UPDATE: 02/15/2012 AT 2:35 AM
Stark Co. Auditor Reverses Self
The SCPR talked with Stark County Auditor Alan Harold yesterday about his February 13th letter indicating that he would not be recognizing the Stark County Democratic Party appointment of George Maier as sheriff. He indicated that he had been is discussion with both the Ohio attorney general's office and the state of Ohio auditor's offices regarding whether or not he should recognize the appointment. However, he said, neither would put their advice in writing.
Well, that has changed in that the state auditor has communicated with Harold that he believes that the Stark County auditor should recognize Maier.
Here is a copy of Harold's letter to area media wherein he reverses himself and now says he WILL recognize Maier as sheriff.
George Maier says He's a Longterm Sheriff
Will Dordea End Up Being Stark County Sheriff?
Auditor Alan Harold Weighs in Like in Zeiglergate
And this time around George T. Maier has fully emerged out of the political closet to join brother Johnnie in a "all decks on hand" political fight to make George Stark County sheriff.
The SCPR believes that Johnnie, as Stark County Democratic Party chairman, used his position as party chairman to endorse the-then Demcratic candidate for governor (2006) Ted Strickland who was engaged in a primary fight, and was later able to parlay his having been "the first party chairman" to endorse into a Strickland appointment of brother George to a second-in-command position in the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
While George was fully engaged in sweeping the brother Johnnie sponsored Kathy Catazaro-Perry into power as mayor of Massillon going back to the 1970s fight with foe and long time mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr.; most Stark Countians were likely unaware that this formerly second-in-command of the Ohio State Highway Patrol shared the super political genes of his brother.
George was rewarded for his effort (reference the 2011 Catazaro-Perry mayoralty campaign) in being named Catazaro-Perry's safety director. Court pleadings indicate Maier had "a gap in employment" from January 11, 2011 until February 1, 2012.
The February 5th operation has to remove all doubt about how politicized George is.
And hand-in-glove with the Maier operation is Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez.
For all the Maier Political Machine clout, the SCPR believes that but for Gonzalez abandoning any pretense of who he was for as between Maier and his foe for the sheriff's nomination Lt. Lou Darrow and but for Gonzalez ruling that members of the Stark County Democratic Central Committee (SCDCC) were not allowed to vote by secret ballot, Darrow would have been the selection of the Democrats.
A motion was presented to delay the SCDCC vote to February 22nd. But Gonzalez and the committee brushed the motion aside.
What a delay in the selection process would have provided is an opportunity for Gonzalez in his capacity as chairman, having been named in Lou Darrow's Writ of Prohibition filed with the Ohio Supreme Court on February 4th (one day before the SCDCC met), to, through his legal counsel, have worked with Darrow's counsel and the Supreme Court to get an agreed to delay until the court ruled and thereby have preserved the SCDCC's ability to reconvene should the court rule against the Party's procedure as being legal.
Seventeen (17) days remained from February 5th for the Party to act within.
But he didn't.
And, as The Report, writes below, he likely throws the selection of the next Stark County sheriff into the hands of the Stark County commissioners should the Dems/Maier eventually lose in the Supreme Court.
The "rush to appoint" may well cost Maier the opportunity to remain sheriff for the long term.
On Monday (February 11th), George Maier came to the Stark County commissioners meeting to get his bonding set and accepted by the commissioners.
Afterwards, The Report asked Maier if he was going to be a long term sheriff or a short term sheriff?
We shall see, George.
The SCPR can seeing Johnnie lecturing George right now. "Don't you ever give Martin Olson and his Stark County Political Report time of day, ever again!!!"
If fact, after the camera shot and unfortunately not on camera, Maier launched a verbal attack on yours truly.
The essence of his complaint was that The Report is unfair and never has anything good to say about the Maiers and their political friends and that all the SCPR is going to get out of a Maier sheriff's administration is what is public record."
Sounds like Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero, no?
Well, for starters all the SCPR expects Maier is public record information.
Secondly, that if he or Johnnie thinks the the SCPR has been unfair, The Report will do and publish an unedited video for as long as they want to talk challenging SCPR blogs/points-of-view.
The SCPR has requested a "no holds barred" interview.of George.
But do not hold your breath on this one.
The Maiers are never, ever going to allow independent persons like yours truly to pose unrestricted questions.
Johnnie apparently likes his "Wizard of Oz" role of standing behind the curtain.
Why won't he/brother George come out and face incisive questioning?
They don't mind the taxpayer funded dollars they receive as holders of public office.
To the SCPR, Johnnie for sure, and it appears George are consumed with the desire to be in absolute control of others. Seemingly, they think they are accountable to nobody.
For them and others who want to avoid public accountability, the SCPR is a nightmare.
Yours truly has every reason to favorably inclined to the Maiers.
Middle daughter Heidi was Johnnie's page in the Ohio House about 1997. He asked me to run for 50th district state representative in 2002 and again in 2004 and was very supporting of my candidacy.
At one time, yours truly thought he was primarily interested in quality government throughout Stark County. But with his handling of the Billy Sherer matter (2008 - his asking Sherer to step aside from his being a member of the Stark County Board of Elections) was the culmination of a growing disillusionment with him.
Yours truly now thinks that it is a close call what Maier treasurers first and foremost: politics and his personal stake therein or good government?
So the Maiers can try to make it personal all they want, but such is not the case with the SCPR.
Anyone who reads the SCPR understands that it is not a question of friend or foe with The Report, it is a question of efficient and effective government for the people.
Back to the matter at hand.
Darrow can be thankful that he did not win.
For rather than the Maiers being potentially known has having cost Stark County taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in the ensuing court fight that was sure to follow, it would have been the Darrow name that likely would have lived on in the annals of Stark County political infamy.
For there is no doubt with the Stark County Political Report that the selection process implemented by Chairman Gonzalez was not a legal procedure and that it would be surprising indeed if the Ohio Supreme Court does not remove Maier from office and replace him with Sheriff Timothy Swanson.
On Tuesday, Swanson filed a quo warranto action against Maier in the Ohio Supreme Court.
A legal proceeding during which an individual's right to hold an office or governmental privilege is challenged.
Swanson makes a well-reasoned case that Maier is not qualified de jure (as a matter of law) by the standards of Ohio Revised Code Section 311.01 to be Stark County sheriff.
Readers owe it to themselves to read Swanson's complaint. Here is the Link to the Ohio Supreme Court website to gain access to the pleading.
And to add to the bad things (at least in terms of Stark County Democratic interests are concerned) that might come out of this consider the following.
By the time that the Tuesday filed (February 12) in quo warranto lawsuit filed by Timothy Swanson (who had been serving as interim sheriff at the behest of the Stark County commissioners) is decided, the time for the Democrats to appoint a successor to Mike McDonald (who though having won the November election against Republican Larry Dordea had to step aside because of an unspecified illness).
And if the Ohio Supreme Court restores Swanson to office, what next?
If the SCPR understands the law on this eventuality, the appointment will then fall to the Stark County commissioners.
What is the political make up of the Stark County commissioners?
Republican Janet Creighton, Republican Richard Regula and Democrat Tom Bernabei.
And let's just put their thinking caps on.
Who among the aspirants has put his "blood, sweat, tears and toil" in to running for Stark County sheriff?
Republican Larry Dordea.
Do most police officials (whether or not they voted for him) think he is qualified to be sheriff? They do.
Could he pass a Ohio Revised Code 311.01 qualification test? He could.
A "no brainer," no?
Let's appoint Larry Dordea, they think among themselves, no?
And there you have it folks, the man who has lost two elections for sheriff gets appointed Stark County sheriff.
And if Randy Gonzalez thinks he got a lot of Democratic Party flak in appointing Republican Alex Zumbar county treasurer, he ain't seen nothin' yet.
It will likely be ex-Stark County Democratic Party Chairman Randy Gonzalez if the Ohio Supreme Court upsets the Maier/Gonzalez applecart.
Of course, for that scenario to play out is all part and parcel of the Ohio Supreme Court finding that Swanson's quo warranto is let's say warranted.
The SCPR has had an extensive legal analytic discussion with a Stark County attorney who has had a wealth of experience dealing with Ohio Supreme Court cases.
Tim Swanson's case has been very well put together by North Canton attorney Greg Beck and strongly suggests that Tim Swanson will be restored to office.
But to get to the end game, tens of thousands dollars in legal fees perhaps mushrooming to the multi-six figure level will have been expended.
Who will likely end up paying the entire bill?
You've got it, the Stark County taxpayers!
All of which people will be saying (in hindsight) that Chairman Gonzalez could have avoided in getting the process/procedure correct in the beginning.
But the SCPR believes that the Maier Political Machine were having none of it.
The Report thinks that their political instincts were telling them that "possession of office through Democratic appointment to office is 9/10ths of the law" and that it was pell-mell ahead making their political power work for them.
Even at that, it was surprising that Darrow (with the deck stacked against him) only loses by eight votes.
Stark County auditor Alan Harold is bracing for yet another Zeiglergate.
"... this office [will not] recognize Mr. Maier's appointment until the conclusion of this matter by the Ohio Supreme Court."
This phrase raises questions galore.
Does Maier get paid? Can he use county resources?
Will Maier sue Harold?
Stark County will recall that Harold denied Zeigler such basics as a computer
So the Maiers/Gonzalez have had their day in the political sun.
But it is now the Stark County taxpayers who will be "catching it on the nose."