Wednesday, June 30, 2010

PROSECUTOR FERRERO HAS UNTIL JULY 6TH AT 4:30 PM TO FILE A CIVIL SUIT AGAINST STARK CO TREASURER GARY ZEIGLER TO RECOVER MISSING FUNDS NOT COVERED BY BONDS, INSURANCE OR OTHER SOURCES. IF FERRERO DOES NOT ACT, ATTY CRAIG T. CONLEY (FOR CLIENT TOM MARCELLI) SAYS HE WILL!





 THE LATEST
This paragraph is in a letter from Attorney Craig T. Conley to Civil Prosecutor Deborah Dawson sent late Wednesday.

Dawson, being directed by Stark County Prosecutor John Fererro to do so, had written Conley in response to Conley's letter to Ferrero earlier in the day (see Conley first letter below).

Here is an excerpt of Dawson's letter wherein she says that the Marcelli/Conley request is not refused, but that it would be imprudent to proceed now inasmuch as the amount of deficiency after bonds, insurance and other sources have been tapped into is not known.



THE BACKGROND

Attorney Craig T. Conley has written Stark County Prosecutor John Dee Ferrero on behalf of his client Thomas Marcelli (a Stark County taxpayer and property owner) asking Ferrero to take action in Marcelli's name for the benefit of all Stark Countians to recover missing funds, not covered by bonds, insurances and other resources, against Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler on the matter of former Stark County Chief Deputy Vince Frustacil having plead guilty in federal court to having taken about $2.46 million in county funds. 

A copy of Conley's entire letter is included at the end of this blog.

The SCPR applauds Marcelli for enlisting Conley's assistance to get the ball rolling on this matter.  Stark County commissioner candidate (full term) Janet Creighton, months ago, advocated to yours truly that Zeigler be held accountable by county officials when the missing amount became known.

Conley's letter is a prelude to the possibility that Conley will be the attorney who litigates the case.  Ohio law requires that the prosecutor get the first opportunity.   However, Conley tells The Report, if Ferrero does not act within 30 days, then he is empowered to file the claim with Marcelli being  as an ex rel. case.

Conley says he relishes have the opportunity to proceed.  Moreover, he points out that it is important for any civil suits to be filed now so as to put Stark County interests ahead - in terms of priority - of and bondholders who are awaiting sentencing (of former Chief Deputy Deputy Vince Frustaci, who has pleaded  and payment on any bonds that may be payable to Stark County

At Wednesday's regular Stark County commissioners' meeting SCPR asked the commissioners for their reaction to the Conley letter.  Here is the video of their responses.

Here is a copy of Conley's first letter:

SNITCHLER: A SINGLE ISSUE CANDIDATE?


It is looking more and more like Ohio Representative Todd Snitchler (Republican - Lake Township) is going to pretty much be a "one-issue-candidate."  Is he putting all his eggs into a one basket containing only one kind of eggs?

What is the issue?

Performance audits!

Although Democrats are hard pressed to find a reason why they would oppose such an apparently politically benign idea (who can be against government efficiency); you can bet that Snitchler's Democratic opponent (Stark County Commissioner Todd Bosley of Marlboro Township) will try.

Why?

Because it is basically a Republican initiative.

Though Republicans deny it, the idea is the focal point of many Ohio Republican candidates and practically no Democrats have embraced performance audits as a "be all" of their campaigns.

At Navarre's tea party on Sunday last, tea partiers heard, perhaps, the foremost advocate for performance audits in all of Ohio in Representative Snitchler.  He spent nearly all of his speaking time at Navarre talking about his House Bill 65 which he introduced in March, 2009 and which has only had one hearing to date.  So it is a long, long way from passage.

Don't look for House Speaker Armond Budish, who personally persuaded Snitchler opponent Bosley to take the first term incumbent on, to allow Snitchler's legislative pet project see the light of day.

The SCPR has learned that Bosley has in hand a recent poll that shows him with a healthy lead with very few voters in the "undecided" category.  Such a small number of undecideds four months out from the election is unusual for a race at this level.  That is what makes these races like these for the likes of The Report to call.

And the SCPR is not about to call this one.

The Report is convinced that this race will be every bit the equivalent of the Bosley/Regula contest for Stark County commissioner in 2006 in which Bosley came from nowhere to defeat the incumbent Richard Regula.

The question for the SCPR is this.  Can Bosley do it again?

Maybe.

Snitchler is in the unhappy position of being a minority party candidate and as evidenced in the tea party speech video presented at the end of this blog, he is totally frustrated at Budish's blocking of his HB 65.


Perhaps Snitchler ought to issue a challenge to Bosley to call on Budish to let the bill get an up or down vote?

Here is a SCPR video of Snitchler's entire speech made to the Navarre tea partiers.

.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

JUNE 28TH: NORTH CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSING CHRISTMAS BONUSES, ERR, "LONGEVITY PAYMENTS."


Because citizen activist Chuck Osborne (a former Noth Canton city councilman) has been digging, a "new" surprising revelation was in the offing at North Canton City Council last night.

As everybody knows, North Canton is facing a $231,000 deficit in FY 2011.  Well, almost half that deficit is attributable to "Christmas bonuses" (officially:  longevity payments).  For 2010, the amount is $102,550.00.  Couple with that the $64,258.68 for a performance audit and you have just about eliminated the 2011 deficit.

And the deficit is a huge concern to the employees of North Canton government.  Because, as Council president Daryl Revoldt said at Monday meeting that the deficit will be made up and it will have to be cured on the backs of city workers.  Of course, if there are less employees, the spin off to the taxpayers of North Canton, will be less in city services.

One more note on the Revoldt comments.  Undoubtedly, he will deny this as an intent of this comments.  However, the SCPR believes that the comments were shot across the bow of North Canton's unions.

In effect, The Report's take on the comments is this (in The Report's words. not Revoldt's):  "Okay, unions you have had your day with organized labor's having successfully lobbied to having fact-finders and conciliators appointed who are biased in the unions' direction. but now economic and financial reality are taking hold, and we (North Canton) as a city government will fulfill our obligation to balance the city budget.  Unfortunately, this is going to mean a decline a the number of union jobs in North Canton."

Confirmation of union apparent control of the State Employment Relations Board in contained in a comment to The Repository's Ed Pritchard's coverage of last night's North Canton Council meeting, which, The Report, believes is the work of Robert Tscholl who is labor relations legal counsel for North Canton, to wit:
Mr. Osborne doesn't understand the CBA process in the Public sector. Neutrals appointed by The State Employment Relations Board make the decisions regarding wages and benefits for police and EMS , not City Council. These Neutrals are very pro employee, that is how they receive these appointments. Mr. Osborne should be complaining to his State lawmaker about the process. Public sector wages and benefits have increased by 200% to 300% since the Statute was passed in 1984. Council does not control their destiny for the most expensive item on the budget.


And the 2011 projected North Canton deficit is nothing compared to the coming deficit in 2012.

The SCPR has learned that the current projects of about $1 million are way too low.  The $1 million number does not take into account that:
  • a new roof is needed for city hall.
  • a new roof is needed for the North Canton civic/community cienter.
  • the cost of cleanup/fines for the city's illegal dumping of street sweepings on city owned property in Jackson Township which The Report understands to have been determined by the Army Corp of Engineers to be "wetlands."
ON THE CITY PERFORMANCE AUDIT

To be fair about the performance audit cost part of the deficit, one should ask:  how much has implementation of the performance audit recommendations saved "the Dogwood City?"
Mayor David Held had the following response.

