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Thursday, January 31, 2013

(VIDEO: COM'R BERNABEI) PROSECUTOR FERRERO REFUSES CONLEY DEMAND TO FILE SUIT AGAINST STARK COMMON PLEAS JUDGE FRANK FORCHIONE ON ORDER FOR STUDER FINE DONATION TO SANDY HOOK VICTIMS. WILL CONLEY'S CLIENT (MARCELLI) FOLLOW THROUGH WITH A SUIT OF HIS OWN?




 VIDEO
COMMISSIONER & BOARD PRESIDENT
TOM BERNABEI
EXPLAINS
WHY
EXECUTIVE SESSION CANCELLED

CRAIG CONLEY FORCED CANCELLATION?

From a January 25, 2013 SCPR blog:
Reacting to an order recently put on by Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge Frank Forchione in the Scott D. Studer case that as part of his sentence on having pled guilty in multiple counts Illegal Use of a Minor in a Nudity-Oriented Material or Performance [R.C. 21907.323(A)(1)](F2) included a requirement that he pay a fine of $5,000.00 "to be forwarded the victims of Newtown, Connecticut tragedy," [civic activist and local attorney] Conley fired off a letter (January 23rd) to Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero asking him, on behalf of a client, to institute a civil action against Forchione to recover the money to the Stark County treasury.

Readers will recall as reported in local media that Studer (a former Jackson High School freshman basketball coach) had videotaped numerous student athletes (since 2005) taking showers.
Fast forward to today.

Conley was poised to have his office administrative person at the filing station of the Stark County clerk of courts this morning at 8:30 a.m. in order to file a law suit on behalf of client Thomas Marcelli against Forchione should the action demanded of Stark prosecutor John Ferrero go unheeded.

For more background on the demand, here are links to two prior blogs written by the SCPR detailing the reasons why Conley  has pressed Ferrero's office for action.
Well, yesterday at 2:15 p.m.  Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ross Rhodes (chief of the civil division) wrote Conley this letter of refusal to sue Forchione:


Rhodes letter was enough to give Conley "pause for thought."

Why?

Conley says so that he has time to read and analyze the Rhodes legal citation of Wilson v. Neu (LINK).

Moreover, Conley says that if his analysis leads him believe that Rhodes is correct in his statement "it is doubtful that such an action can be maintained," then a suit will not be filed.

The case has to do with whether or not a judge is immune from lawsuit for the type of order that Judge Forchione made in the Studer case.

Other important language in the Rhodes letter for Conley to digest has to do with a possible determination that the prosecutor's office deems itself to have a conflict in interest (as previously posited by Conley and implication that the Board of Stark County Commissioners would become a party in interest because appointing a special counsel  (and the appointment of a visiting judge) would entail expenditures from the county treasury.

Presumably, Rhodes is setting up a justification for whomever serves as counsel to qualify to meet in executive session with the commissioners as the case proceeds.

The SCPR believes that impliedly he is suggesting to Conley that he could be responsible to reimburse the county for those costs should he proceed with the case and lose.

Another interesting development in the matter today was the cancellation by commissioners of a scheduled executive session to discuss the Conley demand.


On Tuesday Conley wrote the commissioners (excerpts) to wit:


Bingo!

The first thing asked by President Tom Bernabei when he convenes a commissioners meeting is whether or not any amendments to the meeting agenda are requested by parties to the meeting.

Chief Administrator Mike Hanke piped in that he did indeed have an amendment.  The amendment was to excise the executive session from the agenda.  (see video below).

Even if Conley concludes that he does not have an effective means to hold Judge Forchione accountable for what he believes the judge was not entitled as a matter of law to do, Conley performed a public service by raising the issue.

The Report believes that most everyday Stark Countians support Forchione's order.  So what Conley has stirred up is not a popular thing for him to have done. 

The Report takes Conley at his word.

He raised the issue not because he personally objected to a charity being benefited.  But because he is first and foremost dedicated to the "rule of law."

