Thursday, November 1, 2012


UPDATE:  11/03/2012 - 09:15 AM

From Derrick Loy:
I am not involved in Deputy McDonald's campaign any more than I am with Sherrod Brown's campaign.
I am not on Deputy McDonald's committee, I have not knocked a single door or made a single telephone call for Deputy McDonald's campaign.
I do not speak for or represent the McDonald campaign in any fashion, including as a surrogate as you've referred to me.
 From the SCPR:
The SCPR has never said that Loy has an "official" role in the McDonald campaign.  The use of the word "surrogate" is intended in a nuanced sense.  That is to say, in the opinion of yours truly Loy's effort has the effect of what a representative  (i.e. surrogate) of a campaign does for a candidate; hence a de facto surrogate.


The Report always gives subjects of SCPR blogs an opportunity to respond when there is disagreement with yours truly.

The Report does not accept/agree with any implication that Loy is somehow a disinterested citizen whose only concern is that Stark County get a quality Stark County top cop elected in Tuesday's election.
The SCPR does however appreciate Mr. Loy's participation in recent blogs on the Dordea/McDonald race.


The SCPR would never have "thunk it" just a month ago.

It appears that in the contest to determine who will succeed Timothy Swanson as sheriff, a once model campaign in terms of civility, has lept off the cliff into a morass of uncivility and negativity.

For some reason the Larry Dordea (Republican of Alliance) campaign has seized on the decision of Swanson to make an agreement with chief deputies Democrats Mike McDonald (Dordea's opponent) and Rick Perez to provide them with longevity pay of 4% of their base salaries of $88,000 which they carried over from their respective retirements (2008 and 2004) into being "new" employees with their rehire a day after their retirement.

What is at stake?

$30,000 plus in Stark County taxpayer funds, that's what.

Dordea's folks (which is pretty much to say his campaign manager James N. Walters [Jackson Township trustee and a Republican who some say is angling to get a job with a Dordea administration of the sheriff's department], wrote Republican Stark County auditor Alan Harold an e-mail (which the SCPR has obtained through a public records request) on October 25th making serious allegations that the payments made so far (i.e. the $30,000 plus) are contrary to law.

Here is that e-mail:
Thursday, October 25, 2012 9:46 AM
From: "Jamie Walters" <>
To: "Alan Harold" <>
Dear Alan,
Several months ago I requested from your office payroll info for all employees of the Sheriff’s office, as well as the Auditor’s Active payroll report. Thank you for providing those public documents.
I also requested the bi-weekly county time card records including all paid work hours, sick/vacation, etc and any other compensated time for Chief Deputies McDonald and Perez.
You indicated that those records would need to be obtained from the Sheriff’s office.
I have requested those records from the Sheriff’s office, and while they have provided the leave balances for 2010, 2011 and 2012, they have not provided the reports themselves.
In addition, while the payroll reports your office have provided show the salary amounts for Chief Deputies McDonald and Perez, the Sheriff’s office has not provided me the documentation that actually sets the Chief Deputies salaries.
As such, I am requesting from your office the documentation and/or directive from the Sheriff’s office that sets the Chief Deputies salaries.
I am also requesting copies of both Chief Deputies McDonald and Perez payroll files.
In addition, it appears to me from the limited information the sheriff’s office has provided, that there was no break in service as required by state law when Chief Deputies McDonald and Perez retired and were rehired.
Are you aware of this?
Lastly, ORC section 124.181 (E)(2) states that retired employees are not to have prior service time credited for purposes of longevity pay.
It appears that both Chief Deputies McDonald and Perez are receiving longevity compensation contrary to state law. Are you aware of this?
Alan, you have been very helpful in responding to my requests, but it is frustrating to me that I have been directed back and forth between the Sheriff’s Department and your office.
Taxpayers shouldn’t have to be put in this position.
It is clear that a directive of some type had to have been issued by the Sheriff to instruct you to pay Chief Deputies McDonald and Perez the salaries they currently receive.
While your office has this directive, it most certainly should be at the Sheriff’s Department as well.
I simply cannot understand why the Sheriff’s Department refers me back to you, but I am making this final effort to fully exhaust all possibilities prior to taking any other action to secure these public records.
If you would prefer, I am available to come in to your office and review the entire employment files for both Chief Deputies. [sic]
I look forward to your prompt response.
Thank you.
On Walters' allegation that "[i]t  appears that both Chief Deputies McDonald and Perez are receiving longevity compensation contrary to state law," Auditor Harold referred the matter for a legal opinion on the allegation.

A couple of days ago, according to Harold, Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Dawson made a public statement that there was nothing illegal about the Swanson agreement with McDonald and Perez.  However, Harold tells the SCPR that an official written opinion has not been sent to him by Dawson.

Matter dropped?

Apparently, not so quick.

In a conversation with Harold yesterday, he indicated that Walters is holding on to his interpretation of the cited stated (Walters is not a lawyer) notwithstanding Dawson's interpretation.

In about six weeks McDonald and Perez are due payments under their agreements with Swanson, so the SCPR asked Harold whether or not he was going to make the payments as scheduled in light of the Walters inquiry.

As the SCPR understands Harold's response, it is as follows:
  • "I haven't been asked to do anything yet on this topic, so I would say
    any decision is premature...,"
  • that the question may become moot with the results of the election coming up next Tuesday, and
  • that accordingly his "final" decision is in flux notwithstanding the Dawson statement.
The Report did e-mail candidate Dordea as to whether or not his campaign planned on making a formal request that Harold not make future payments to McDonald and Perez.