The issue of the cost of longevity payments looks like the following as expressed in a letter issued by North Canton Finance Director Alex Zumbar:
It appears to the SCPR that North Canton Councilpersons are listening more and more to the likes of Citizens Osborne and George Daniluk who both addressed Council last evening.

In the opinion of the SCPR, North Canton government is making real progress in becoming more attentive to the concerns of its citizens.  This is the way governments gain the confidence of it citizenry who then are more of a mood to heed calls to support government financially.  Citizen willingness was demonstrated by the passage of two small levies in May of this year.

Here are couple samplings.  See Councilman Peters and Davies addressing the the longevity pay issues and union contracts (Davies also deals with Osborne's claim that there has been a huge increase in Council's unwarranted use of executive session) in the following video.



KUDOS TO CANTON BOE MEMBER ERIC RESNICK: RETIRE/REHIRE LOCAL GOVERNMENT POLICY DESERVES A FULL VETTING

It used to be in America that when a policy controversy surfaced, the proponents and opponents on any particular matter would do their homework and come to the public forums throughout the land and "have it out."

Not so much anymore.

Go to any Stark County local government meeting, by and large, they are sparsely attended by the public.  And some really important issues are being considered and decided by public officials in near anonymity.

What happens all too often is that the policy decisions made are not thoroughly thought out and then when the practical ramifications of those decisions come to the fore on implementation; then a huge community uproar is likely to surface.

Retire/rehire is one of the issues that has been thusly decided.  The most prominent forum these days is with public school officials, but in actuality the true forum is all of Ohio and Buckeye State government employees in the context of its public retirement systems.

The real guilty entity - in terms of not having fully and completely vetting retire/rehire policy - is the Ohio General Assembly.

With the disclosure last evening that Canton Board of Education (CBOE) member Eric Resnick (newly elected last November) is putting together a retire/rehire policy for the BOE is great news for the Stark County education community.

Hopefully, the CBOE policy will be put through a wringer washer and will serve as a template for other Stark County school districts as well as districts across Ohio to adopt.

A commenter on The Repository's coverage of the CBOE meeting (Canton Board of Education to adopt double dipping policy, Melissa Griffy Seeton, June 28, 2010) has this terrific observation (quoted here, in-part):
(rino333) RE: Mr. Milligan comment, In the long term, (the retirement system) cannot afford to pay the kinds of dollars that allow them to retire at early ages and be rehired, said Rich Milligan, Canton board member. But you can hardly blame people for doing what the law encourages them to do.
Mr. Milligan, one of two things is going on here. You don't understand how the retirement system works, or I'm grossly uninformed on how it works. (Maybe a little of both) ... .
Rino333 is right on the mark as far as the fiscal/financial mechanics of Ohio public retirement is concerned.

Many, if not most, Stark County board of education members (for instance) do not understand the public retirement scheme of things in Ohio.  Rino333's piece is an excellent thumbnail sketch for board members to get a quick take on how Ohio public retirement works.

However, Rino333 does not appear to understand that the "real" issues with retire/rehire in Ohio is not the fiscal and financial underpinnings.

It is a threefold controversy:
  • There is a public perception that the retire/rehire process is an "inside" deal in which the retiree (exemplified by retiring school superintendents) has cultivated a close political relationship with board members to facilitate their rehiring (without meaningful outside competition).
  • Next, the deal struck with the rehired retiree is not an "arms length" bargaining process.  For the most part, the retirees are hired at their former salary.  Although there is some relief for the taxpaying public on some fringe benefit issues, not enough is being done on the salary front itself.  It should be no higher than 60% of the former salary.
  • Finally, retire/rehire has the effect (conceded by rino333) to keep an infusion of "new blood" out of local government leadership.
Resnick, Rino333 and Melissa Griffy Seeton are to be commended for their work on this very important public issue.

The SCPR believes that as a consequence of the work of the three named above and The Report, the issue is about to get the complete and full public debate that the retire/rehire issue should have.

Monday, June 28, 2010

VIDEO: ALAN HAROLD SPEECH AT NAVARRE TEA PARTY: AS A POLITICAL NOVICE CAN HE BEST THE POLITICALLY WILEY KIM PEREZ IN THE COUNTY AUDITOR RACE?




 UPDATE - CORRECTION 06/28/2010 AT 4:00 PM

Candidate Harold telephoned the SCPR and pointed out that The Report erroneously wrote that he is an accountant.

Harold is an accountant with a degree in financing from Mount Union College and an MBA from The Ohio State University.

The base blog has been revised to incorporate the correction.

ORIGINAL BLOG (as revised)

By all accounts, Alan Harold is a class act.

But, it appears, as a politician, he is an outright greenhorn.

He did run as a candidate for the Stark County Educational Service Center Board last November.  And he made a very credible showing. in running for the Stark County Educational Service Center Board in November, 2009.  He lost narrowly to former Perry Township trustee Jim Holmes.


Yesterday, Harold, running to become county auditor, spoke at the Navarre Tea Party along with fellow Republicans James N. Walters (for commissioner), Todd Snitchler (for Ohio House 50th) and Jim Renacci (for the U.S. House - 16th).

The SCPR gives Alan Harold a D on his presentation.

Each candidate was allocated a time period of from 15 to 30 minutes.  None got anywhere near the allocation.  Moreover, Alan Harold was the shortest of all.

Maybe he thinks he is going to ride the troubles at the Stark treasurer's office to victory in his run against incumbent Kim Perez (Democrat).  If he does, then his political naivete is showing through in spades.

Harold's opponent, Kim Perez, is not getting all that much flack from area media types.  Only Pat DeLuca of the DeLuca show on Q92 is calling for Perez's resignation.  And, perhaps, DeLuca has it right.

The SCPR has learned that somewhere along the line Perez made a call to Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor's office telling them that they had a problem at the Stark treasury.

The question that Harold should have raised in Navarre yesterday is this:  if Perez knew there was a problem, why did he take the Treasurer's submission of supporting documentation (i.e. bank statements) at face value.  Apparently, Perez knew that the numbers coming out of the treasurer's office were not meshing.

What Perez should have done was to gather up Zeigler and Frustaci and go with them to the bank and have them direct bank officials to provide exact replicas of the bank statements sent out from the bank.
But he did not.

Such is an articulated basis on which to ask Perez to resign.

Yesterday, Harold spent very little time on Perez, the man he wants to replace.  He talked on and on and on about Zeigler and other county officials.  But minimally about Perez.

Harold is an accountant and did highlight that credential as well as some other biographical details.

He did not identify Perez's faults as auditor.  Nor did he say what should have been done differently at the auditor's office over Perez's tenure to have aided in catching the theft earlier.  

Alan Harold did not distinguish himself yesterday.

The only reasons the SCPR heard as to why Stark Countians should vote for him is:
  • he's an accountant.
  • Kim Perez a part of a gaggle of Democrats who are collectively responsible for what happened at the Stark treasury.
  • He works for Steve Coons (a well known local restorer of old buildings)
Harold has a lot of work to do in becoming a more complete candidate.  For starters he needs to spell out Perez's specific failures and then articulate the corrective action he will implement. 

Then he needs get off the R & D stuff.  The voting public just wants good public servants.  They do not care that much about political party affiliation.

The Report believes that notwithstanding the obvious problems that Democrats have running countywide with the revelations about Frustaci's time at the Stark treasury, Perez will be tough for Harold to defeat.  Perez historically has been the very best vote getter for Democrats in countywide races.