Even those who support what Judge Forchione did should honor our system of jurisprudence and respect those who have the courage to take unpopular actions.

After the meeting, the SCPR sat down and talked to Commissioner Bernabei about the decision to remove the executive session from the agenda.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

HAVE THE JACKSON TOWNSHIP TRUSTEES GOTTEN THEMSELVES "INTO A PICKLE" ON ZINK SITUATION? IS THE WAY OUT FOR JACKSON TO FOLLOW PLAIN TOWNSHIP'S MODEL?



Could it be that Jackson Township is going to have two new trustees come January 1, 2014?


Its looking like it more and more to the SCPR.

Why?

Over the handling of the Chief David Zink matter, that's why?

According to area media reports, the trustees on November 30, 2012 hired Attorney John Hill (Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs/Akron, Ohio) to investigate allegations that the chief (a 26 year veteran of the department who became its head in 2010) had made unwanted sexual advances towards one of the Jackson Police Department's employees.

The investigative report was back to the trustees by their December 18th meeting and after spending a lengthy time in executive session considering the report on how to react came out of the session (having reached an accord with Zink) and in the voice of the trustees' president (James N. Walters) made the following pronouncement:  (an extract from the minutes of the meeting)
Walters:  After reading and hearing the independent report from the out of County investigator, this Board determines that, I move that Chief Zink be suspended for one month, that he payback the time that he has been out on administrative leave during the investigation and that he engage in training and counseling.

Walters moved and Pizzino seconded a motion that Chief Zink be suspended for one month, that he pay back the time he has been on administrative leave during the investigation and that he engage in training and counseling.

                                                                            Hawke      yes
                                                                            Walters     yes
                                                                            Pizzino      yes
Hmm?

So what did Hill's report have to say?

Again, according to media reports, that Chief Zink violated the township's sexual harassment policy going back to 2007, in that he:
  • tried to have a physical or dating relationship with a Jackson PD female police officer who he supervises,
  • knew that the advances were unwanted by her
The report also indicated that Hill determined that "the employee made poor judgements about reporting and addressing the advances ... [and] in that respect, she shares some responsibility for the situation continuing and deteriorating — but her responsibility is secondary to Zink’s and ultimately attributable to the inappropriate environment he initiated and fostered."

Insofar as the trustees are concerned, the political spillover to them is:
  • what took them so long to figure out that there was a problem?
  • why did they elect to keep Zink on the job?
So far it appears that trustees have no answer and with the elections less than a year away Hawke and Pizzino could be paying the price come November.

In keeping Zink on the job, the trustees have created a lightning rod effect that will migrate to them each and every time civic lighting strikes.

Individual citizens are weighing in with "why didn't the trustees fire him?" and on January 22nd, the Jackson police union wrote a letter that spells nothing but troubles between the trustees and the union.



Some of the key points of union dissatisfaction:
  • "Chief Zink's actions are significantly disruptive to the effective functioning of the police force and suggest and utter incapacity to function as a leader and as Chief Executive of [the Jackson] Police Department,"
  • "Zink's actions which occurred over a number of year ... ."
  •  "Chief Zink treats his position as an opportunity for personal gain as opposed as to an opportunity to serve the citizens of [Jackson] Township,"
  • "Chief Zink's standards with regard to other officers of the Police Department seem to far exceed the standards to which he holds himself. ... Township trustees seem to be willing to hold Chief Zink to such a low standard themselves" [which disparity in application of standards. according to Piotrowski, will be used by the union in the future to the advantage of its Jackson sited members], 
  • [That the complaining party and witnesses being transferred involuntarily] "from preferred assignments .... is clear evidence of additional retaliation [which could lead to them] pursuing EEOC complaints ... ."
Pretty heavy stuff, no?

So do you think the trustees are "in a pickle?"

There does appear to be the possibility of wiggle room for the trustees to take additional action against Zink.

Township officials have referred to an allegation that Chief Zink, sometime in 2007, improperly (for personal reasons) used the  Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS) database to state officials for investigation.

If the state investigation comes back with a finding against Zink, perhaps, township will be revisiting the matter of his discipline?

