How come it took this long?
Yes, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) has learned that "The Blame Game" has begun.
A Stark County based official has told The Report that Republican Mary Taylor (of nearby City of Green - Summit County) and Ohio's auditor has started pointing her finger at Stark County treasurer for not providing enough oversight of Vince Frustaci, Zeigler's chief deputy.
Mary Taylor is the only elected Republican holding statewide office in Columbus (except for the Ohio Supreme Court which is staffed by seven Republican justices - including, of course, the chief justice)
One of the things Taylor can and likely is doing (in the opinion of The Report). is using her office as a political weapon against Democrats (not in an exclusionary to Republican officeholders sense) both at local levels of government as as her office fans out across Ohio and at the state level. The Report suspects that a Democrat would do the same thing for the Democratic party. It is all part of the political game playing that goes on between elected Republicans and Democrats.
In this day and age, the general public is highly cynical of the motives of most "high powered" politicians of whichever political party.
So when it comes to government accountability, you and I are left to choose our political poison.
Who do you believe in a finger-pointing contest which is apparently underway in the Frustaci investigation?
On the one hand, Zeigler tries to pass off Frutaci as a person who qualified on his merits to be hired nine years ago. And this may be. But, The Report, being as knowledgeable of how politics works as yours truly is; is more than a tad skeptical of Zeigler protestations.
Even if the Frustaci hire was essentially a hiring as a consequence of his political connections, how does that make Zeigler responsible for what he alleged to have done - if the allegations are proven?
The argument that appeals to The Report is that relationships become so chummy and cozy because of the frequent outside-of-work political camaraderie environment contacts, that due diligence standards ("trust, but verify") get relaxed and a ripe opportunity for troubles comes into being.
Did this kind of relationship develop between Zeigler and Frustaci? Was Zeigler taken advantage of? Did he create the conditions to be taken advantage of?
The Report believes that Zeigler set himself up to be had by buying too much into "good ol boy political buddy" world.
If so, Zeigler will bear some, if not most, of the responsibility, if the Frustaci allegations are proven to be true.
On the other hand, The Report understands that Mary Taylor, the Ohio auditor, has been checking the Stark County books for a little over two years now (Taylor took office in January, 2007). And up to now, no problem. How come?
It was Stark County auditor Kim Perez and Zeigler himself who spotted the trouble with the account in question after being called by the county treasury's banker.
Because Democrats control Stark County, The Report believes that Republican Taylor has the standard added incentive political motivation (as described above) to ferret out Democratic wrongdoing. How did she miss this one?
The Columbus-centered Republican pols are not going to be happy with this screw-up, Mary!
The Stark County based-official referred to above, speculates that it is one of two things (sort of an "either/or" thinking model that people like to use in trying to make sense of a situation) that accounts for the Taylor failure to pick up on the missing money for the two years her office has been inspecting Stark County treasury's books.
One would be that somehow one of Taylor's subordinates was in on the whole scheme.
Hum? Not something The Report believes is the case.
The Report's source on the whole Frustaci saga hss all along been suggesting to The Report that a bank employee may have facilitated the missing money situation. Zeigler himself may have inadvertently given credibility to this possibility in telling The Report on Wednesday that there may be a federal aspect to this case because of the banking factor.
Were there three individuals in on the whole set up? For two years?
In 2009, The Report is shocked by very little. But if it turns out that the source's take is borne out; yours truly will be astonished.
The other source conjecture is that the Ohio auditor's operation is inept. At least on the Stark County watch.
Inept? What would such portend for the finances for the entire state of Ohio?
If the official is correct on either premise, doesn't Mary Taylor deserve blame just the same as Stark Countian Gary Zeigler?
If both are to blame, who is left to protect the public's interest?
THE ANSWER: No one. That's why Stark County is missing "a lot of money!"
When politics and/or political relationships enter the picture, then all safeguards get neutered. If one has an alarm, but the alarm gets disarmed; what good is the alarm in the first place?
And all that is left is? You've got it: FINGER-POINTING.