The Report believes that were the election held today, Perez would defeat Harold.

But there is time for Harold to take advantage of Perez's vulnerableness.  Getting a D in this SCPR evaluation should be a wake up call for Mr. Accountant.  If it doesn't get heeded, then Harold will be doing the would have, should have, might have routine come November 2, 2010.

Here is the video of Harold at the Navarre Tea Party event:

VIDEO - JAMES N. WALTERS: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONER. AT NAVARRE TEA PARTY EVENT HE HAD 15 TO 30 MINUTES TO GET HIS MESSAGE OUT. HOW DID HE DO?


Republican Jackson Township Trustee James N. Walters (running for the unexpired Stark County commissioner term ending 12/31/2012)  had a terrific opportunity to wow 'em at Navarre on Sunday afternoon, but he did not.

The SCPR gives him a B -.

The good news is that he has time to improve.  And improve he must, if he is to defeat the veteran and crafty Democrat Tom Bernabei who served as law director, city councilman, services director and chief of staff in Canton government over many years.

Here is the SCPR specific analysis of Walters' speech.

His tie-in of the warm weather (90 degrees, 92% humidity) to the joking threat to keep the crowd listening to him for 45/50 minutes was a good ice-breaker.  He put the teabaggers in a good mood to hear his substance.

Walters' testament for democracy in action was also an effective way to connect with those assembled.  They were at the Navarre Tea Party to vent their frustrations with how government is not working for them.  Walters in using this technique, in effect, was impliedly promising to listen to them and to prescribe remedies.

But did he deliver?

The Report says yes and no.

Unimpressive was his first reason for running for county commissioner.  Reason?  "The answer is pretty simple, nobody else was stepping up to do it."

Really?  How about Dean Windham?  How about Janet Creighton.

Initially, Walters was set to run for the full term against sitting Commissioner Todd Bosley.  However, the Ohio Democratic House Caucus discovered (through polling) that Bosley would be a formidable candidate against Republican Todd Snitchler in Ohio's 50th Ohio House district.  Exit Bosley, enter Steve Meeks (who had been appointed to fill out Harmon's term ending 12/31/2012) and then enter Republican Janet Creighton which meant Walters and Windham got shunted off to the unexpired term race.

"Nobody was stepping up to do it."  Hmm?

With his second reason, Walters gets more credible.  "County government is a mess," he says.   The SCPR agrees with Walters.

How so?  The county treasury problem with the Frustaci theft.  The county's financial problem with the failure of the retention of the imposed 0.50 of a percent sales/use tax imposed by Commissioners Bosley, Vignos and Harmon in December, 200i8.

At least one of the sitting commissioners believes that the 0.25 of a percent sales/use tax coming up for renewal in November will certainly fail.

So what does Walters spend all of his time talking about.  The county treasury problem.  And, he doesn't quite get his number correct.  The amount stolen was not $3 millon, but more like $2.5 million.

Why does the SCPR make a deal out of a half a million dollars?

Because on Walters' website he makes a big deal out of restoring trust to county government.  And he is right.  Trust in all levels of government in this country is down to all time lows.  Accordingly, in a understatement/understatement political environment, it is important that a would-be restorer of trust be "right-on-the-money" when citing figures.

It is more impressive to say $3 million.  But $3 million is a incorrect figure.  The SCPR repeats, the pathway to restoring trust is what public officials say (remember Walters is a public official - Jackson Township trustee) is for them to say what they have to say with precision.  No embellishing.

Months ago, Walters' thing was the imposed sales/use tax.

Apparently, since Tom Bernabei (who had no part in the imposition) is his opponent and not Todd Bosley, Walters' has lost his interest in making the point that the only way taxes should be increased at the county level of government ought "always" be by a vote of the people. 

He missed a golden opportunity to make that very important point in Navarre yesterday.

A compelling argument made by Walters yesterday is that the 2010 election does afford voters with the opportunity to make a significant change in the way county government is run.  However, he sidesteps the reality that there will be a significant change in the Walters/Bernabei match up, whomever, is elected.
The SCPR believes that Janet Creighton will be elected to the full term commissioner position.  So either Walters/Creighton or Bernbei/Creighton as the new commissioners will be a significant change.  The SCPR believes the change will be the latter rather than the former.  Obviously, not something Walters wants to touch upon.

Undoubtedly, Alan Harold (the Republican county auditor candidate) appreciates the time Walters spent plugging his candidacy.  But Walters' exclusive focus needs to be on getting whom elected?  Oh yes, James N. Walters.

If Walters wins, it will be a headliner.  His chances of winning diminish to the some degree when he spends his time in an uphill battle off his own race and on other candidates. 

Then Walters goes off the trust track again.  In his straying off course onto the auditor's race, he talks about Republicans and Democrats in suggesting that Stark County Auditor Kim Perez was remiss on the Stark treasury situation because Perez and Zeigler are fellow Democrats.

So The Report asks this question.  Does Walters see Republican officeholders as the good guys and Democrat officeholders as the bad guys?  Is that the message?

In today's we (the voters) do not trust either party political climate, will they trust n candidate who harps on the Republican/Democrat thing?

Having made the Perez/Zeigler/Democrat connection, the SCPR is very suspicious of Walters' statement  that he is a Conservative first and then a Republican.  Did he say that at the Ohio Young Republcans convention breakfast earlier in the day?  Hmm?

Then we get the I'm an lifelong NRA member, a board member for the Right-to-life.  All well and good, but what relevance do these factors have in being Stark County commissioners.  May be that
`Walters is doing a little "demagoging?"  Think maybe?  Let's see demagoging, now that's a trust building political technique, isn't it?

Walters really gets going to the heart of the matter when he talks about being a Jackson trustee and about how they have been doing things in Jackson that ought to be done at the county level.

And he makes the further interesting point that one of the things they have done in Jackson is to make it a more efficient government.  "Saved hundreds of thousands of dollars."  Good!

But bad that he says that the impetus came only when the tough economic times hit.  Shouldn't government be always lean?  Is Walters saying that government efficiency was not important to him until the hard times hit?  Another positive for building trust, no?

The  SCPR believe Walters made a big mistake when he - at the end - identifies with the Tea Party.  Moreover, he compounds his error as he describes the mainstream media as "leftist."  Unbelievable!

Even if one agrees with Walters (as, perhaps, many in the Navarre audience did), what does such point have to do with county government. An example of a little more Walters' demagoging to a friendly crowd?  Isn't that what all politicians do?  Does he want to be in that political basket?

Tom Bernabei is probably already printing his flyers.

Here is a video of the entire Walters speech at the Navarre Tea Party, Sunday, June 27, 2010.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

JUNE, JULY, AUGUST, SEPTEMBER - POOF! SHERIFF SWANSON DISAPPEARS INTO THE DEEP, DEEP RECESSES OF "OFFICIAL, OFFICIAL, OFFICIAL" RETIREMENT? DORDEA MAY NOT BE RUNNING AGAINST SWANSON'S DESIGNATED SUCCESSOR - RICK PEREZ


At the "Frustaci" press conference, who should appear as the representative of the Stark County sheriff's department?

Of course, Sheriff Timothy A. Swanson?

Wrong!

Who then?

The de facto sheriff, that's who.  Chief Deputy Rick Perez (retire/rehire).


