Back on October 12th, the SCPR did its last (LINK) of a succession of blogs on the Stark County clerk of courts race between Democrat and incumbent Nancy Reinbold and Republican challenger Jeff Heimbaugh.
Readers of this blog owe it to themselves to take a few minutes to click on the LINK and get up to speed on the back-and-forth between Heimbaugh and Reinbold (and her emissaries) so as to appreciate the significance of this particular blog: "Who Gets the Last Word?"
The October 12th blog was given life when The Report was contacted by Stark County Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) project manager Randy Gonzalez (who also is Stark County Democratic Party chairman) who invited yours truly to go to the Canton Municipal clerk of courts office (run by elected-Clerk Phil Giavasis [former Reinbold boss]) to see the "spit and polish" of CJIS "up close and personal." (The Report's words, not Gonzalez's)
And, indeed, the CJIS operation is impressive.
Apparently, the invitation and the schooling on CJIS was supposed to put the "perfect squelch" on anything that Heimbaugh could possibly say as a rejoinder and would lead the SCPR to conclude that any additional Heimbaugh responses should be ignored.
Well, that is not quite how the SCPR operates.
Needless to say, over the nearly five years that the Stark County Political Report has been published, yours truly has received complaints/observations from time-to-time that "there is more to the story."
The Report's response?
Fine, send in an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org composed "in your own words" and the SCPR will publish it word-for-word.
Quite a few Stark County public officials and other subjects of SCPR blogs have taken advantage of The Report's open invitation.
Those who decline should be thought of as being whiners who are trying to put the SCPR on the defensive and perhaps affect the tone, the critique, of future blogs merely by virtue of having whined.
Kind of like the player or coach who complains to the referee not because he thinks the call will get reversed. Rather he hopes the next call will go in his favor merely because he protested. Protest is in and of itself is designed to make the referee see that he has somehow been unfair.
In the sporting event context, one suspects that whining works on occasion.
However, not with the SCPR. But The Report has a fullproof way to deal with a complainer/observer.
The Report opens up the pages of the blog to let the "offended" person state his/her case. The readers of the blog will then decide whether or not he/she has made his/her case.
Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero comes to mind as a local public official who consummately bellyaches about how unfair the SCPR is to him.
But not one time has he ever had the fortitude to come on the blog with his counter to the blogs he complains about.
Apparently, he thinks his performance in office is immune to scrutiny as evidenced by his bellyaching.
Justices of the United States Supreme Court get roundly criticized for their work on the bench, if not lambasted, by not only media types and by members of the bar who make it clear that they are speaking as members of the profession.
Only last week, yours truly saw Justice Scalia on a CNN program defending and explaining himself.
Justice Scalia, who draws perhaps more scrutiny and criticism than any other jurist, takes the criticism in the spirit of public debate that better informs the public.
But John Ferrero, what does he do? He sulks and seeks to silence his critics.
The Report does not look for it to happen, but it would be "sweet indeed" for Stark County if Stark County voters were to unseat Ferrero in favor of Republican Mike Grady on the 6th of next month.
Thankfully, Ferrero is an exception among Stark County politicians and elected office holders; not the rule.
Heimbaugh has been the latest in a long line of SCPR subjects to take up the continuing SCPR to respond to a blog "in his own words."
Today, The Report presents Randy Gonzalez's response to an SCPR inquiry and (partially) a Heimbaugh's e-mail of October 12th (published as an "update" to the blog of same date.
The Report's inquiry:
From: Martin Olson <email@example.com>Subject: CJIS budgetTo: "Randy Gonzalez" <firstname.lastname@example.org>Date: Thursday, October 11, 2012, 1:19 PM
I forgot to take the copy of the CJIS budget that you printed out for me yesterday.
Would you please e-mail it to me (or fax it to 330 838 2342).
As I indicated I would, II did check out the point we discussed as to whether or not was Heimbaugh was calling for "off-the-shelf" software to take care of CJIS and other court-related. It appears to me that you and Phil are correct in your take on Heimbaugh's position.
Heimbaugh does talk about a plan to upgrade the CJIS system to enable e-filing of court pleadings and that there might be a module with "of-the-self" [sic] software that could make it much cheaper to do than if CJIS were to be upgraded.
Is there such a plan (i.e. upgrade CJIS to include e-filing)? If so, when is it to be done? If so, what is the projected cost? If so, would Yates be the person doing the programing for such an upgrade? If so, is the work to be included in the $85,000 per year contract price?
Re: Fw: CJIS budgetTuesday, October 16, 2012 10:43 AM
From: "Randy Gonzalez" <email@example.com>View contact details
To: "Martin Olson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Martin, attached is the budget you requested. Also by all the Courts working together with CJIS it gives us the ability to shop pricing for products like ORACLE and drive the prices down for all by using they get all or no contracts from Stark County. Also the CJIS server can serve as an additional back up for all the courts and information request for all courts come from one place instead of 4 separate request.
In addition to court management systems CJIS also includes:
Population control for the jail package
Pre Trial Release Package
Compliant maker for law enforcement package
Line-ups for law enforcement
Complete Warrant data base for all courts and law enforcement.
Reports all 4 court centrally to State agencies. (Supreme Court, BMV, BCI and so on)
Coming soon will be paperless uniform traffic tickets.
Again there is no charge to any agency for CJIS not the jail, law enforcement or any other user. It is paid for by user based fees established statutorily that created the Clerks of Court automation fund.
In answer to your question attached; Judge Heath went to a judicial seminar and became involved in pursuing e filing. She and Nancy started a committee which included the main users (attorneys). Yes they are not looking to reinvent the wheel and are familiar with a couple different successful system currently being used in Franklin and Montgomery Counties. The attorneys are also used to those systems.
CJIS will be the portal to the E filing system and yes Chris Yates will develop the interface with the vendor chosen at no additional charge, it is part of his job. Implementing E filing through CJIS, will include all 4 courts and again will keep the cost down by each not going off on their own while adding continuity of all users. 1 contract not 4!
Hope this answers your questions, although as I stated yesterday I believe Nancy has answered these questions and at our meeting Phil and I have also went over all of this. I trully [sic] appreciate your thoroughness so I hope this does it.
The implication, The Report believes, is that CJIS is free to Stark County taxpayers.
The SCPR begs to differ with Gonzalez, if that was his point.
The vast majority of those who file cases in Stark County courts are Stark County citizens who happen also to be Stark County taxpayers at various levels of local government.
Gonzalez's position is somewhat analogous to former Governor Ted Strickland raising fees for certain State of Ohio fees by $36 million across a number of state agencies several years ago. His spinmeisters maintained that the $36 was not a tax increase.
A final point.
It could be that this blog is "the last word" on the Reinbold/Heimbaugh race.
That is, if both sides cease weighing in on the toplic.
For like no other Stark County media, the SCPR is committed to allowing subjects to get their full point-of-view before the Stark County public.
However, the issues raised in the Reinbold/Heimbaum series of blogs go beyond the campaign itself.
The SCPR will be pushing the Stark County commissioners to fully vet whether or not it is in the best interest of Stark Countians to continue to contract with an out-of-county host/maintainer of CJIS when it comes up again next year.