Wednesday, January 25, 2012


When Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero appeared before the county commissioners three (3) months to the day that Gary D. Zeigler resigned/retired (October 19, 2011), he had "an ace (perhaps, two aces) up his sleeve" as he confronted commissioners on their proposal to cut his office 23% (along with other Stark County general funding receiving departments) for 2012.

Here is a video of Ferrero (and Commissioner Thomas in response later [01/23/11]) justifying, in part, why his office should not be cut.

Since Ferrero did not come armed with exact figures, the SCPR went checking.

A "lo and behold" The Report found (according to official Stark County auditor office numbers) that Stark County spent $247,604.88.

Multiplying the $247,604.88 three (3) times according to the Ferrero articulated standard, his office saved Stark County taxpayers $742,814.64 or nearly THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION DOLLARS!

So what is the argument about?

Too bad for the rest of Stark County's of general fund supported department of governments, but who among them can say that they more than pay for themselves in savings to taxpayers?

And the Zeigler thing is not the only thing.

Ferrero has the commissioners by the throat on another matter.

If they do cut his office, he will do an end run around them and ask Stark County's courts to appoint counsel who will paid out of guess what?

You've got it, the general fund.

Which, of course, will cost the county a lot more than the $678,000 that they would be saving with a 23% cut on the 2011 budget.

To sum the justification for the commissioners not exacting 23% or any cuts to the Stark County prosecutor's office:
  • the office has saved the county about three quarters of a million dollars to start with, and 
  • it might cost the county budget hundreds of thousands of dollars more with "appointed special counsel."
Indications are that commissioners are highly sensitive to law enforcement matters, including the prosecutorial function.

So it will be interesting to see whether or not Ferrero has been effective or counterproductive in trying to ward off cuts to his office.

The commissioners main worry?

If they give into Ferrero, what is the message they are sending to the remaining Stark County general fund funded departments of government?

The commissioners' message has been that "we are all in this together."

Will it hold water, if they cave into Ferrero?

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