 Sheriff Swanson is scarce to be seen these days at the department's Atlantic boulevard facility.  The word i sthat he is set to "finally" quit in September.  However, he will not quit without taking a final shot at Stark Countians (remember, he said "poop on them" at a Stark County commissioners meeting on the sales/use tax imposition of December, 2008).

A final shot?

What might that be?

Seeing to it that long time associate and friend Rick Perez, brother of  Stark County Auditor Kim Perez becomes his successor.

This deal seems something like the Phil Giavasis (now clerk of courts at the Canton Municipal Court) escapade when he left the Stark County clerk of courts post for the greener pasture (pay wise and retirement pay build up wise) of Canton Muny.

Readers will recall that Giavasis took umbrage at Lawrence Township trustee Mike Stevens (who is now one of Massillon Mayor Frank Cicchinelli's top honchos) wanted to succeed him.

Not on your life Mike Stevens or anybody else!

Giavasis had set aside the job for his top aide Nancy Reinbold.

It just so happens that Reinbold is the wife of former Common Pleas Judge Richard Reinbold (now running against Scott Oelslager for the 29th Ohio Senate District seat).

Think she might have had an inside track to get a job in the county clerk of courts office in the first place?  Perhaps, some in the general Stark County public might take that tack.

But for the SCPR, the answer is "probably not."

After learning that the former judge will not be taking political action money in his current campaign against Republican W. Scott Oelslager in their Ohio Senate 29th District race, The Report now realizes that Richard is a strictly "on the merits"  type and it is likely co-incidental that wife Nanci ended up as a county clerk of courts employee.

Of course, it could be that this was a "no contest" situation.  That is, on the merits, there was no one better than Nancy.

Hey, when you are blessed, you are blessed!!!

The Rest of the story is that Nancy apparently is just as impressed with Giavasis as he is with her.  So when the "Car Title Czar" position opened up at the clerk's office, who did she go out and get (or did he just walk in off the street)?  Of course, another Giavasis - Louis Giavasis, Phil's brother.

Hey, doesn't it figure?  If Phil is just great shakes, why not get the next best thing, Louis.  After all, Louis knows the inside/out of Stark government being a Plain Township trustee.  Could there be a more qualified person that Louis in all of Stark County?  Of course, not!

Indeed!  What a co-incidence!  Brother Louis (to Phil) Giavasis is the "Car Title Czar."  A Stark County gets the very best.

BACK TO PEREZ/SWANSON

Perez has been busy of late sprucing up his resume with the help of Swanson.  Here is an excerpt from public relations arm (the department's website) of Swanson's operation, to wit:
Tuesday October 6, 2009
The Stark County Sheriff’s Office is proud to announce that Chief Deputy Rick Perez has been chosen F.B.I.N.A.A. Graduate of the year 2009. Chief Perez is a 1995 graduate of the F.B.I. Academy and has been an active member in the Ohio Chapter since that time. Chief Perez was recognized for his willingness to work with other law enforcement agencies across the country and the role he played in the Jesse Marie Davis homicide. Chief Perez was presented the award at the F.B.I.N.A.A. fall re-trainer Wednesday September 30, 2009. 
Moreover, Perez is a graduate of the 23rd Signature class of the Leadership Stark County (a project of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce).

It was at an outing at the Stark County Sheriff's facility for the leadership class earlier this year, that Sheriff Swanson anointed Perez his successor.

Sheriff Swanson must know something about Perez that the SCPR is missing.  For yours truly was totally unimpressed with his handling of the Devies matter (Marlboro Chief of Police Ron Devies and son Kyle) that got going in January, 2009.  And that was a case that the quality of the investigation was such that the prosecutor could not even get Judge Sinclair to require the defense to put on its case.  Wow!

What's more is that Perez wore a wire when interviewing Ron.  Now that will inspire trust and confidence on the part of police chiefs across Stark County in Perez, no?

Will Stark Countians abide a Swanson "Jacob-esque" bless on Perez when Perez finally has to stand before the voters?

It depends.

Depends on what?

Whether or not Republican Larry Dordea decides to run in 2012.  Dordea ran a very competitive race against Swanson in 2008.  But the Jeff Matthews/Curt Braden Stark County Republican Party failed him badly.

If he does, then there is a good chance there will be a change at 4500 Atlantic Boulevard.  If he does not (and it is appearing more and more that Dordea will not be making a second run), then the pickings are slim among Republicans to run against the Stark County Democratic political machine-backed Perez.

Swanson doesn't seem to be able to get his budget under control.  He keeps asking commissioners for more and more and more money.

Guess what, Sheriff?  There ain't no more!  And there won't be for the foreseeable future.

Will Perez have improved frugality and efficiency skills than Swanson?

At whose feet did Perez learn to do the administrative work of being sheriff?  Timothy A. Swanson, right?  So does it make any sense he would be more frugal, more efficient?

For the SCPR, the apparent impending appointment of Rick Perez as the next Stark County sheriff is not a comforting thought.

Especially, if Larry Dordea elects not to run in 2010.


NO DOUBT THAT ZEIGLER SHOULD RESIGN; BUT HOW ABOUT COUNTY AUDITOR PEREZ AND STATE AUDITOR TAYLOR?


UPDATE 06/27/2010 at 6:50 AM

A video of Mary Taylor's presentation at the Frustaci press conference has been added to this blog.  It is incredible to watch Taylor's sleight-of-hand on how authorities got onto Frustaci.

Yesterday, Governor Ted Strickland complained that Taylor's office has yet to produce "a performance audit" being done on the Ohio Lottery. 

Hmm?

Maybe a performance audit needs to be done of the State of Ohio Auditor's office?

The Report has had another email from Pat DeLuca (Q92) informing that none of the commissioners nor Perez nor Zeigler have responded to his request that they appear on air Monday morning to answer questions about the Frustaci matter.

Here's the Taylor video.

ORIGINAL POST

Without benefit of Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor's Supplement to the Special Audit Report for the period January 1, 2005 to April 13,2009 handed out at today's press conference, the SCPR called for Stark County Treasurer Gary Zeigler's resignation months ago.

Anytime over $2 million dollars can come up missing in any government agency, the head of the unit of government bears responsibility for not having safety measures in place to ensure that money does not get stolen.

Accordingly, it is no surprise that Taylor's report confirmed what The Report suspected had to be the case.

Auditor Taylor's office found, among other things, that in the Stark treasury there were insufficient checks and balances to ensure the correspondence of money collected, money deposited in banks and money reported to the Stark County auditor. 

Repeatedly, in making recommendations for changes (which have since been made), Taylor's auditors cite that the way monies were being handled made them more vulnerable to theft.  It was hard to believe that cashiers' drawers were left unlocked and therefore vulnerable to being pilfered when a cashier stepped away momentarily.

Gary D. Zeigler is the boss at Stark treasury.  And, the procedural deficiencies cited by Taylor have been in place since he took office and were only recently corrected after money came up missing, to wit:


There definitely is a groundswell of public opinion and public official opinion that Zeigler should resign including Stark County Commissioners Bosley, Meeks and Ferguson, Stark County Democratic Party Chairman (also Jackson fiscal officer and chief deputy - Canton Municipal clerk of courts) Gonzalez, and Stark County Auditor Kim Perez.

Yesterday, Zeigler was saying he will not resign.

If he doesn't, then the healing that Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero called for today in his remarks at the press conference will not begin until January 1, 2013 when a new treasurer takes office when voters presumably select the replacement in November, 2012.

Take a listen at Ferrero is this video.

