likely through an accommodating fellow legislator, acted primarily for wealthy Hills & Dales. At most 22 students would be affected.  It could be as low as 10 students as 12 of Hills & Dales' 22 students attend private schools.

Trouble is that in Oelslager's, via a surrogate, secretive rush to aid Hills & Dales, he may have unthinkingly (giving him the benefit of a doubt) upset the "school transfer" protocol apple cart for the entire state of Ohio that could spell disaster for many of Ohio's urban school districts

Here is Mary Jo Shannon Slick (legal counsel for the SCESC) explaining to board member Barb Morgan (widow of former long time SCESC superintendent Larry Morgan) what the law "used to be."  Under that law (in 2003), Hills & Dales residents tried to separate from Plain but was stopped by standards in place.

Now with the 2019 Oelslager inspired (the SCPR's belief) change, no such standards exist. 

Accordingly, the Hills & Dales petition signers as listed below in filing a petition for removal from the Plain School District seemingly have a clear path that did not exist in 2003.

Here's Shannon-Slick expounding on the new law.

Next up, Board Member Jacqueline DeGarmo speaks up.

Members Miller, DeGarmo and Holmes lash out at Representative Oelslager.

The members of the Stark County Educational Service Center Governing Board votes to approve the Resolution.

Will the Resolution be effective to motivate some legislator (perhaps Reggie Stoltzfus [R, OHse 50th] or Kirk Schuring [R, Osen, 29th] to introduce and guide to passage a repeal of the Oelslager promoted Hills & Dales School Transfer law.