Wednesday, June 16, 2010
TREASURER GARY ZEIGLER REPORTEDLY HAS MADE 14 CHANGES IN HIS OFFICE SINCE "THE AUDIT." ISN'T IT LIKELY THAT STARK COUNTY VOTERS WILL WANT TO MAKE A 15TH CHANGE COME NOVEMBER OF 2012?
Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler is probably just hoping against hope to ride out the political storm in process over his firing of his chief deputy Vince Frustaci in April, 2009 amid allegations by Zeigler that Frustaci had stolen from the Stark treasury.
Many Stark Countians are really, really mad that taxpayer money is missing from the treasury. This comes at a time that Stark County is facing its largest financial crisis in history (except, maybe, during The Great Depression).
Zeigler says he did what he was charged by law to do in order to avert any theft and once it occurred, he did what he was charged by law to do in reporting the alleged theft.
Zeigler can say what he says, but the bottom line is that Stark County voters will have the final say in terms of how they think he managed the Stark treasury when it comes to his expected bid for re-election come November, 2010.
The SCPR is going out on a limb over two years out from the election and making a prediction. Even though more than two years remain in Zeigler's current term (remember he ran unopposed thanks to the cowardly Republican Alan Harold - now running for auditor), Stark County voters will not have forgotten the treasury's troubles in November, 2012 and they will hold Zeigler accountable.
Stark Countians are being insulted again by the combo of the State of Ohio Auditor's office and Zeigler's office. Several weeks back, it became known that the Auditor and the Stark treasury had reached an accord in what is called "a letter of arrangement" as to Stark County's responsibility to pick up the tab for the cost of a forensic audit in light of the alleged theft.
But nobody in Stark County knew about it because the Auditor suggested to Zeigler, who on advice of his treasury office legal counsel, accepted the suggestion that Zeigler not keep a copy of the letter so as not to make it a public record. For its part, the Auditor's office claim immunity from the letter's discovery because it was part of an ongoing investigation.
Today we learn in a Repository piece by Kelli Young (Stark treasurer receives state report on special audit) that the Ohio Auditor and Zeigler are claiming confidentiality in revealing the contents of the report which specifically states how much money is missing from the Stark treasury.
The SCPR has this question to ask of Auditor Mary Taylor and Treasurer Zeigler: Do we live in a Democracy or not?
Are the American and Stark County people entitled to know about the content of their government operations or not?
Taylor is up for election this year as the running mate of John Kasich as the Republican lieutenant governor candidate. Hmm? Election of a person who withholds information of government operations from the voting public?
Voters should pause for thought before voting for a Kasich/Taylor ticket. Not fair to Kasich? You bet. But he can always remove her from the ticket. The way she runs the auditor's office is not as a small "d"emocrat.
Zeigler can point to Taylor's auditor operation all he wants to as a reason for his withholding information that the public ought to have. But as he demonstrated in the "letter of arrangement" situation, he had the right (according to the state Auditor) to release the information. Under public pressure, he eventually did so. Are we in for a deja vu, all over again Yogi Berra-esque maneuver?
Young in another piece entitled Stark treasurer makes changes in wake of investigation (June 14), describes 14 changes made in the procedures of the Stark treasury.
The question that these changes leaves the SCPR with is this: Is there a 15th change coming?
The answer: Likely, yes. But it will be a while before that change is coming. And, the 15th change will not be one that Treasurer Zeigler effects.
It will be done by the voters of Stark County!