Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Many elected public officials talk a good game on accessibility, accountability, citizen outreach and transparency, but in the experience of the SCPR, it is, for the most part, political babble.

Recently, Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel launched a website dedicated to providing you and I with information we should know in making critical decisions about which direction we want our government to go in.

The SCPR is using the database today to begin a discussion of whether or not Stark County can afford to have 18 superintendents of schools at a taxpayer cost of some $2 million dollars annually just in salary alone.  Of course, there is a significant extra cost in benefits about 30% to 40% of the base salary number.  So the annual cost to taxpayers likely gets close to a $3 million figure.

Though The Report gives Mandel a "Hats Off" for getting the database up and rolling, only time will tell whether or not he will fill it out with a full and complete database of the salary.

Mandel may be overly ambitious to move onto the next job before producing enduring changes as promised in the last job.   So far he has three years as a city councilman, four years as a state legislator and not even a year yet as Ohio's treasurer and he has already thrown his hat into the ring to get the Republican nomination to contest Democrat Sherrod Brown for a U.S. Senate seat.

This sort of reminds the SCPR of Todd Bosley who, in the blush of victory over Richard Regula in November, 2006 for a Stark County commissioner seat, immediately started talking about running against Richard's father Ralph (long term 16th district congressman) in 2008.

As we now know, Bosley self-destructed in what The Report believes was a sea of over ambition. 

Anyhow, it is important to encourage the likes of Mandel to put basic values of democratic governance (transparency being one of which) at the top of his priority list.  Nonetheless, the SCPR is skeptical that he will be treasurer very long.  If not elected U.S. senator, then you can bank on him looking for other more powerful and prestigious political things to do.  Being a good and effective treasurer does not appear to be his top priority.

Stark Countian Ben Suarez and his company executives seem sold on Mandel, witness their large contributions to Mandel's campaign this contribution year. 

Swinging back to a discussion of whether or not Stark County should embark on a consolidation of top levels of school administration is a "no-brainer" so far as the SCPR is concerned.

The average and mean superintendent salary in Stark approximates $113,000 (remember:  this figure includes only salary; no benefits; no fringes).

Stark's boards of education need to start pushing and prodding their superintendents to open up a taskforce agenda in consultation/collaboration with Stark County Educational Services Superintendent (SCESC) Larry Morgan (yours truly's spouse is president of the SCESC, however, the views of the SCPR are yours truly's alone and not intended to be reflective of her views), state education officials and Governor John Kasich's office with a specific goal of getting Stark's top level school administration consolidated.  The look should also include school treasurers and other top local district officials.

A thoroughgoing analysis and evaluation seems to have the potential of saving Stark County taxpayers millions of dollars.  Perhaps as much as $5 million?

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