Moreover, if Zeigler hangs in and does not resign; look for Democrats to challenge him in any re-election try in that year's Democratic primary.  It is hard to see how Zeigler could survive a primary among Democrats with party chairman Gonzalez already calling for his resignation.

ON PEREZ

How about county auditor Kim Perez, should he resign?  Although some Stark citizens have somehow associated Perez with the problems at the Stark treasury, the SCPR is not aware of any public official who has made such a call.

However, Perez received an e-mail from radio personality Pat DeLuca (whose show yours truly has appeared on in the past) demanding his resignation, to wit:
Patrick DeLuca ... 6/25/2010 2:43 PM >>>


As a citizen, homeowner, voter, and taxpayer in Stark county I hearby (sic) demand the resignation of county Treasurer Gary Zeigler and Auditor Kim Perez.

The actions demonstrated by both departments, as detailed in State Auditor Mary Taylor's Special Audit Report, call in to question the competance(sic)and ability for both Kim Perez and Gary Zeigler to serve the citizens of this county.

I am disgusted and enraged by the lack of accountablity afforded to my hard earned and much paid tax dollars.

Sincerely,
Patrick DeLuca 

The SCPR did contact Pat via e-mail and confirmed the sentiments reflected in the e-mail cited above.

Moreover, DeLuca has issued a scathing "open letter" on Zeigler and Perez which can seen on his DeLuca Show facebook page.

The Perez folks tell yours truly that they have trying to get in touch with DeLuca (without success) to explain Perez's role.  Apparently, they believe that if DeLuca hears them out, he will think differently.

Well, the SCPR went to the Taylor report and examined it in detail re:  Perez.

The Report interprets Taylor's auditors to be saying that Perez failed to be an effective "checks and balances" on the treasury and that he merely took the data submitted to his office at face value and made no effort to get original source documents. 

In light of the Taylor report description of the Stark County auditor's office failure, Perez should make a public explanation as to why DeLuca is wrong on his demand that Perez resign.

As f0r talking DeLuca out of his take on Auditor Perez, the SCPR does not see that happening.


ON TAYLOR

To the SCPR, Taylor's office has been a major failure in this whole debacle.  But who audits the auditor?

Note from the Prosecutor Dettelbach's chart above, the thefts have been going on since 2003.  Six years, mind you.   All the while the Ohio Auditor has been doing "routine" audits annually.

What kind of audits were these?  Unbelievable!  And Taylor wants to be lieutenant governor.

Many Stark County Republican politicians including Todd Snitchler (Ohio House - 50th), Republican North Canton Mayor David Held, are big believers in having Taylor's office audits done at state and local levels.

Really?  In light of the six years of failing to spot the thefts occurring at the Stark Treasury.

Should Taylor resign?

Not as auditor, as she only has months to go as Ohio's auditor.  All that would do is disrupt the functioning of the office for very little, if any, public benefit.  But she might want to get off the Republican gubernatorial ticket.  Kasich has his own problems with the Lehman Brothers thing.

Will the Taylor auditing failure in Stark County cost him in a close election with the vulnerable Ted Strickland?

Could Mary Taylor have lost it all for the Republicans, if Stark Countians are the deciders in the Kasich/Strickland match up?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

COMMISSIONERS GO INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION WITH THEIR LEGAL TEAM: QUESTIONS CONSIDERED - CAN THEY REMOVE TREASURER ZEIGLER IF HE DOES NOT RESIGN & CAN THEY RECOVER MISSING FUNDS FROM TREASURER ZEIGLER TO THE DEGREE THAT LOSSES ARE UNCOVERED BY OTHER RESOURCES?

The SCPR spoke with Commissioners Bosley and Ferguson shortly after they had held an "emergency" executive session with their legal team headed up by Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero.

The Report had these questions for the commissioners:

First, what, if anything, will the commissioners be doing to remove Stark County Treasurer Gary Zeigler from office if he continues his refusal to resign from office as has been requested by all three commissioners in statements made yesterday.

Second, what, if anything, will the commissioners be doing to recover lost county funds - vis-a-vis Treasurer Zeigler - on account of the Frustaci theft if bonds and insurance do not cover all of the $2 million plus loss.

The quick and dirty answer.

"We do not know."

How so?

Bosley and Ferguson told The Report that they were completely left in the dark (confirming:  Ferrero video on earlier blog) and that they still do not know which accounts Frustaci stole from.  According to Bosley and Ferguson,  none of the specific information they need to determine what they can legally do has been provided to them by the Ohio Auditor headed up by Mary Tayor, nor by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Whether or not they are empowered to move against Zeigler, they say, depends on the accounts involved.

Moreover, they say they are going to retain the services of a independent unit of Summit County government to come to Stark for the purpose of analyzing the loss of county funds at the Stark treasury.  Once that has been done, they will be formulating a plan of action.

Although United States Attorney Steven Dittelbach seems to think the Frustaci matter is ended (see video below), it obviously is not for the Stark commissioners.

The Report believes that "the elephant in the room" is that commissioners have great concern that a county 1/4th of one percent which will likely be on the November, 2010 ballot is in great jeopardy.  They have to be thinking such if bonds and insurances do not cover the loss, Stark County taxpayers will not be in the mood to do so.

Commissioner Bosley was quoted in area media yesterday as citing the Stark's "stabilization fund" (popularly known as a "rainy day fund" which stands at about 5.5 million dollars) might be a source for any theft-generated shortfall, if one occurs.

The Report believes any move on the stabilization fund will meet strong resistance from County Administrator Mike Hanke.  He has treated the fund as a key for Stark's financial survival going into fiscal year 2011 and beyond.

So the next battle for commissioners and maybe even among them will be whether or not to tap into the stabilization fund if there is a shortfall.

Friday, June 25, 2010

VIDEO OF US ATTY DETTELBACH POSTED: INVESTIGATION OF FRUSTACI COMPLETED. HE'S IN FBI CUSTODY. DUE TO APPEAR IN FEDERAL COURT TODAY. SHOULD THE COUNTY TREASURY THEFT HAVE BEEN CAUGHT SOONER?


The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio today held a press conference at the Stark County Office Building in which he laid out a federal information filed against former Chief Deputy Vince Frustaci alleging that Frustaci took $2,264,989.00 from the Stark treasury for his personal use.


Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor (Republican, also a candidate for lieutenant governor of Ohio) glossed over the apparent reality that had Frustaci not gone on vacation, the theft of treasury funds probably would not have been discovered.


A comment that was pretty much ignored by Dettelback, Ferrero and Taylor was one made by Bethlehem Township resident Tom Marcelli to the effect that Dettelback, Ferrero and Taylor (the persons presenting at the press conference on the Frustaci information) should not be glad-handing one another.  Rather they should be lamenting the fact that local officials and Taylor's office (who has a continuing year-to-year presence in the Stark treasury doing "routine" audits) were seven years in catching the loss of taxpayer money.

The SCPR agrees with Marcelli that today was not a day for celebrating.  To the credit of Prosecutor John Ferrero, he was the only person who spoke at the press conference who at least, indirectly, acknowledged that government had failed to secure taxpayer money and that the loss of taxpayer trust will take a long time to recover.

Currently, the SCPR is in the process of uploading a video of United States Attorney Steven Dettelbach's comments.

Here is video of U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach:

REPUBLICANS FIGHTING LIKE DEMOCRATS?


The Stark County Political Report has learned that there is a fight going on inside the Stark County Republican Party.

Sounds like the Republicans are turning into Democrats, no?

