Monday, February 11, 2013



Press release issued by Mayor William J. Healy, II

Canton Mayor WIlliam J. Healy II asked for and accepted the resignation of Rick Perez, effective 6 p.m. Monday due to questions arising about the hiring process for the Canton-Stark County Crime Lab director position.

"This is about the process. I reviewed the situation and concluded that the hiring process was not handled appropriately," explained Healy, who plans to discuss reposting the position during


The Report has learned that the meeting of SCOG set for tomorrow at 3:30 p.m is an executive committee meeting (not an executive session) and therefore is open to the public

Also, there is no 4:30 p.m. general SCOC membership meeting as they only take place on a quarterly basis.

The Report thanks SCOG member and Perry Township trustee Craig Chessler for the correct information


On January 7, 2009 the now former Stark County chief deputy Rick Perez showed up at the Marlboro Township police chief's office to question Chief Ron Devies about allegations that he may have been involved in unlawful activity with respect to the township computer system.

Unbeknownst to Devies, Perez was wearing a wire.

When word got out within the Stark County policing community, there was outrage galore.

And, the SCPR believes, that revelation more than any other factor (including his brother Kim's difficulty in terms of public perception as Stark County auditor in what has been labeled Zeiglergate) is the reason that Perez is not the sitting Stark County sheriff today.

But for Devies, it was probably good that Perez had a wire on.  For when it was used at trial it showed him to be a guileless, "honest-to-the-bone-marrow" police officer.  (LINK to May 27, 2009 SCPR blog).

And by the way, Devies who was charged with a 4th degree felony supplemented by misdemeanor charges was in effect acquitted by Stark County Court judge V. Lee Sinclair in his dismissal of all charges at the end of the prosecutor's case-in-chief.

Folks, if there is such a thing as a slam dunk in the law, such a dismissal is it.

Now that word has gotten out that police and, apparently, political crony of Perez and Canton safety director Tom Ream (one would think with the blessing, if not the complicity, of Canton mayor William J. Healy, II) has orchestrated the rearrangement of the qualifications for being the Canton-Stark County Crime Lab director in order to make Perez's hiring possible.

Under the old criteria, Perez was unqualified.

Moreover, because the Ream/Healy rewrite of the crime director's job description, the job did not have to be advertised so that other (including qualified Cantonians/Stark Countians) could know of the intent to hire and to apply for it.

The Perez hiring occurred on Monday, February 5th.

The result?

As in the wire wearing Perez caper, Stark County police outrage.

How many outrages can Rick Perez absorb and remain a viable public figure?

Well, one of the most marked outrages in terms of reaction came from guess who?

You've got it.

Marlboro Chief of Police Ron Devies, that's who.

Here is the contents of a copy of an email sent to the SCPR by Devies (to Repository reporter Matt Rink):
First I want to commend you on your reporting covering this travesty that has occurred at our crime lab.
I knew Bob Budgake for many years professionally and I can sincerely say, the crime lab has not been the same since he has been gone.
Many of the staff there have told me how he is dearly missed. I teach  evidence collection in three different police academies and I always would brag how fortunate we were in Stark County to have the Canton-Stark Crime Lab. I won't be bragging anymore about this.
Yesterday I sent via certified mail, notice to the Crime Lab requesting they box up all cases my agency has submitted and to notify my office when they are ready for pick up.
My agency will no longer use the crime lab due to the unqualified leadership it possesses.
I may also point out, Mr. Ream told me personally a little over a year ago what good friends he was with Perez and Tim Swanson.
My agency wishes to have no association with the unethical practices that have taken place here.
I know Rick Perez very well and wish to have no association with him or anyone associated with him. He is definitely NOT qualified for this position.
If he thinks his experience in "investigation" brings anything to the table,I would say he has watched too many episodes of CSI.
The dedicated criminalists  who are qualified there, do not do investigate crimes. In most cases evidence is submitted to them and they analyse [sic] it to see if there is a link between the victim, suspect and crime scene.
I seriously would wager if you asked Rick Perez to  explain the Locard Transfer Principle he would try to tell you it was some kind of SARTA pass.  (emphasis added)
So does this action by Devies signal that he will be a leading force in seeking a reversal at the Stark Council of Governments (SCOG) board level?

It will be interesting to see whether or not he shows up at the board's regularly scheduled meeting at 3:30 p.m. at meeting room on the 8th floor of City Hall on Tuesday, February 12th.

Even if he doesn't, the SCPR has to believe there will be plenty of screaming and yelling at Ream during the executive committee of the board which begins begins at 3:30 p.m. and is open to the public.

The SCPR expects Stark County commissioner Tom Bernabei to be venting big time on Ream and thereby indirectly on Healy like in the old days.

When Healy was elected in November, 2007 one of his first appointments in his first term was Bernabei as his service director and chief-of-staff.

Well, Bernabei was far too exacting in the details of administration, pointed and in-your-face for Healy to abide.  Within a few months of being hired, Healy fired him.  As he did to another, in effect, with hiree (Tom Nesbitt of Nebraska) as his safety director.

While officially, Nesbitt resigned.  The truth of the matter is that Healy made it impossible for him to continue and serve with integrity.

Folks who got to know Nesbitt raved about his work as safety director at the time and still speak very highly of him.  But, again, he was more than Healy can abide.  Healy is well known for only being able to work with "_ ss kissers."

The SCPR has heard nobody rave about safety director Ream except Mayor Healy.  So what does than make Ream?

Another interested party in all the Crime-Lab-Gate hubbub is Rick's brother Kim who is running for Canton treasurer.

Could he be in for another electoral loss because of an association with an "in the news" Stark County political/governance event?

A sidenote:
  • The Perez appointment took place on Monday, February 5th.   
  • George T. Maier (brother of former Stark County Democratic Party chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.) was appointed Stark County sheriff to succeed sheriff-elect Mike McDonald (who was unable to assume office because of an unspecified illness) on Tuesday, February 6th.
  • One of the leading proponents for Maier was none other than Gonzalez.
  • Maier surprising barely won 92 votes to 84 (for Lt. Lou Darrow).

Well, the question that the SCPR has:  was there some kind of quid pro quo (something for something) deal on the George T. Maier candidacy cut between and among Ream, Healy, the Maiers and Gonzalez to support Perez's selection as Stark County Crime Lab director in exchange for support of Maier sheriff candidacy?

Gonzalez does say that he knew nothing about the Perez hiring, that he is a "distant" cousin and that "he has had little contact with him."

Sorry Chairman Gonzalez, the SCPR has a really difficult time taking your statements at face value.

What the SCPR will be looking for is whether or not Gonzalez uses his clout within the inner workings of SCOG to undo the Perez appointment.

Are we to hear from Gonzalez as the SCPR in the past:  "clout?"  "I have none.

That's what The Report expects to hear from the chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party.

The Report's take on him is that he is up to his eyeballs on everything political in Stark County, and his projected powerlessness is feigned.

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