On March 03, 2008, primary election day, there were a number of significant vacancies on the Republican side of the ballot for countywide offices (non-judicial):
Stark County treasurer,
Stark County prosecutor, and
Stark County engineer.
Unbelievable, simply unbelievable! Current Stark GOP chairman Jeff Matthews has failed Stark voters as has his predecessor Curt Braden.
On March 31, 2009, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) received a tip that Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler had fired his chief deputy Vince Frustaci was fired amidst allegations of theft from the treasurer's office.
So the days of March 03, 2008 (primary election day - no Republican candidate for treasurer), November 04, 2008 (as an alternative no independent or write-in candidate for treasurer) and March 31, 2009 are days that signal major failures within Stark County political and governmental leadership.
An aspect of the Stark County treasurer office theft caper not discussed in the media so far (except in The Report) is the lack of leadership in the Stark County treasurer's office in terms of the lack of effective oversight and structure so as to have prevented the theft from taking place in the first place.
Another aspect of the Stark County treasurer office theft caper not discussed so far in the media is the role the Stark County Republican Party and its inability to provide political competition in the Stark County treasurer's race in 2008 played in enabling a lacakadaisical leadership attitude to set in within the Stark Treasury leadership and thereby helping to set up conditions for the theft to occur.
THE STARK GOP FAILURE
While Stark County treasurer bears prime responsibility for not having or not properly monitoring checks on Vince Frustaci, the Stark County Republican bears at least secondary responsibility in the sense of giving Zeigler a "free ride" to another term as treasurer.
Now Zeigler has 3-1/2 years to hope the voters forget his failure in leadership. Had the Stark Republicans.
Listen to the audio below as WHLO-AM (640 on the dial) talk show host and politically supportive of Matthews and Stark Republican candidates presses Stark Republican Party chairman on the question of why the Stark GOP is not competitive countywide in Stark County.
All yours truly hears from Matthews is an excuse.
Stark Republicans can't do any better than this guy?
The Report believes Treasurer Zeigler got way too comfortable somewhere along the way in his ten years as treasurer and lost touch with the day-to-day operations of the office. And, when he had no opposition at all in 2008, he had to be feeling especially relaxed.
But the Stark GOP failure to provide an alternative to Stark voters does not excuse Zeigler.
There had to be signposts along the way (that Zeigler apparently ignored or was oblivious to) that trouble was on the horizon.
First, we now know (and s "due diligence" Zeigler should have known) that he did not have adequate structural safeguards in place within the office and in relations with an area banking institution which housed county money.
Second, despite acting as if he barely knew Frustaci in a brief interview yours truly had with Zeigler; The Report believes that Zeigler and Frustaci had become political pals and Zeigler let down his guard which, when coupled with the structural deficiencies, presented a ripe opportunity for the alleged theft to occur.
Third, a source has told The Report that it was known (certainly Zeigler had to know) that Frustaci liked to play high stakes poker and go to Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort to gamble.
Talk about a red flag? Duh?
The Report has learned that Zeigler is working the Democratic office holding crowd to put out the word that "he is a good guy."
A good guy (in the personal sense) Treasurer Zeigler may well be. That is not the question.
The question is this:
How much money are Stark taxpayers going to be out because he did not adequately lead as Stark County treasurer?
The Report wonders whether or not the thought has ever crossed Zeigler's mind that perhaps he is not up to being treasurer?
Now listen to Stark Republican Party chair Jeff Matthews trying to explain the failure of the Stark GOP to provide political competition in Stark.