Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Nobody but nobody is more pleased with the defeat of Stark County Auditor Kim Perez than Bethlehem community activist Tom Marcelli.

For a number of years Marcelli has been dogging Perez about Perez's handling of the auditor office.  He even flirted with the idea of running as an independent against the auditor.  But, in the end, he left it up to Alan Harold.  Undoubtedly, Marcelli was beating the bushes for Harold as he and local attorney and citizen activist Craig T. Conley did for the "Vote No Increased Taxes Committee" effort to collect enough signatures to put the county commissioner "imposed" sales tax repeal on the ballot in November, 2009.

And Marcelli, Conley and friends did not rest on their laurels in getting the measure on the ballot.  They spearheaded a highly successful effort to defeat retention of the tax in the 2009 general election.

They continue to reap rewards for their effort.  Victims of the Marcelli/Conley political juggernaut include Gary D. Zeigler (the former Stark County treasurer), Todd Bosley (a sitting commissioner who lost in the 50th Ohio House race last night) and Perez.

With the election of Alan Harold, Stark Countians can count on a significant drop off of the 99 employees currently on the county auditor's payroll come Harold assuming the office in March, 2011.  Anything short of a sharp reduction in the auditor workforce would mean that Harold's rhetorical commitment to sharply effective and efficient county government would be just that:  "rhetoric."

During the campaign Harold trotted out a report done by Republican State of Auditor Mary Taylor (now lieutenant-governor elect) on a peer group review showing that the Stark County auditor office to be highly inefficient in terms of the number of personnel.  Now Harold owns the report and must make dramatic cuts to square up with his contention that Perez runs an inefficient office.  Otherwise, voters are likely to take him as a politician who will say anything to get elected.

Commissioner-elect and Democrat Tom Bernabei (who will take office on or before November 23rd, whenever he is certified by the Board of Elections as having been officially elected) during the campaign said that it is impossible for Stark County to survive on $35 million in annual revenue that will be the reality if a 2011 "up for renewal" 0.25 sales tax is allowed to expire.

A question.  Can he convince the newly elected commissioner Republican Janet Creighton and/or sitting commissioner Pete Ferguson to go forward with a renewal effort or to come up with an alternative (i.e. a term-certain sales tax specific to Stark's criminal justice system)?

And if commissioners do decide to support a tax initiative, will Marcelli, Conley et al regenerate the Vote No Increased Taxes group in an attempt to defeat it.  What would be Harold's position?  Alex Zumbar's position? (a Republican elected as treasurer last night) 

Republicans have made a fetish out of doing more with less.  Now that the Republicans have gained a foothold in county government, the Stark County voting public need to hold their feet to the fire.

If the Republicans can implement their rhetoric, then their election will have been a good thing towards the restoration of public confidence and trust in local government.

All Stark Countians should wish the Republicans well on their quest. 

It is good that political competition has been injected into the Stark County non-judicial political/government structure.

If the same can happen in the City of Canton and City of Massillon, those communities can hugely benefit!!!

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