Monday, November 8, 2010


During the recent campaign in which Coons Restoration & Sealenat, Inc's chief of financial operations ran against Stark County Auditor Kim Perez, one of the themes of the Harold campaign was that a number of the Perez's employees were political appointees who, when hired, had little or no qualifications other than being registered Democrats who, impliedly, would be primarily about politically servicing Perez in his quest remain auditor.

Singled out in the buzz among Republican partisans were David Maley, Jimmy Babcock, Gary Zeigler II and Kevin Fisher and the like.

Now that Harold has been elected, one would think that the clearly politically connected among Perez's employees are thinking they had better find a new line of work.

The SCPR believes that newly elected Auditor Harold has particular political animosity for the Zeigler family.  In 2008, Harold was all set to run against then sitting Treasurer Gary Zeigler when at the last moment - sources tell the SCPR - Harold's employer at the time (Huntington Bank) told Harold that if the ran against Zeigler he would be fired.

Political buzz galore has been swirling around inside political circles as to why Huntington Bank pulled the rug out from underneath Harold.

One would think Harold, undoubtedly, has his own take on the scenario that unfolded which resulted in the Huntington - at its highest level - taking its stance.  The Report believes that Harold want not a part of some general company employment policy, but was singled out as a specific subject to be dealt with.

The SCPR has been critical of Harold for bending to pressure.  However, it is easy to be critical when one's livelihood is at stake.

So in one sense of what happened, it is nice to see that Harold resolved his "politically" insecure employment and connect with Steve Coons (who understands the rough and tumble of Stark County politics) and thereby be freed to pursue his political ambitions.

It is also more than a tad ironic that Treasurer Zeigler got into disfavor with Stark County voters when his chief deputy Vince Frustaci stole a couple of million dollars or so from the county treasurer.  The SCPR's read of the public on Zeigler is that the public understands  he had nothing whatsoever to do with the theft; however, Stark Countians believe he should have had a more secure treasury operation and had measures to prevent the theft or alternative caught it early on.


Yes, had Harold run against Zeigler in 2008, he likely would have lost.  As it is, Harold opted in 2009 to run for a spot on the Stark County Education Services Board which is a countywide race.  Harold lost to a lot less politically sophisticated candidates than Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler and, therefore, there is nothing to suggest he would have been successful against Zeigler in 2008.

But with the unfolding of what local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley has termed "Zeiglergate," the political landscape totally changed.

Even Auditor Kim Perez got caught up in it.  How so?  He revealed midst the investigation and the inquiring media that on a couple of occasions - during Frustaci's term at the county treasury - the books between the auditor's office and the treasury were not in balance:  a fact he report to the State of Ohio Auditor's office, but did nothing else about.

Did nothing else about?  Yes.  The SCPR believes as does Harold and others that Perez should have tried to obtain "original source bank statements" from FirstMerit Bank once the imbalance problem surface.

Moreover, Perez and former Treasurer Zeigler were personal and political friends.

So the irony is that the unelectable Harold (2008) became highly electable in 2010.  And did he get elected!  Nearly 57% to 43%.

There, of course, was one other key factor at play.  November, 2010 was the "Year of the Republican" across the nation, and particularly in Ohio and Stark County.

Republican Janet Creighton swept into office over sitting Commissioner Steve Meeks and, Republican Jackson Township Trustee Jamie Walters would have won too if independent candidate Stephen Todd had not been running in the "unexpired" two year term which also fielded Democrat Tom Bernabei.

Alliance's Alex Zumbar (a Republican) sailed by Democrat Ken Kohler in the treasurer's contest for two reasons:  the Year of the Republican and Zumbar was "acceptably" more politically connected that Koher.  Koher was sponsored by former Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., which certainly did not help him any.

Okay, Harold is elected, what's next?

The Stark County Political Report's concern is that Harold - like the man he defeated:  Kim Perez -  will one way or another politicize Republican the Stark County auditor's office.

The Report has written frequently that Harold appears to be a Republican "true believer."  He appears to absorb all the talking points of folks like Karl Rove, Kevin DeWine (Ohio Republican Party chair).  The SCPR finds that true believers have a very hard time bringing themselves to the realization that there are people in the opposite political party who can make good public servants.  Hence, the often give into surrounding themselves - at least in the inner circle surrounding them - political loyalists.

Accordingly, the SCPR will be excitedly amazed if the likes Maley, Babcock, Zeigler and Fisher continue employed at the auditor's office one year from now.  Also, The Report will be interested to see how many of the 40 plus employees of the 99 employee auditor workforce who contributed money to the Perez campaign are still working at the auditor's office in one year.

SCPR readers can depend on The Report to track Harold and how he deals with these folks.

The Report remembers to the big fuss raised when Perez ousted Republican Brant Luther from the auditor's post in a close election in

Local media was flush with reports about how Perez was going to clean out the nest of Republicans which Stark's organized Democrats were convinced Janet Creighton and her Republican predecessors had staffed the county office with.

Perez surprised all when he kept Pat Fallot (now Louisville mayor), a Republican stalwart, on.  But he did.  And lived to regret it.  For in 2006  Fallot turned on Perez by abruptly resigning and running against him.

Moral of the story to politicos?  You can't trust the "politically" committed to be loyal employees.

So clean house, one must - over time, of course, to make it appear not to be politically motivated, no?

Will Alan Harold be any different?

The SCPR believes not.

Moreover, The Report will be tracking Harold's action closely and persistently and making reports to the Stark County public.

That, readers of the SCPR can depend on!!!

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