Nowadays it is understandable that every Stark County politician wants a piece of Gary Zeigler. Why would a candidate want to run on the issues when he has a Stark County political/officeholding persona non grata to target. In the case of Alan Harold, he wants credit for being the first Stark politico to ask Gary to resign.
Dare say that most Stark Countians (including yours truly) think that Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler "should" resign. And, on Monday, the SCPR is told, the Stark County commissioners will remove Zeigler from office.
However it is a bit of a curiosity and a strong irony that Republican Alan Harold running for county auditor against Democrat Kim Perez is focusing on Zeigler. Strongly ironic because Harold (see details below) was once slated to run against Zeigler (in 2008). In not getting his information right on Zeigler as to whether or not he MUST (capitalized for emphasis) resign under Ohio law, it might be said that he is running against himself.
Back on April 29, 2009, Stark County Republican (not then a candidate for auditor) Alan Harold wrote a letter to the editor of The Repository saying in effect that Ohio's law required that if former Chief Deputy was convicted of stealing from the Stark County treasury, then Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler "MUST" resign.
Well, here is the "official" law on the matter of the county treasurer and his longevity in office.
Does anyone see language in Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 321.38 that the treasurer "must" resign?
"May remove" is "must resign?" Hmm?
Should he resign? Of course! But he is not required to.
Why bring this up?
Because Alan Harold in a "comeuppance-esque way" wrote yours truly an e-mail yesterday saying in effect he was correct in saying that Zeigler "must" resign (back on April 29, 2009). Harold pointed to the following statements (ignoring ORC 321.38) by Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero and Attorney Craig Conley as validating his "must" argument.
''The state law is clear on that. It says the is responsible for the acts of their employees and that's why they are required to have bonds on themselves.''
Anyone see anything in Harold's proffered supports to corroborate Harold's contention of "must?"
Harold in the e-mail is upset that The Report said, in a blog shortly after his April 29 letter to the editor, that he was "light on the law" on contending that the law of Ohio is that Zeigler "must" resign.
"Light on the law" was being kind. The Report believes a better description would have been "wrong on the law; but correct on what Zeigler ought to do."
Harold's deficit legal analytical ability means that should he become county auditor, he needs to leave the lawyering to the Stark County prosecutor and to listen to and read what the prosecutor "actually" says.
Trying to be one's own lawyer, especially when one is the head of a major county department of government, is dangerous stuff.
So where are we "really" heading with this discussion?
While the SCPR has said in a previous blog that Stark County voters "should" seriously consider removing Stark County Auditor Kim Perez (because he could have done more to protect Stark County taxpayers in the Frustaci matter) from office in favor of Harold this November. However, with missives like the e-mail he sent to The Report yesterday; yours truly has growing reservations about Harold and his fitness to serve as county auditor.
Even in the face of his MBA in accounting from The Ohio State University, his banking experience (Huntington) and his comptroller employment at Steve Coon Restoration seemingly indicating excellent credentials to be Stark County auditor, the SCRP is becoming increasingly leery of Harold becoming auditor.
First of all, a number of sources say Harold caved into pressures from his employer at the time (Huntington Bank) not to run against Gary D. Zeigler back in 2008. Who, with a family to support, is positioned to fend off that kind of pressure?
But his yielding to Huntington does raise questions about his ability to act on what his heart tells him to do in the face of enormous pressure. Will it be "deja vu all over again" (a la Yogi Berra) if he gets pressured as Stark County auditor? Voter due diligence requires that voters factor in his ability to handle the heat of holding public office as a consideration of whether or not to vote for him.
Secondly, Harold seems to be a reasonable, articulate and intelligent guy who keeps his emotions in check, but is the appearance reality?
Back in July, 2009 at a John Boccieri rally at the Sunoco station on Tuscarawas west, he was in the thick of things of those holding up signs "Drill, Baby, Drill" and yelling at Boccieri as he attempted to hold a press conference.
As we all know, it is Harold's First Amendment U.S. Constitutional right to do the Boccieri rally thing.
So, why the concern?
Because this kind of activity might indicate a person who is a political party true believer that might carry his partisan fervor into his management of a government office.
The Report suspects that Harold is more into passionate partisan politics than most observers ascribe to him.
If Harold is elected, will his partisan passion mean a wholesale dismissal of the Perez-hired employees merely because they were hired by Democrat Perez and/or they are registered Democrats? Such is a question that Stark County voters should be mulling over in deciding between Perez and Harold.
Stark Countians, including the SCPR, want an end to this "politics as usual" ritual that occurs in the change of office from one political party to the other. Will Harold deliver?
Thirdly, his e-mail with yours truly over the "should" and "must" thing is, perhaps, an indication of a person who does not take kindly to being corrected. The Report is beginning to get a drift from Harold that he may be a "I'm always right" sort of guy.
How will this play in managing the many employees of the Stark County auditor's office? Will he defer to legal counsel on questions of law? Can he take any kind of counsel from others? Or will he take on an arrogant tone about himself and be accountable to nobody. More questions for Stark County voters, no?
Haven't Stark Countians had enough of the "I'm accountable to nobody" type of attitude emanating from all too many Stark County officeholders these days?
Right now the SCPR is leaning towards advocating that voters replace Perez with Harold in November.
But Alan Harold is doing his damnest to change The Report's lean!
Oh, one more thing.