Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It appears to the SCPR that in naming Phil Giavasis (Canton Muny clerk of courts) to the recently vacated Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (Massillon Muny clerk of courts) post at the Stark County Board of Elections, the Stark County Democratic Party Executive Committee is expediting the process where Democrats will soon hold less countywide offices than the Republicans.

The turnaround could happen as soon as the 2012 elections.

Boosted by what local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley has tabbed as Zeiglergate and a general Republican resurgence in much of the country and certainly in Ohio, Stark County Republicans are on a roll in its quest to go from zero countywide offices just three months ago to majority status.

An important "unwitting" ally in the quest appears to be former Stark Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and his political disciple and current chairman Randy Gonzalez.

Several years ago Maier obtained the "acquiescence?" of 13-year Stark Board of Elections (BOE) member Billy Sherer (a strong, strong unionist from the Ironworkers) into stepping down so that the Dems could appoint a lawyer (Sam Ferruccio); in accordance with - said Maier - the wishes of then Democratic secretary of state Jennifer Brunner to have a Democrat lawyer on each and every county BOE.  Brunner denied Maier's claim.

Maier's move caused a huge rift between the local organized Democratic Party that remains to this day.  Negotiations, the SCPR is told by union officials,  have been underway to heal the division.  But as long as labor remains ousted from what it feels is "a labor position" on the Stark BOE, the unions will stay with their "pick and choose among the Democratic candidates on a case by case basis" model.  For the unchosen, the unions have and will continue to sit of their hands.

Stark's organized Republicans could not be more delighted.

Undoubtedly, Stark's unions will see what the SCPR sees in terms of the evolving of a Canton/Massillon "clerk of courts seat" for the Stark Dems.  While Ferruccio continues to hold what was once "Labor's seat," Maier, Gonzalez et al have turned the other Democratic seat into a "clerk of courts seat."  All of the holders of the second seat in recent years are either clerks themselves or key officials in the clerks' office.

Until the recent turn of events in which Stark's Democrats have lost the treasurer's office, the auditor's office and one county commissioner seat, the union element of the Stark County Democratic Party likely seemed irrelevant to the bigs at 4220 12th Street NW.

One would think - with further electoral losses looming in 2012 with the most likely being the Stark County prosecutor's office, and perhaps, the sheriff's office  - Chairman Gonzalez would be pursuing a reapproachment with the unions.

If he is, the creation of a de facto "clerk of courts BOE seat" in an "in your face" to the unions, is hardly the way to go.

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