And this is his response:
From:  "larry dordea"  
To:  "Martin Olson"   
I still have not seen anything in writing that justifies a "new hire" to receive a 4% longevity payment or an extended vacation benefit.   
I also have no idea whether or not the other employees who have retired/rehired are treated to a similar benefit. 
Perhaps I will be enlightened before such a request would need to be made, we will have to wait and see.   
Larry Chief Lawrence A. DordeaHartville Police DepartmentAlliance City Councilman-at-LargeCandidate for Stark County Sheriff
Stay tuned folks.

It could be that Chief Dordea or his cohort Walters will force Harold to make "a final determination" as to whether not to pay the Swanson negotiated retire/rehire longevity pay and vacation benefits.

Dordea, interestingly, poses the question of "other [retire/rehire] employees" possibly getting longevity pay and benefits that Walters has questioned the legality of.

If he is on to something here, to The Report it means that the issue may have a life beyond the election no matter who wins.

Of course, if McDonald is elected, the issue does become moot unless a Stark County citizen (e.g. Dordea or Walters) contests the payment in writing.

On the other hand, if Dordea is elected and presumably McDonald and Perez are no longer working as sheriffs, there may still be two issues for Harold to deal with:
  1. Are there any longevity/vacation payments due them, and, if so, won't Dordea be compelled to challenge them in light of the Walters e-mail?
  2. As to possible "other employees," if they exist, will Dordea just "bite the bullet" and not object to their payment?  Probably not, again:  reference the Walters e-mail.
For his part, Mike McDonald thinks that Walters' e-mail is "much ado about nothing" (The Report's words, not McDonald's).  He says that Sheriff Swanson was free to make any agreement he wanted with himself and Perez and that's that.

So it appears that the next move is up to Dordea and his campaign manager James Walters.

So was this a political strategem which has backfired on them and will be abandoned to never be heard of again?


Well, there are only five days left (including today) until regular voting opens on Tuesday.

If there is a next step and the Dordea forces wish to try to impact Tuesday's election with the issue, it would seem that Dordea et al will have to make their move today or tomorrow, no?

From the McDonald perspective (through apparent campaign surrogate Derrick Loy [president of the Alliance Area Democratic Club]), there remains the issue of Dordea's use of an Alliance Police Department (APD) confiscated luxury Mercedes-Benz SUV when he was still chief of the APD.

In a blog posted several days ago, the SCPR published a Loy "letter to the editor" in which he made an assertion:
FACT: As the Alliance police chief, Larry Dordea helped himself to a luxury Mercedes-Benz SUV that his own police had confiscated. Mr. Dordea called it “My Company Car,” but the taxpayers were footing the bill for his gas guzzler.
Dordea's response:
Helped himself?  This vehicle was a trophy vehicle well known to a portion of the criminal element of Alliance.  The vehicle was lawfully seized and the option was available to sell it or to use it.  I, with the input from many, decided to keep the vehicle as a visible reminder to those who were flashing their illegally earned wealth with fancy cars and the like may be next.  Also as a seized asset, it would have been auctioned to the highest bidder and brought in only a portion of its retail value.  Given it was in good condition it would hold up for years as a non-emergency vehicle and reduce the departmental needs to buy a new car at the time. When we were deciding how to use the vehicle, the officers who worked the case that led to the seizure of the vehicle were offered the opportunity to utilize it as an “unmarked“ cruiser but they declined because they felt it would be targeted in the field and they pushed for me to use it.  I did so reluctantly at first but when I received feedback that the former owner had stated that seeing me drive his vehicle was like a slap in the face, I knew we were sending out a very strong crime deterrent message.  Additionally, this vehicle was never used outside of legitimate law enforcement duties.  
Issue over and done with?

Not quite.

Loy followed up with the SCPR by sending a copy of an April 29, 2008 Alliance Review published "letter to the editor" by then candidate Dordea (running against Swanson in November, 2008), in which he lampoons Swanson for use of guess what?  You've got it:  confiscated vehicles.

An excerpt of the letter:

 Loy ends his follow up e-mail to the SCRP with this:
So now we have four separate issues to worry about with Mr. Dordea:
(1) Mr. Dordea used poor judgment in helping himself to a seized luxury SUV gas guzzler,
(2) Mr. Dordea obviously does not practice what he preaches,
(3) what kind of integrity does a candidate have when he attacks his opponent for doing exactly what the candidate himself has done?, and
(4) Mr. Dordea has flip-flopped and changed his position in a transparent attempt to justify his faulty judgment, raising even more doubts about his credibility.
So with the charges and countercharges, where are we left?

It will be interesting to see.

Will the Dordea campaign just drop any action with Harold and ignore Loy's charges of poor judgment, hypocrisy and flip-flopping?

On Loy, Dordea has already said that he does not take him seriously.

But if he wishes to respond further, he knows that the SCPR will update this blog to include his response.

If there is more to come, then the Dordea/McDonald campaign nose dive has new depths to plumb, no?

As far as the SCPR is concerned, the race to the bottom is an unfortunate twist.

Such is the course that highly competitive campaigns all too often take.

The candidates (even if they are thought to be high quality ones, as in this case) sense that it is neck-and-neck and seek an advantage, any advantage.

The struggle is to reach that 50% plus one vote.

As The Report said from the outset of this campaign, no matter who gets elected as between Dordea and McDonald, Stark County will have a quality replacement for outgoing Sheriff Tim Swanson.

But undoubtedly this campaign will have an enduring legacy of being the model campaign which turned ugly when it came to crunch time.

No comments: