Sunday, August 28, 2011


Former Stark County Commissioner Tom Harmon (also Canton's clerk of courts for years) and Stark County Treasurer Gary Zeigler (reinstated) used to be political pals.

Both have had their problems.  In this blog, the SCPR deals with how each has handled apologies or lack thereof to the Stark County public in relation to those problems.

Tom Harmon has had several incidents going back to 1997 with various elements of Stark County law enforcement appearing to involve the improvident use of alcohol (except, perhaps, the 1997 "failure to control" charge).

A lawyer knowledgeable about "failure to control citations" (FTC) tells the SCPR that sometimes an arresting officer will opt to charge in this fashion (when the officer suspects but feels he cannot substantiate alcohol use) rather than charge specific to alcohol use.  However, the SCPR's source was quick to point out that FTC's do have a basis in non-alcohol use arrests.

The Report did telephone Harmon in a question to deal specifically with his history, but he did not return the call.

Here is a CJIS (Stark County's Criminal Justice Information System) listing of Harmon law enforcement engagements over that time period.

Harmon pled "no contest" to the disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges, but prosecutors dismissed the criminal trespass complaint because the complainant did not wish to pursue the matter.

Harmon's difficulty, (he lives at a residential complex at The Quarry Golf Club) grew out of an incident on July 12, 2011 at The Granite Grille located at the club.

According to police reports, he:
  • was highly intoxicated,
  • made obscene gestures and comments, and
  • refused management and police requests that he leave.
After the court found him guilty, he was ordered to participate in an alcohol abuse evaluation and comply with recommendations of the evaluator agency.

Gary Zeigler has had one huge problem with the Stark County public because his chief deputy (Vince Frustaci) of yesteryear made off an admitted $2.46 million of Stark County taxpayer money.

In what the Stark County Political Report thinks is a "bizarre twist" on the use/non-use of an apology, both probably are finished as Stark County political and governmental officials in terms of any future ambitions they may have.

Harmon is already out of office and Zeigler - one would think - most certainly will be, come September, 2013.  

Harmon in a recent court appearance apologized even though he did nothing wrong if one believes his attorney:  Sam Ferruccio Jr.  to wit: (per Shane Hoover's Repository report of the court proceedings)
Defense attorney Sam Ferruccio Jr. said Harmon had only two drinks that night and blamed the incident on a reaction between the alcohol and prescription medication.
Given his attorney's disclaimer, one has to wonder how sincere Harmon's apology is.

He needs to step forward explain to the Stark County public how he can apologize when his attorney says he did nothing blameworthy.

Would Stark Countians want a blameless person to be amenable to a Stark County criminal justice process?  Of course not!

Zeigler, on the other hand, adamantly refuses to apologize even though many Stark Countians think they have one coming.

Stark citizens apparently are "the buck stops here folks!"

Harmon apparently, in apologizing, wants to give the impression he subscribes to the adage, also.  But is he really?

Treasurer Zeigler does not even feign subscription to the adage as far as he is concerned.

He seems to be all about excuse making:  other county officials, the state of Ohio auditor, the press - you name it - Gary Zeigler is quick to blame for getting him and his administration of the Stark treasury wrong. 

Zeigler is the person, who by virtue of being the county treasurer, could have made the changes in treasury policies, procedures, practices and office facilities that needed to be made to ensure that a Vince Frustaci could not do what he did.

Notwithstanding his ability to institute preventative measures and structures and obviously did not, Zeigler - through his attorney (an interesting parallel to the Harmon situation) paints Zeigler as being a victim and additionally as a martyr because of a concerted action by county officials against him.

So is this a trend that Stark Countians can expect to see more of from Stark County's county, city, village, township and board of education officials?

The SCPR's expectation?


And this is why, my friends, Stark Countians are getting less and less prone to support these folks with the finances they need to properly run their area of government!!!

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