It appears that the folks who run state of Ohio departments of government are wary of anything coming to them out of Stark County.
Since April 1, 2009 when the story broke that the-then Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler was accusing his chief deputy Vince Frustaci stolen taxpayer money from the county treasury, there have been a number of Stark County originated events (including the Frustaci revelation) that have kept our county in the limelight of attention with the bureaucrats who run Ohio's capital city.
Frustaci subsequently pled guilty.
But for about two and one-half years following the revelation, activities which included:
- the involvement of the State of Ohio Auditor (auditing the Stark treasury and finding deficit management oversight which Zeigler steadfastly denied), and
- the Ohio Supreme Court (determining whether or not the-then Stark commissioners [Bosley, Ferguson and Meeks - all Democrats] had properly removed Zeigler from office)
- Note: The Supreme Court found that they had not used proper constitutional safeguards and therefore returned Zeigler to office. He did work out an agreement with the-then commissioners Bernabei, Creighton and Ferguson on October 19, 2011 to retire/resign
The "other screwy happenings" have included:
- the election debacle in Lake Township (November, 2011 - SCPR prior blog LINK) as township trustees first appeared to have won a hard fought election to take the Uniontown Police Department township wide, only to have the Supreme Court overturn the election results because of deficient ballot language that originated with township legal counsel but was never corrected despite timely word from the Ohio secretary of state of the need for a correction,
- the selection in February, 2013 of a sheriff (former Massillon safety director George T. Maier) by the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee to replace "the unable to take office for health reasons" Mike McDonald (elected in November, 2012) with Maier having questionable - as a matter of law - qualifications under Ohio Revised Code Section 311.01.
- Note: Maier's right to serve is under review with the Ohio Supreme Court as this blog is written,
- the action of mayor-elect Kathy Catazaro-Perry requesting (in December, 2011) a State of Ohio Auditor audit of Massillon city finances (denied by Auditor Yost) only to be renewed by her as mayor in May, 2013 to prompt Massillon being put on either an Ohio monitored fiscal watch or fiscal emergency.
Spillover from Stark's negative name in Columbus was evident (at least to the SCPR) this past Monday night at Canton City Council meeting when Canton law director Joe Martuccio got up at Council's Committee of the Whole meeting which precedes the regular council meeting and explained why there was an item on council's agenda to amend Canton's ballot initiative to have city voters decide whether or not to tax themselves 4 mills in property tax to support the city parks and recreation function.
It appears to the SCPR that Stark County may be acquiring - at least from the secretary of state's office perspective and, perhaps, from the state auditor - a "watch them" and "give them special scrutiny" as a consequence of Stark County political and administrative history since April 1, 2009.
Nearly everybody and most entities want to make a name for themselves.
But not a negative image that may be taking hold in the Columbus bureaucracy on Stark County government.
Here is Law Director Joe Martuccio addressing the parks and recreation property tax levy amendment issue: