* Note: Whether or not George T. Maier is the lawfully constituted sheriff of Stark County is being considered by the Ohio Supreme Court in the case: 2013-0274, State of Ohio ex rel. Timothy A. Swanson v. George T. Maier (LINK).
One of the most imperial preambles ever uttered is that of the Pharoah of Egypt: LET IT BE WRITTEN, LET IT BE SAID!
What does that have to do with Stark County Sheriff* George T. Maier?
Well, yesterday the SCPR received a telephone call from one of many Stark County tipsters (this one particularly being in a position to know what he is talking about) who let it be known that SheriffI* Maier is spending "thousands upon thousands" of Stark County taxpayer money (reference: Stark Countinans passed a 0.5% sales tax specifically for the "Criminal Justice System" in November, 2011) for the sole purpose of self-aggrandizement.
Apparently, Sheriff Maier's personal insecurity (in terms of whether or not he is to remain sheriff) is a motivating factor in engaging a Stark County version of LET IT BE WRITTEN, LET IT BE SAID as if the self-heralding will have any effect on the Supreme Court's decision.
The message from the SCPR source:
"I have been getting some calls about Sheriff Maier and the complaints that I have been getting is that he has been spending thousands of dollars of putting his name on everything."Evidence of what the SCPR source is talking about comes in the form of a grandiose rework of the front page of the Stark County Sheriff's Office webpage (LINK).
"Parking passes for the Stark County sheriff employees which is absurd because they have their own parking lot. What do they need a parking pass for? But it has his name all over it."
"... $1,700 to paint his door, new signs, stickers. Just spending thousands and thousands of the taxpayers money just for self-promotion that he is the sheriff which is really absurd that after ... [one reads] those briefs [in Swanson v. Maier] he is not going to be in office very much longer."
More corroborative evidence?
Several weeks ago yours truly was in discussion with Stark Countian Bruce Nordman (a Canton Vassar Park resident) who is highly enamored with Sheriff Maier on the basis of having worked with him on getting the Stark County jail up to full capacity (501 beds).
This citizen almost single handedly organized a job fair for returned (returning) military veterans to staff numerous unfilled deputy sheriff positions (about 41 or so) vacated by layoffs when Stark County was in full financial crisis in 2010/2011 so that the jail could be brought up to capacity.
Nordman and a collection of Vassar Park residents believe getting criminals in jail is part of the solution to solving what they believe is a rampant crime problem in Canton.
During the discussion Nordman flashed out a post card sized "thank you" note from Maier to Nordman for his help in putting the job fair togther.
Well, the note was not just written on a scrap of paper. It was one "fancy Dan" post card which had to have a significant expense tied to it if the sheriff is using it as a matter of course to thank those many Stark Countians that help Stark County law enforcement.
The SCPR has brought the matter to the attention of Stark County Commissioner Tom Bernabei.
Why Commissioner Bernabei?
Because he and fellow Commissioners Janet Creighton and Richard Regula have gone to great pains to assure Stark County taxpayers that they would monitor the spending of new monies flowing into the county treasury to ensure that they were spent wisely, prudently and efficiently.
Unfortunately, the commissioners have no direct control over the likes of Sheriff Maier and other Stark County elected officials who receive Stark County taxpayer money in the annual Stark County budgeting and appropriation process.
For instance, during the process the commissioners (especially Creighton) have made a big deal out of their expectation that department heads not grant employees (many of whom who had not received a pay raise for perhaps four/five years) pay raises during the 2013 budget cycle in excess of 2% with the hope that the "'for raises' built into the appropriation" money would not go by and large to a few preferred employees (i.e. 4, 5 or higher percentages) which others getting less or no increase.
Well, the SCPR has indications that the commissioners' desire on the matter is being ignored. Yours truly is already working on an analysis of Stark County auditor generated numbers in an endeavor to establish chapter and verse verification of The Report's suspicion.
It will be interesting to see whether or not the commissioners publicly call out the sheriff on his apparently wholesale expenditure of the plastering of his name Sheriff George T. Maier all over creation.
The SCPR doubts that the commissioners will utter a word.
Because they all seem to be enamored with George T. Maier.
So they had better hope that the Ohio Supreme Court validates Maier as sheriff for if he is not, then the county faces a double expense of undoing all the signage that Maier as done when a new sheriff takes office.
Even folks favorable to Maier think he has no better than a 50/50 chance to remain as sheriff.
Others, including the SCPR, think the chances are significantly less than that.
Perhaps a saving grace (which, in and of itself, is no better than 50/50 or less that it will materialize) will be that if Maier is removed from office is that he will become the Democratic nominee in the 2014 primary election and go on to defeat the Republican candidate (presumably Hartville Chief of Police Larry Dordea) and then can pick up where he left off so that Stark County taxpayers will not be out "thousands upon thousands of dollars."
The commissioners should call Sheriff Maier into a commissioner work session and have him detail exactly what he has spent in county taxpayer dollars and to provide a justification for having done so in light of his tenuous hold on being Stark County sheriff?
Such, folks, would be real accountability.
Rhetoric is one thing, action on one word is quite another.
Will the commissioners call Sheriff Maier out on his - premature, at best - expenditures in letting the people of Stark County know - "George T. Maier Stark County sheriff?"