A well placed Republican tells the SCPR that Stark County Republican Party Chairman Jeff Matthews has taken up the cause of strengthening the party's executive committee at the expense of the party's central committee.

The objection by some Central Committee folks for the Matthews move, The Report is told, is that Matthews and his cronies within the upper reaches of the party hierarchy have control of the Executive Committee through the appointment process and therefore want to lessen the importance and power of the Central Committee who are elected in by Republicans at-large.

Just to make sure, the SCPR contacted another key Stark County Republican who confirmed the discord within the Stark GOP.  In fact, The Report was told by this source that the party could lose at least one quality candidate for elective office in 2012 because of the political ruckus which is going on in the party.

So maybe, just maybe, convention goers to the Ohio Young Republican annual convention will be in for a surprise.

Maybe, just maybe, a fight will break out between a Central Committee person and Matthews at this event, which is sponsored by the Stark County Republican Club.

On a more serious note.  The disharmony within the Stark GOP could not come at a worse time.  As officeholding Stark Democrats are about to be rocked by revelations this morning about the details of the alleged theft of taxpayer money out of the Stark treasury which led to the firing of the chief deputy on April 1, 2009, it would appear that Stark Republicans are poised to make a resurgence in holding county office come the elections of 2012, and maybe even pick up the Auditor's office this year and at least one county commissioner position.

But what the heck.

Why would the Republicans want to fight Democrats when they have each other to take on?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

VIDEO INCLUDED: A COMMISSIONER (BOSLEY & MEEKS) "POETIC" RESPONSE TO MASSILLON MAYOR FRANCIS CICCHINELLI & HIS CHARGE THAT THEY ARE NOT ACTING LIKE "COUNTY" COMMISSIONERS, BUT RATHER LIKE "TOWNSHIP" TRUSTEES?


Even before the Poets Glen, Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr had told the Stark County Political Report that Stark Commissioner Todd Bosley for sure was acting in legal capacity of being a commissioner as if he were still a Nimishillen Township trustee, at least, on the issues of annexation.

Cichinelli and Canton Director of Annexation Sam Sliman are two very aggressive Stark County annexers.  Sliman goes so far as to describe himself as the "Darth Vader to the Townships."

Consequently, Cichinelli and Sliman have earned the ire of their opponents.  In Cichinelli's case it's Tuscarawas Township and Perry Townships extraordinare.  For Sliman it is Plain Township and, though it's not a township, North Canton's government.

Cicchinelli and Sliman and Sliman's chief Canton sponsor Councilman Bill Smuckler think that annexation is a key component to economic development.

While Cicchinelli has some achievement to crow about, Canton does not.  Latest census figures show that Massillon is growing whereas Canton continues to plummet.  

So it is far from certain that annexation is a viable formula or even a factor in economic development.

On the Poets Glen annexation, Cicchinelli is on much stronger footing in the opinion of the SCPR with Commissioner Bosley having as his "hidden agenda" reason for voting against Massillon's annexation bid than for Meeks.

Why the differentiation between Bosley and Meeks?

Bosley is running for state representative against Republican Todd Snichler in the Ohio House 50th district.  Tuscarawas Township (Poets Glen's locale) is in the district as is part of Perry Township.

Meeks, on the other hand, is from Jackson Township and his good friend and staunch political ally Randy Gonzalez (Jackson Township fiscal officer and chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party) was one of the most ardent Jackson proponent of working out an annexation agreement with Sam Sliman and Canton.

But The Report believes that Cicchinelli perceives Meeks to be anti-Massillon.  If there is a justification for Cicchinelli's take on Meeks, it would have to be for reasons other than his position on annexations.

The Report's take on Meeks' vote on Poets Glen is that it was a "spur of the moment" decision and that he got drawn into voting against Massillon by virtue of the political skill that was demonstrated by Bosley in his structuring of the Poets Glen hearing.

Had either Republican Jane Vignos or Democrat Tom Harmon still been commissioner, the SCPR believes that Meeks would have voted with them to approve the Massillon annexation request,  That's how tenuous yours truly thinks Meeks' no vote was.

However, the SCPR has reason to believe it will cost him (mind you, both Cichinelli and Meeks are Democrats) Cicchinelli's support (covert, if not overt) in his race against former Canton mayor Janet Weir Creighton (Republican)  for the full four year term as Stark
commissioner.

Losing the most prominent Massillon politician's support was a high price for Meeks to pay, if The Report's analysis that he could have gone either way on the Poets Glen vote is correct.

For Bosley, there was nothing to lose and most everything to gain politically.  At most, Cicchinelli will be only a marginal factor in his race against Snitchler since the district does not encompass Massillon as it did when current Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. held the seat (known then as the 56th).

While the SCPR has already assessed that Creighton will win the commissioner seat, if Meeks is to have a chance to prove the SCPR wrong, he will need the all out support of Frank Cicchinelli and every other Democratic Massillon government official.

Massillon, of course, is a strong Democratic Stark County city.  Moreover, Creighton does not have the connection with Massillon that she has with Canton (having been a former mayor).  Another factor with Canton is that Sam Sliman is a Republican who first served in the Creighton administration.

While Canton is a strong Democratic enclave, the Republican Creighton has a likelihood of making a strong showing in the Hall of Fame city.  For her to have a similar opportunity via Cicchinelli would be a devastating blow to Meeks' chances to return as Stark County commissioner come January 1, 2011.

Before yesterday's commissioners' weekly meeting, the SCPR asked Bosley and Meeks to respond to Cicchinelli's response that they - on Poets Glen - acted as if they were still township trustees.

Here is the video response.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

FRUSTACI INVESTIGATION RESULTS TO BE REVEALED AT PRESS CONFERENCE SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010 AT 10:00 AM


The Stark County Political Report has learned from a reliable source that a news conference has been set by law enforcement officials for Friday, June 25, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. in Canton  to announce the results of an investigation of the Stark County Treasurer's office regarding allegations by Stark Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler that former Chief Deputy Vince Frustaci had stolen Stark treasury monies.

The Report has learned that the results will include heretofore publicly unidentifed person(s) also subject(s) of the investigation in addition to Frustaci.

Zeigler's allegations concerning Frustaci came to public light on April 1, 2009.  With the allegations came Zeigler's further revelation that he had fired Frustaci.

LATER TODAY; THURSDAY, THE 24TH; FRIDAY, THE 25TH; MONDAY, THE 28TH; OR TUESDAY, THE 29TH OR MAYBE EVEN WEDNESDAY, THE 30TH? FINALLY, A CONCLUSION TO THE FRUSTACI INVESTIGATION?


Yesterday, the SCPR received a telephone call from a person in a position to know, that "finally, finally" the allegations made by Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler on April 1, 2009 that Zeigler's - the then - chief deputy Vince Frustaci had misappropriated money (Zeigler fired Frustaci on the 1st of April, 2009) from the Stark County treasury being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will be concluded within days.

"Within days?"

What does that mean?

Hard to say.

Dare say that nobody in Stark County government on April 1, 2009 would have thought on that day that it could take as long as July 1, 2010 to complete the investigation.

Accordingly, The Report was reluctant (despite a constant stream of questions and musing from various readers and public officials) to do yet another blog speculating on the investigation conclusion date because of the large number of inaccurate reports as to the timing of the conclusion.

Not that the SCPR's sources have been wrong.  Not at all.

What has happened is that people very close to the investigation have indeed let it be known to The Report's sources that the end is near.  But for one reason or another the investigating authorities have changed the timeline.

