UPDATE: 3:00 PM.
Martin - I am genuinely curious to know why you favor a township PD. I get the idea of increased patrols and police presence. But I do not get why you think a township force is better than the sheriff. Thanks.
Posted by Bryan to STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT at May 31, 2012 2:44:00 PM
I do not necessarily think that "a township force is better than the sheriff."
While the Uniontown Police Department has been my family's policing security for all the years that the Olson family as lived in Lake (nearly 40 years) and I think it has been an excellent police force, I am open to having the sheriff be the township policing authority. The price appears to right. It is just a case of comparing "apples to apples" to make sure that the resulting quality will be the same.
Thanks for your inquiry,
Martin Olson - Blogger for The Stark County Political Report.
Lake Township resident and attorney Mike Grady had a terrific day on May 16th of this year.
He was co-counsel on a team of lawyers who convinced the Ohio Supreme Court that Lake Township trustees John Arnold, Ellis Erb and Galen Stoll, through the township's legal counsel Charles Hall, III, made a mistake in the ballot language substantial enough that the high court upheld Stark County Court of Common Pleas Judge John Haas in his invalidation of Lake Issue 6 in the election of November 8, 2011.
In the vote on Issue 6, Lake residents approved a levy issue to take the Uniontown Police Department township wide.
Yours truly supported the issue (Issue 6) and plans to support the measure again if township trustees put it back on the ballot for this November.
Notwithstanding the SCPR's support of Lake Township having a township wide police presence, yours truly admires the work of Grady and his fellows in striking a blow for the integrity of elections.
Now comes news that Grady did pro bono (for the public good) work for Lake Township's opponents for the township wide levy to the tune of some $37,500 (Stark County paid Lake Township’s tab in fight over police levy, Nancy Molnar, Akron Beacon Journal, May 24, 2012).
A Republican, Grady is trying to establish that Stark Countians should take him seriously as being politically viable in his attempt to unseat Stark County prosecutor and Democrat John Ferrero.
As far as the SCPR is concerned, there is a significant contrast between Grady and Ferrero that buttresses The Report's argument that Grady offers Stark Countians a unique opportunity to bring a fresh approach to the way the prosecutor's office is managed. Stark County Treasurer Alex Zumbar and Stark County Auditor Alan Harold have brought a refreshing change to their respective offices. Grady could to the same for the prosecutor's office.
The Report believes that Ferrero's background is as a Stark County Democratic Party "good ole boy." In his political history, he teamed up with Gary Zeigler and Tim Swanson in 2004 to run a joint campaign. At least for a while. Eventually, there was a falling out and Ferrero went his own way.
As the SCPR sees this race, it stacks up as a "breath of fresh air" versus stagnation.
Both Ferrero and Grady have track records of managing staffs of attorneys and being civically involved.
Grady tells the SCPR that he would bring proven private sector management efficiencies to bear on office procedures, practices and personnel. He learned them as chief legal counsel and managing attorney (now retired) at The Babcock and Wilcox Company, a major worldwide corporation with facilities in nearby Barberton, Ohio.
Stark Countians well know that the county averted a full blown financial crisis when voters approved a 0.5% sales tax last November.
But the passage of the tax does not mean that Stark County government (including the prosecutor's office) is going back to "business as usual" as existed prior to the loss of tax revenues.
Management skills should be a premium consideration as voters assess these two candidates.
Actually prosecuting cases (criminal or civil) has not been in the cards (except, perhaps, for cameo appearances [e.g. the Bobby Cutts case] for the political gain to be derived) for Ferrero.
One should not expect that Grady would be any different in this respect.
Undoubtedly, he will bring new prosecutors on board. However, he has promised that he will not be making changes to the prosecutorial staff just because they worked for John Ferrero.
As readers of the SCPR know, The Report has a number of issues with Prosecutor Ferrero's stewardship his office and has long held that Stark County needs remove him as leader.
Here are a number of links to prior blogs which go into detail as to the many reasons yours truly is disenchanted with Mister Ferrero.
- April 16, 2012 blog
- January 25, 2012 blog
- January 20, 2012 blog
- October 02, 2011 blog
- August 29, 2011 blog
- May 05, 2011 blog
- February 02, 2011 blog
Nothing against Grady, but he would not have been The Report's first choice to take on the task due to his glaring lack of political insight into and experience in Stark County politics.
