Sunday, January 9, 2011
WHO IS ON TOP? THE STARK DEMS "POLITICAL SPOILS" LIST
With the election of Republican John Kasich as governor of Ohio (as part of a nationwide Republican sweep) coupled with a local political tsunami fueled by the loss of $2.96 million from the Stark County treasury under the watch of former Stark County Treasurer Gary D. Zeigler (once a powerful "insider" Stark County Democrat), the Stark County Democratic Party is reeling this days.
While law enforcement officials cleared Zeigler of any criminal wrongdoing and laid the blame on former Chief Deputy Vince Frustaci, the SCPR believes that Stark County voters were out to remove any incumbent (elected or appointed) Democrats, whether or not it was fair to do so. Hence Stark County Auditor Kim Perez (who had kept a number of Republicans on staff when he was first elected) got soundly beaten by neophyte Republican Alan Harold and, moreover, the character impeccable Ken Koher, running as a Democrat (not known to be a highly partisan Democrat) could not hold onto the treasury for Democrats.
Caught up in the Kasich aspect of the turnaround in political fortunes is former Stark County Commissioner Gayle Jackson. She resigned her commissionership in 2007 to join the newly elected Democratic governor Ted Strickland and his "Turnaround Ohio" themed administration (which, of course, never happened) to become a sales manager with the Ohio Lottery Commission which is not a civil service protected job.
On Thursday she got fired from her "political spoils" job.
Jackson is the political darling of former Stark County Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. The SCPR has heard Maier frequently opine that Jackson is, perhaps, the greatest Stark County commissioner ever at Stark Democratic Party events.
Jackson and two of her children (Shane is political director of the Stark County Democratic Party and the chief deputy for Maier at the clerk of courts in Massillon whereas Lisa is the top administrator at Plain Township Hall) have done well in securing positions in Stark County political subdivision government.
Now it appears that Jackson herself is in need to have a new political appointment.
And it seems that an opportunity has opened. All she has to do is to get Stark's organized Democrats to appoint her.
Coincidently, an announcement emanating from the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) revealed that Maier has resigned as a board member, effective yesterday.
This BOE seat has caused a turmoil within the Stark County Democratic organization when Maier (in the opinion of the SCPR) forced long time organized labor stalwart Billy Sherer (ironworker) off the BOE at the end of his term.
Maier made it appear that Sherer was all for the change. While, Sherer being the class guy he is, would not insist on selfishly holding the seat, he undoubtedly agreed with his fellow Stark unionists that because Stark County's unions have always work - pretty much exclusively - to elect Democrats in Stark County, that as a part of "political spoils" the Sherer seat was a union perk and Maier's interloping was not acceptable.
To this day, Stark's organized labor has not forgotten about nor forgiven Maier for ripping away their political perk.
While the board seat does not pay that much (a little under $17,000), it is something and therefore the SCPR believes that there will be some internal Stark County Democratic bickering (especially from the unions) as to whom fills the Maier-created vacancy.
If she wants it, The Report believes it is Jackson's for the asking. Even though Maier is no longer chairman, he is virtually indistinguishable from current Chairman Randy Gonzales in terms of party leadership and certainly the Jackson fiscal officer would endorse Jackson for the post if asked to do so.
Even Republicans fight over BOE seats. It was a matter of months ago that former Stark County Commissioner Jane Vignos challenged Frank "Curt" Braden in his successful bid to retain his seat.
With long time Gonzalez friend and political confident Steve Meeks being out of a political job, look for him to surface somewhere in Stark County government. The sames goes for defeated Auditor Kim Perez and one of his chief lieutenants Jimmy Babcock (who has taken out petitions to run for Canton Council - at large).