As The Report observed several blogs ago, law enforcement authorities will take whatever time they think they need to do the job correctly.  And that is the way the anticipatory public should want it.

The Repository was - at the time of the blog referred to above - jumping all over the county commissioners for not pushing for a conclusion of the investigation.  Such was just a case of "grandstanding" by "the powers that be" at The Rep.  Kind of journalistically unbecoming for folks who know the reality that quality law enforcement should and will take the time it needs to do an investigation, no?

So, it appears, any day now, the matter will be finalized.  At least, insofar as Mr. Frustaci is concerned.

However, once the amount of the alleged theft is officially known (believed by some to be as high as $3 million); there may be other ramifications in terms of the county commissioners looking at the county treasury's oversight function and whether or not there was (on the commissioners' assessment) insufficient performance of the oversight responsibility meriting action by the commissioners in pursuit of the Stark County public interest.

Accordingly, there may be plenty of life left in this story.

Stay tuned!

CHARTER SCHOOL MAGNATE & ANTI-OBAMA-HEALTHCARE GROUP AS WELL AS STARK CO REPUBLICAN HEAVY HITTER W.R. TIMKEN, JR ARE MAIN SPONSORS OF OHIO YOUNG REPUBLICAN CONVENTIION TO BE HOSTED BY STARK YOUNG REPUBLICAN CLUB THIS WEEKEND


The SCPR has known for some time that the Stark County Young Republican Club (which has an annual membership of 50) would be hosting the Ohio Young Republicans at their annual convention this summer.  

Of course, it cost money to host something like the convention of the Ohio Young Republicans.  Within the past few days the SCPR has obtained campaign finance reports filed by candidates and political action committees (PACs) for the post primary period which ended for reporting purposes on June 4, 2010.

As The Report scanned through the Stark County Young Republican Club's (SCYRs) report, it became abundantly clear that something was up with the SCYRs.  For the organization started the reporting period with $454.31, raised $8,210.00 and, after paying a few bills, ended up with $8,027.55.

So what might be up?

Eureka!

Ah yes, there was an infusion of money to offset the costs of hosting the convention.

In fact, Monique Cox-Moore, a Stark County Young Republican Club official; has confirmed to The Report that the contributions are for the expense of hosting the convention.  A highlight about Ms. Cox-Moore is that she is National Young Republican Committee
Republican of the Year 2009-2010 for 20 and under 40 age group - young professional.

Did the convention funding bring out some interesting contributors?

Indeed, it did.

Here is the list that the SCPR believes constitute the prime underwriters of the convention:


Of course, anyone in politics knows who is the prime man at White Hat Management, LLC.  It is none other than David Brennan who has gotten many millions of Ohio (taxpayer) money for his charter schools.

Brennan has relied on Republican office holders who hold court in Columbus to see to it that taxpayer money flows freely to the charter school movement.

Brennan is a huge financier (contributing lots and lots and lots and lots of money) of Republican causes and politicians in Ohio.

Even if a specific Republican politician has not received a direct contribution from Brennan or White Hat Management LLC,  such does not mean that the politician has not indirectly gotten Brennan money.  It only means that the Brennan money has worked its way to the politician through one of the Republican organizations or activities that Brennan or his company funds.

A second prime contributor is the U.S. Citizens Association.  This organization gave the Stark Young Republicans $3,000.00.  A self-descriptor of the type of causes U.S. Citizens supports is embodied in the following:
The U.S. Citizens Association, an Ohio-based conservative organization, with over 23,000 members, has filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Akron, Ohio, to repeal the healthcare bill signed into law in March [2010].
Another prime contributor is W.R. Timken, Jr., who is chairman of the board of the Timken Company which funnels political contributions to political candidates through the Timken Company Good Government Fund (TCGGF).  Apparently, Republicans have a leg up on "good government" as the overwhelming majority of recipients are Republicans.  Here is a sampling of a recent filing by Timken and the TCGGF which lists only Republicans as candidates receiving contributions:

Well known Cantonians and Stark Countians who also contributed include:
  • Scott Hawes (Plain Township trustee - $35), 
  • H. Doyle Smith (candidate in May for 16th congressional seat - $50), 
  • Janet Creighton (commissioner candidate [Creighton 2010] v. Steve Meeks - $150),  
  • Alan Harold (auditor candidate v. Kim Perez - $50), 
  • Sheila Farmer (judge/5th District Court of Appeals - $150), 
  • Julie Edwards (judge/5th District Court of Appeals - $100), Charles Brown (judge/Stark County Court of Common Pleas - $130), 
  • Dixie Park (judge/Stark Probate Court - $100) 
  • Regula for Congress ($100) and Mark Butterworth (Canton councilman - $75).
The SCPR received this interesting communique from Cox-Moore:
Fyi-Josh Mandel [Republican candidate for Ohio treasurer] will walk in ward 8 in canton at 10:30-11:30 Saturday (sic) June 26 with all of our local candidates:
Janet Weir Creighton
Jamie Walters
Todd Snitchler,
Alan Harold

Please feel free to contact me for any additional information.‬‪ ‬‪ ‬‪

Thank you,‬‪

Monique Cox-Moore‬‪
 Interesting?

Yes, at least to Democrat Todd Bosley's campaign for the 50th Ohio House district.

Why so?

Todd Snitchler (Ohio House - 50th) will be participating in a door-to-door in Canton's 8th Ward (which happens to be the most Republican friendly ward in Canton), but, more importantly for the Bosley campaign, has Snitchler campaigning outside the 50th.  Apparently, to help Mandel?  And Bosley?

Mandel will be addressing the convention at a Saturday luncheon session. 

A partial Mandel biography from the Ohio House of Representatives website:
Josh Mandel is a Marine veteran who served two tours in the Iraq War and currently serves as State Representative from the 17th Ohio House District. He was first elected State Representative in 2006, knocking on 19,679 doors and wearing out three pairs of shoes. In 2008 he was re-elected to a second term. He currently serves as the Ranking Member of the Financial Institutions, Real Estate and Securities Committee.
A curiosity to the SCPR is why the YRs would have 27th Ohio Senate candidate Frank LaRose as their Keynote speaker?

Another strange twist is that the press is not welcome at this event.

Initially, the SCPR received this apparent invite from Cox-Moore, after having inquired about press access to the convention, to wit:
We welcome you to cover any and all events during the convention. For a complete schedule of events, times, and locations please visit our website here ... . ‬‪The convention is open to the public and there is still time to register, visit our website here for registration info:  ... .
But, it seems, that once Republican pols got their heads together, they decided to withdraw the invite.

Witness this later e-mail from Cox-Moore to the SCPR:


Apparently, the "stay-away" is designed to keep the "analytical" press away a la the Stark County Political Report.  Undoubtedly, the YRs will find a way to include the "public relations" press a la The Repository.

Hmm?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

COUNCILMAN MARK BUTTERWORTH: WILL HE BE A DIFFERENCE MAKER FOR CANTON?


Canton has been in the doldrums for a very long time now.

Just as the long term one-party-rule by Republicans up until Strickland's election (2006) and the takeover of the Ohio House by Democrats (2008) set Ohio behind, so has Canton been severely hurt, in large part, by one-party-Democratic-rule.

The SCPR has been chiding the Stark County Republican Party to come up with some new, energetic and creative leadership for the Hall of Fame city.

It could be that 8th Ward Councilman Mark Butterworth is the beginning of a new wave of leadership (both Republican and Democrat, and perhaps, an independent or two) that will ultimately lead a Canton resurgence. 