So how is Grady to make up for his lack of political sophistication?
He could and should turn to the likes of fellow Republicans Alan Harold (Stark County auditor), Alex Zumbar (Stark County treasurer) and Janet Creighton (Stark County commissioner).
However, because the odds do not favor Grady winning (which, of course, would mean that Ferrero is left to work with day-in, day-out), it is likely that Harold, Zumbar and Creighton - though supporting him - will not want to be front and center in his campaign.
Yours truly has had experience with Ferrero that indicates to me that he is a vindictive type when it comes to anyone criticizing his handling of the Stark County prosecutor's office.
He apparently forgets that he is a politician running for office, and that in the American political system, folks have 1st Amendment rights to comment on how any given politician is managing his/her elective office.
The SCPR knows of one highly placed Stark County Democrat (impressively credentialed) who is substantially less than complimentary of Ferrero.
Grady appears to be somewhat out of the mold of Republican A.R. "Chip" Conde who ran for mayor of Canton in November, 2011. A totally class act who just couldn't bring himself to play political hardball with the well-oiled politician William J. Healy, the second. But in Conde's defense, he had to run in the context of a 9 to 1 Democrat to Republican registration ratio.
Even the highly politically popular Janet Creighton (countywide) who has been elected Stark County recorder, auditor and commissioner, could not survive in the overwhelmingly Democratic environment beyond one term as mayor.
Though she won a narrow victory (300+ votes) over the politically bland former Canton city councilman Bill Smuckler in 2003; in 2007 she succumbed to the politically slick Healy in the Canton Democratic enclave.
Overall across Stark, she is likely Stark County's most popular politician. In 2010 she ran for county commissioner and trounced former Jackson Township trustee and Democrat Steven Meeks.
So Grady does have an advantage that Conde did not have: running countywide.
If he campaigns smart (in Republican strongholds like Lake and Jackson townships) getting out his vote, he may be able to offset his losses in Canton and Massillon.
There is no doubt to the SCPR that Lake Township Republican officials will be pumping up Democrat Ferrero as political payback on Grady for his involvement in getting the Lake Township wide police levy favorable vote invalidated.
This though Trustee John Arnold acknowledged in Wednesday night's regular Lake Township trustees meeting that the Stark County prosecutor's office was along with the Stark County Board of Elections shared in the blame along with the township's legal counsel (Charles Hall, III).
Yours truly has lived in Lake for the better part of 40 years and am well acquainted with the local political landscape.
Erb, Stoll, Arnold, Sommers (all Republicans) and Uniontown police officials who had their dream dashed by the Ohio Supreme Court's adverse decision do have some political clout within certain circles in Lake.
But not as much as the Ferrero forces might hope.
The Report still sees Grady as winning highly Republican Lake.
It is quite a step for suburban if not rural voters to vote for a city of Massillon guy who is a former chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party.
You have to believe that Grady will be working the Ferrero partisan political connection big time in traditionally Republican sectors of Stark County.
Alliance may present opportunity for him.
With the help of the Republican mayor Alan Andreani, Councilwoman Julie Jakmides and state Rep. Christina Hagan, he might win Stark County's third largest city.
He should carry Republican North Canton. Mayor David Held and stalwart Dogwood City Republicans could provide a big lift for him.
A wild card in the Grady/Ferrero face off could be the Stark County sheriff race.
Democrat Mike McDonald (a chief deputy of the jail division) is running against Republican Larry Dordea (police chief in Hartville and a Alliance city councilman at large).
This is likely to be a very, very close race.
A race that Stark Countians will be a winner no matter who is elected. Somewhat like the Zumbar/Koher contest for Stark County treasurer in November, 2010.
It would be helpful for political newbie Grady if he could run with Dordea (who ran a competitive race against Sheriff Swanson in 2008) as sort of a law enforcement duo.
But Dordea has his hands full with McDonald and so it seems likely to the SCPR that Dordea will not have the luxury of tutoring Grady on the ins and outs of real world politics.
Grady's political inexperience is a major liability to be overcome if he is to become Stark County's next prosecutor.
In November, Stark Countians will have a choice between "a breath of fresh air" and "a well-heeled politician."
Which will Stark Countians choose?