Sunday, April 6, 2008

DISCUSSION POINT: Has Sheriff Swanson jeopardized his re-election by announcing his retire/rehire plan?

Not long ago Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson announced his plan to retire IF he gets re-elected in November prior to taking office under the newly elected term so that he starts getting his pension benefits under his public retirement plan.

This is a de facto retire/rehire scheme. Similar arrangements have caused a furor with taxpayers voting on local school district levies. Many taxpayers complain about top level administrators (e.g. superintendents of local school districts) retiring on the understanding that the boards of education will rehire them. The objections are two-fold. First, the rehire is not competitive. Second, some taxpayers question whether or not the boards are getting enough financial benefit for taxpayers on the rehire.

The Stark County Political Report does not think the the Swanson plan is directly comparable to the school retire/rehire situation .

Swanson has reported his plan in advance to Stark County voters as required by Ohio law. Being on notice, the Stark County electorate via the vote has the power to stop Swanson's plan. Voters are clearly within their rights to say to the sheriff: "No, we are going to allow you to do this," by not re-electing Swanson.

If Stark Countians do not want Swanson to continue in office, shouldn't there be job performance reasons and not merely his desire to take retirement benefits after he knows he has been re-elected?

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