Thursday, September 2, 2010



It appears that Stark Countians are ready to move on from Gary D. Zeigler being county treasurer.

Desirable as that may be, isn't it premature to do so? 

As everyone knows who has been keeping up on what local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley has termed as "Zeiglergate," though Zeigler lost his request to Geauga County Court of Common Pleas (retired) H.F. Inderlied (sitting by Supreme Court assignment) to enjoin the Stark County commissioners from removing Zeigler from office under Ohio Revised Code Section (ORC) 321.28; he has filed an appeal of that decision to Ohio's 5th District Court of Appeals which sits in Canton.

And there are a number of Stark County legal minds who think Zeigler will win in the end and may be eligible to return to office.

The SCPR has learned that Zeigler's attorneys on their "docketing statement" asked for "accelerated" status for a Court of Appeals decision on their appeal.  If the case does proceed on an accelerated basis, according to the SCPR's reading of the Court rule, it seems plausible that the Court will have made a decision prior to the November 2nd election date.

However, the commissioners' attorney can object and get the matter set over to the regular docket and then there seems to be no chance for a pre-November 2nd hearing.

Here is the rule:
(B) Accelerated Calendar.   Pursuant to App.R 11.1, this Court has adopted an accelerated calendar.  The Court shall determine from the docketing statement whether the appeal will be assigned to the accelerated or regular calendar.   If the appeal is assigned to the accelerated calendar, oral arguments shall not be scheduled and the matter will be determined upon submission of all briefs.

    If appellee or cross-appellee objects to the assignment of the appeal to the accelerated calendar, appellee or corss-appellee may file and objection with this Court within thirty days of the filing of the docketing statement and the case shall be assigned to the regular calendar.
(Adopted effective September 30, 1995; amended effective May 1, 1997; amended effective January 1, 2008)

So what happens if he does get Judge Inderlied reversed and the reversal occurs before the election?

That folks is a $64 million question! (adjust upwards from the original $64,000 to account for inflation)

But there is sort of an answer.



Answer:  Stark County will have more of a "mess" on its hand than existed when Zeigler was in place.

We (Stark Countians) already have a mess on our hands because of the screwy way Ohio's laws are in terms of succession when a removal from office occurs.

"... may ... appoint some person to fill the vacancy created. ... "

The commissioners did appoint Republican Jamie Allbritan to succeed Zeigler.

Initially, Allbritan has said she was not interested in running for the office.  All of a sudden she has apparently had an epiphany and now is going to run for the office in the November 2nd election.

That's because the commissioners' appointment is only for a matter of days.  Kind of a "have somebody" in charge appointment.  The Allbritan

  • appointment was made on August 23rd, 
but she

  • can't take office until Friday, September 3rd 
because the county had to secure a bond for her.  And she will be 

  • out of office on September 8th 
UNLESS (who believes this will happen - especially because she has made a political issue out of her interim status by first saying she is running in November) Democrats confirm her as interim treasurer.

On September 7th, Stark's organized Democrats are going to meet at Mayfield Center to select both an interim appointee treasurer and a person to seek the office.  This could mean two different persons, but don't count on that happening.

The SCPR has learned that E.E. (EJ) Wise, Jr., (EJ) is to be the likely choice of Democrats as both the interim and "run for office" nominee of the Stark County Democrats.

On September 8th, Stark's organized Republicans are going to meet at Malone University (the Johnson Center) to select ONLY a person to seek the office.

The list:  (from an Alliance Review report of today)

So EJ will move in on September 8th or shortly thereafter with Allbritan working for him while she is running against him.

Wise was recently demoted from being the chief administrator at North Canton.  Previously, the SCPR has written that Mayor David Held (a Republican) who appointed Wise chief administrator in the first place had read "the handwriting on the wall" that North Canton Council wanted Wise to be gone and once the Conley's Zeiglergate broke, was out lobbying his Democratic friends to put Wise in Zeigler's place once Zeigler resigned.

There were two problems with Held's quest.  

First, Gary Zeigler was going nowhere on a voluntary basis.

Second, the Stark Democratic Democratic hierarchy was not interested in Wise (a former Stark County prosecutor) because he has lost every election he has been involved in and he is not viewed as a staunch enough Democrat (e.g. he is working for a Republican mayor).

But times have changed.

Now the Dems' leaders are interested in Wise.


The five who have been publicized in the media as seeking the Democratic nod are "no-names" in the political sense of defining no-names.

And why is Wise interested?

He can see the hand writing on the wall too at North Canton.  What does he have to lose?

Looking at the Republican list, note one politically well-known and connected name:  Alexander Zumbar.  Interesting.  He is the Finance Director for North Canton.  Hmm?

Could we be looking at a Wise (North Canton administration) versus Zumbar (North Canton administration) come November 2nd rather than Wise v. Allbritain?

Back to the idea of Zeigler returning.

One of the reasons organized Democrats and Republicans are scrambling to find someone to run to succeed Zeigler is that possibility that Zeigler himself could be returning to office.

The SCPR believes that if Zeigler does succeed on his appeal (which may ultimately be decided by the Ohio Supreme Court), he could be coming back.

As things stand now, they are a real mess.

If Gary Zeigler wins in the courts, they will be even messier!!!

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