While the SCPR does not think in the public interest effective government comes from the structure of government, but from the quality of the officials who staff government; the move to charter government in Canton could be the impetus to attract new and invigorated leadership to Canton.

Micheal Cunnington deserves credit for getting the idea rolling in Canton.  However, because of what The Report perceives his highly partisan bent; he does not appear to be the person to lead a charter government movement.

Mark Butterworth however does.

He is a solid Republican.  Make no mistake about that.  But standing for something is fine as long as the bias doesn't get in the way of the public interest.  The SCPR's take on Butterworth is that he is first and foremost about pursuing the public interest.

Butterworth has a tough way to go.  If he were consummately political, he would not have stepped forward with his initiative to have Canton City Council place a charter government initiative on the November, 2010 ballot.  Why not?
 

He was only elected by14 votes in November, 2009 over two term incumbent Democrat Karl "Butch" Kraus, Jr., who is a union favorite and who is likely to run again in November, 2011.

Many situated like Butterworth would just honker down and play it close to the vest and hope to survive another election challenge.

But Councilman Butterworth is not built that way.  He demonstrates to The Report that he is a take charge kind of guy, while sensitive to political realities, and is about formulating a positive agenda for the betterment of Canton.

The Report would like to see Butterworth re-submit his request with a Democrat as a co-sponsor.  But doing so could cause a problem with the timeline for getting the initiative on the ballot.

This eight-ward councilman is optimistic that his charter initiative will make it to the ballot.  He feels he has four votes and that at least four (8 of 12 council votes are needed) persuadable councilpersons remain.

He emphasizes that November's vote is limited to two considerations.  First, shall Canton go about drafting a charter for approval by Canton voters.  Second, if a charter is to be drafted, who (vote for 15) is to staff the writing of the charter document to be submitted for voter approval within one year.

The main criticism of the effort is that the same old tire politicians will write the charter document.

Not true!

No elected official can be a candidate for the charter commission.

Butterworth did have a meeting with Councilman Thomas West who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee last night.  West told Butterworth that he wanted to ensure that all of Council was fully informed about the impact of a charter, if passed by Canton voters.


Law Director Joe Martuccio has also been approached by Butterworth to aid him in putting together a presentation to meet West's concerns.

It could be that the question of whether or not Canton forms a charter commission will come up on November's ballot whereas the question of who shall serve on the commission itself, presupposing a November go ahead, would be on the May, 2011 ballot.

Moreover, there is a consideration that 9 of the commissioner slots would go one each to the wards with the remaining 6 being elected at-large.

Again, the SCPR applauds Butterworth for his initiative and for being a political risk taker.  He has all the traits that good political leaders demonstrate.

Who knows?  Mark Butterworth could be a future mayor of Canton in the making.

Monday, June 21, 2010

THINGS ARE UNRAVELING FAST IN NORTH CANTON? COUNCIL TO CONSIDER LEGISLATION TONIGHT TO LIMIT THE MAYOR'S SPENDING AUTHORIZATION WITHOUT COUNCIL APPROVAL?


Last week the SCPR reported on an apparent rift between North Canton City Council and the Mayor David Held administration.

Readers will recall that the springboard for the blog was that the Held administration (actually, City Administrator Earle E. Wise, Jr.) requested that Council authorize the administration to spend up to $15,000 for the administration to go out and hire temporary clerical help.

Not only did Council not approve the request, but did so in what The Report thinks was in an insulting way.  A councilperson did move to approve the request.  However, not one single councilperson would second the motion.

A day later The Report spoke with Mayor Held about the matter.  Held described to yours truly about being reduced to one clerical employee while Council has three.  He talked about how he had recently lost an employee to Council.  The mayor did allude to a situation with the move that indicated that it was in the best interest of all that the move be made.  But he did not get anymore specific than that.

Apparently, the request for money for a temporary employee for the administration was to be a "make-up" for the loss of the employee to Council.

Also, readers will recall that the Held administration is using employees from the engineer's office and the civic center to help cope with the excess of work that the administration is inundated with.

Readers of the SCPR know that The Report is not content with a vague reference to relational problems in the administration of city government as being reason for action or inaction.

So The Report turned to a favorite of North Canton government:  Chuck Osborne.

Osborne is a former councilman who is a burr to most of North Canton governmental officials.  A annoying factor about Osborne to a number of the officials is that, in some instances, he knows more about the happenings at North Canton City Hall than some of these same officials.

And Osborne has turned out to be a terrific source to provide the SCPR with "the rest of the story" of the "behind the scenes" activity in the inner chambers of North Canton government.

Osborne says that City Administrator E.E. Wise, Jr is impossible to work with.  And in the switching of the employee from the administration to Council was a consequence of the employee taking no guff from Wise.  Apparently, the air got so saturated with acrimony, it was decided that the best solution for all was to move the employee.

The Report focuses on Osborne's account to make a larger point.

It appears to the SCPR that North Canton Council members, folks like Osborne (and Osborne says he knows of others) are having a difficult time getting along with Wise and that they find it discomforting to engage Wise.

Wise, a Democrat, was a former Stark County prosecutor who has run for a couple of local offices.  The last was for the judgeship of the Stark County Probate Court which he lost to Republican Dixie Park.

His selection by Held, when he took over as mayor, as North Canton's city administrator was hailed in the local media as a breakthrough on partisan politics.  Most local political observers including the SCPR, view North Canton as being a Republican enclave.

In recent times, the SCPR has been hearing a number of rumblings about Council's growing negative perception of Wise's performance.  However, Mayor David Held is not hearing any of it.  He tells the SCPR that Wise has his fullest confidence and that he is paying no attention whatsoever to Council discontent.

 So what is Council to do?

The SCPR believes North Cantonians witnessed the first public shot last Council meeting when the request for the $15,000 was made and rejected out-of-hand.

Unless Council changes it mind, The Report hears that there may be an ordinance on the table at tonight's Council meeting requiring Mayor Held to get specific Council approval for any administration expenditure over $2,500.

Another expected move is for Council to allocate X number of dollars to the Held administration in the 2011 budget (which is expected to have a $231,000 shortfall) with a salutation:  "here is your 2011 allocation boys and girls - spend it any way you like, but there will be no more."

So is there a standoff between Council and the administration in North Canton?

Yes and no.

Council is bending over backwards not to have a fight with the administration.  And Mayor Held, if he is anything, is a peacemaker.

The sticking point?  The SCPR believes it is the continuation of E.E. Wise, Jr as city administrator.

The Report has reason to believe that despite his public stance of "being squarely behind" Administrator Wise, Mayor Held is working the Stark County political circuit to help Wise find a alternative position.

The Report is told that Held had made inquiry with his friends in the Stark County Democratic Party about the availability of an appointment of Wise as a successor to Stark County Treasurer Gary Zeigler, if Zeigler decides to step down in the light of troubles facing the Stark County treasury over the loss of taxpayer money.

First, the SCPR does not think Zeigler will resign as treasurer.

Second, a Republican (Held) trying to influence the Democrat:  really?

Third, if Zeigler does quit, The Report thinks the position is set aside for Stark County commissioner Steve Meeks should he lose to Republican Janet Creighton in November; which The Report thinks he will.

So what is to happen, if Held cannot find an alternative for Wise?

A continuation of muted acrimony between North Canton City Council and the North Canton administration, that's what.

And that cannot be good for the future of North Canton.