On October 31, 2011 (LINK to SCPR blog detailing the meeting) Stark County's organized Democrats did the right thing by Stark County in appointing Republican Alex Zumbar to the Stark County treasurer's post to fill out the term of former Treasurer Gary Zeigler who resigned/retired on October 19th.
In doing so, the Democrats likely sacrificed the party's interest in controlling the treasurer's office for many years.
There was resistance among the Democrats. Canton City Council President Allen Schulman and Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II contested Chairman Randy Gonzalez on his steering the Stark County Central Committee to the Zumbar appointment.
But Gonzalez prevailed.
Stark County's "organized" Republicans, on the other hand, under the non-leadership of Chairman Jeff Matthews, could not bring themselves to do a much less devastating thing to the local Republican Party interests in putting Democrat Chryssa Hartnett on the list of candidates to be considered by Republican Governor John Kasich in replacing Stark County Common Pleas judge Charles Brown.
The likelihood that highly partisan Kasich would actually appoint a Democrat "is between Slim and None and Slim just left town."
In an ironic twist of sorts, Judge Brown is retiring October 31, 2012 (one year to the day that the Stark Dems selected Republican Zumbar to replace Democrat Zeigler).
Hartnett is well thought of within the Stark County legal community. And she has the credentials and background to be a judge.
LINK to entire letter
The SCPR checked with several Stark County Republican lawyers and all believed that in terms of qualifications and temperament Hartnett should have been on the list if the Stark County GOP truly cared about getting the best of the applicants for the local Republican endorsement before the governor.
Of course Governor Kasich does not have to select from the list of the Stark County GOP. And he shouldn't.
The same Republican lawyers who the SCPR spoke with were not particularly impressed with the September 17th selection of Canton Municipal Court judge Stephen Belden and Stark County Common Pleas magistrates Kristin Farmer (Judge Sinclair) and Lori Flowers (Judge Brown).
The SCPR realizes that it is a pipe dream to think that the Stark County Republican Party would have the public interest at heart in making the selection.
But if they are bound and determined to pick a Republican, a name that cropped up with enthusiastic endorsement by the aforementioned lawyers was that of Republican Jean Madden.
Madden, a long time public defender, is in the mind of the SCPR a "nominal" Republican. Back in August, 2008 when she ran against Democrat Frank Forchione for a Stark County Court of Common Pleas judgeship, The Report's headline in a blog on the race indicated that Madden's plan was to run as a "non-partisan." How refreshing!
After all, judicial ethical canons require judges to impart the "impartial administration of justice."
Evidently, Madden was too non-partisan for the liking of local Republicans who did the selecting on the 17th.
It certainly cannot be her qualifications.
Madden is currently a magistrate in the Alliance Municipal Court.
Back in May, 2010 this is what a Repository writer had to say about Madden in a story about a new job she had obtained:
Through the years she had handled thousands of cases, from juvenile court to death penalty trials. She has supervised younger attorneys and handled difficult clients. She has helped run the public defender's office and prepare the budget.The last item in this blog is a video of Madden taken when she was a candidate for the Stark County Common Pleas Court.
In addition to her vast legal experience, she has the additional experience running countywide for a judicial post, and she is not among the top three Republicans to replace Judge Brown?
The Stark County Political Report hopes against hope that Governor Kasich will ignore the selection of Belden, Farmer and Flowers by the Stark County GOP and do the best thing for Stark Countians.
Either astound everybody and appoint Democrat Hartnett or go to the Republican that the SCPR thinks is vastly more qualified than the three Stark GOP selectees; namely, Jean Madden.
But does he have the intestinal fortitude to do so?
The Madden video.