Sunday, November 22, 2009



Michael Stevens, Lawrence Township trustee, that is "he" is.

The SCPR ascribes him as being the "Rodney Dangerfield of the Stark County Democratic Party now headed up by Randy Gonzalez.

How's that?

Nowadays Stevens gets "no respect" from the leadership of the Stark County Democratic Party.

Stevens would like to get the appointment to succeed Commissioner Tom Harmon when he resigns December 1st.

Well, he can forget it.

The Stark County Democratic Party leadership (Gonzalez and Maier, in the main) have decided that former Jackson trustee Steve Meeks is to get the appointment.  Meeks is close to Chairman Gonzalez (who is fiscal officer in Jackson).

Stevens is troublesome to Gonzalez and Maier because he does have the respect of  many people in the "unorganized" part of the Stark County Democrats.

Next to Congressman John Boccieri, Stevens is the darling of Stark County's organized labor.  In fact, his support among union members is likely the reason he got the party's appointment to succeed Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., when Maier quit the Legislature early to run for Massillon clerk of courts in the face of being term-limited out of the Ohio General Assembly.

So why did party matters go sour for Stevens?

Maier, who served as party chairman from 2003 through 2009, blames Stevens from running a "lackluster" campaign in 2000 against Republican John Hagan in the old 56th Ohio House district.

The SCPR thinks that is a bum rap.

Stevens ran a very competitive race losing by 1,023 in a total of over 50,000 votes cast.

Maier got lucky making it into the Legislature in the first place due to Republican "Red" Ash (a long term fixture representing the 56th - even though it was predominantly Democratic) falling out of favor with voters because of legal difficulties. 

By the time Stevens ran, the district had been gerrymandered by supermajority controlling Republicans (the Ohio General Assembly, governorship and all statewide offices) to be a largely rural conservative Republican district.

Maier had been able to survive for two reasons.  First, he is about as conservative as any Republican you might find (although in the opinion of the SCPR, he has no political philosophy; he's purely a party operative) and it is very difficult to defeat an incumbent; no matter what the voter registration is.

The SCPR believes that Maier has always held it against Stevens for losing "the Maier seat."

The first indications to Stevens that he was not a Maier "favorite," should have come with Stevens' running for county commissioner in 2004.

Initially, some disaffected  Democrats put Frank Ferraro of Perry Township up against Maier "best friend" and now former county commissioner Gayle Jackson.

Did Maier and Jackson scream about the Ferraro candidacy?  You betcha!


Under Maier/Jackson pressure, he switches races and runs against Mike Stevens.

It is a credible that Maier and Jackson cajoling Ferraro over to the Stevens race was the difference in Stevens general election race against incumbent Republican commissioner Jane Vignos.

Another factor in the 2004 race, as Stevens tells it, was current Stark County Party chairman Randy Gonzalez furor at Stevens running for commissioner in the first place because this was to be Steve Meeks (then a Jackson trustee) race.

Is 2009 "get even" time for Gonzalez now that Harmon is vacating his commissioner seat?

Seems so.

There are more goodies involving Stevens and his abrasive relationship with the insider Democrat leadership.

In 2005 Plain Township trustees arranged with township Mark Cozy (now Canal Fulton city manager) for an "amicable" parting of the ways.

Stevens tells the SCPR he was surprised to get a telephone call  from Plain trustee Lou Giavasis asking him whether or not he was interested in the post.

Stevens was and interviewed with the trustees.  In the interview, the trustees asked Stevens if he intended to remain trustee if he was selected as administrator.  Stevens said he did.

This is where the story gets dicey.

Giavasis told yours truly a few months ago that Stevens was not selected because he refused to give up being trustee.

Stevens says he was never asked.

The SCPR believes Stevens because The Report thinks that interviewing Stevens was a charade.

What was really happening is that Stark County Democratic Party chairman (at the time) - according to Stevens - called Trustees Giavasis, Leno and Bossart to "ensure" that Stark County recorder Rick Campbell's wife-to-be (Lisa "Jackson"  [daughter of then Commissioner Gayle Jackson]) got a fair chance at being selected as administrator.

What a laugh!

Also, apparently, part of the ploy was the fact that Recorder Campbell called Louis Giavasis (as told to yours truly by Giavasis) and wondered if Lisa would be permitted to apply for the Plain administrator job.

Lias had started out working in the recorder's office and Ohio Ethics law prohibited her continue do so when she marries Campbell.

Another ho! ho! ho! is in order on the Campbell call, folks!

Can she apply?  Harumph, harumph, harumph!

As readers of the SCPR know, The Report has had positive things to say about Giavasis and his role in running what is probably the best fiscally run township in all of Stark County.

But this little story stinks to high heavens and Louis Giavasis is up to his eyeballs in it.

Giavasis likes to complain how Mayor Healy treated him when he applied for various positions in the Healy administration.


Hey, Louis.  Ever heard of "what goes around, comes around?"

There is one more Stevens story that shows the disrespect and outrage that the Democratic Party kingmakers have for any one (not just Stevens) who would upset the "best laid plans of mice and men."

Phil Giavasis (Louis' brother) decided he wanted to switch over from being clerk of courts of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas to being the Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts when Tom Harmon (seems like a familiar name?) retired.


Likely for the higher salary and concomitant retirement benefits at the Canton Municipal Court post.

Kind of sounds like the Oelslager/Schuring "musical chairs" game in the back and forth between the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives?

Giavasis to Harmon's position.  Harmon gets appointed county commissioner.

So Phil runs for the office and wins.

Well, Phil's win left the Stark County clerk of courts post vacant?

Not really.

Phil had determined that his protege Nancy Reinbold at the clerk's office and - lo and behold - wife of Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge Richard Reinbold (at the time) would be his heir.

Kind of sounds sort of like Steve Meeks wanting his wife Patty to be his successor as Jackson trustee when he went to "serve" Governor Strickland.

So Mike Stevens - who had not been clued in on the "set aside" for Nancy - goes and asks Phil about the opening.

The normally affable Phil turned red and expressed outrage that Stevens would want to get in the way of Nancy.  And, by the way, guess who is Nancy's current second-in-command?

You've got it!  None other than Louis Giavasis!!!

So there you have it folks.

Public jobs are not so public.

Party operatives like Maier, Campbell, Gayle Jackson, Shane Jackson, the Giavasis brothers, Prosecutor John Ferrero (a former chairman), Auditor Kim Perez (a wannabe chairman) and Sheriff Tim Swanson (trying to inherit Kim's brother Rick into being his successor as Stark County sheriff) take public jobs and hand them out to party insiders, friends and relatives (indirectly a la the Campbell/Jackson deal) and designted heirs.

Although yours truly believes Stark County is approaching a financial crisis, it is difficult to vote the county more money when you realize how some of the money has been and likely will continue to be used.

Unless and until the politicos make public jobs truly public, the Stark County voting public should be reluctant, indeed,  to vote in tax increases.

By the way, in Lawrence Township Mike Stevens is highly respected by everyday people.

They keep voting him in as trustee.

What do they know about Mike Stevens that Maier et al  don't seem to get?

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