Another ramification may be that in their handling of the Zink matter, the trustees have irreparably harmed the public's confidence in Jackson township policing in terms of the trustees' ability to manage it and that therefore it is time for trustees to abandon having its own police department in favor of contracting  policing out to the Stark County sheriff a la Plain Township.

Plain Township (28 square miles) which is about 25% larger than Jackson Township (36 square miles) population wise (51,000 to 40,000)  gets first rate police services from the Stark County sheriff without all the headaches (according to Trustee Louis Giavasis) that Jackson officials have brought on themselves for about $1.5 million.

What is Jackson paying?

How about $7.5 million!


Here are the key provisions of the Plain/Stark County Sheriff agreement:







For all the trials and tribulations that Jacksonians are currently undergoing with its police department and paying at a premium ($7.5 million to $1.5 million) to boot; isn't it time for the trustees to consider solving the township's policing problem by going the Plain Township route?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

COMMISSIONERS DOWN TO TWO CANDIDATES FOR STARK CO. CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR!




The Stark County Political Report learned a short time ago that the Stark County commissioners have narrowed their choice for chief county administrator to Brant Luther and Chris Nichols.

Commissioners will conduct a second interview of the two finalists Wednesday morning in a special executive session.

President of the Stark County commissioners Tom Bernabei told the report that it is possible that the commissioners will announce a selection at tomorrow's regular weekly meeting, it is not likely.

He said it is more probable that the announcement will be made some time within the next week.

RE:  LUTHER

Brant Luther has a number of  jobs since his first listed employment according to his Linked-In listing, to wit:
  • Director, CASA/GAL [guardianship] Program Stark County Family Court
    January 2007 – Present (6 years 1 month),
  • Part-Time Private Law PracticeMay 2002 – Present (10 years 9 months),
  • Magistrate / Staff Attorney Stark County Probate Court
    January 2005 – December 2006 (2 years),
  • County Auditor [Republican] November 2003 – December 2004 (1 year 2 months) [having been appointed to succeed current Commissioner Janet Creighton when she was elected mayor of Canton and which he lost to Democrat Kim Perez in November, 2004],
  • Chief Fiscal Officer of Stark County, Ohio,
  • First Ward Councilman Alliance City Council, Alliance, Ohio
    January 2000 – November 2003 (3 years 11 months)
  • Law Clerk Stark County Family Court
    January 2000 – April 2003 (3 years 4 months)
In April 2011, he applied for the Stark County  judgeship that went to Rosemary Hall.

He ran an unsuccessful campaign as the Republican candidate state representative (the "old" 61st Ohio House District) in 2006.

RE:  NICHOLS

Chris Nichols is an interesting candidate mostly on the basis of his having been a Canton Township trustee (Republican) for over 12 years.   But his administrative experience has all been in the private sector.  The Report believes that the commissioners are looking to hire someone who has government administrative experience.

Here is his Linked-In listed experience:
  • Director, Revenue Assurance First Communications Privately Held; 201-500 employees; FCOM; Telecommunications industry May 2002 – Present (10 years 9 months 
  • Township Trustee Canton Township January 2001 – Present (12 years 1 month) Canton, Ohio Area

IS CONLEY CHALLENGE TO FORCHIONE SANDY HOOK ORDER "SOUR GRAPES?"



Several days ago the SCPR published a blog (LINK) about civic activist and local attorney Craig T. Conley demand to Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero that he initiate a legal action against Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge Frank Forchione to recover to the Stark County treasury the sum of $5,000 ordered paid by one Scott Studer (having pled guilty in multiple counts Illegal Use of a Minor in a Nudity-Oriented Material or Performance [R.C. 21907.323(A)(1)](F2)) for the benefit of the shooting victims of the Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

Readers will recall as reported in local media that Studer (a former Jackson High School freshman basketball coach) had videotaped numerous student athletes (since 2005) taking showers.

Here are copies of Judge Forchione's order, letter of transmittal to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.
 

A consequence of Conley initiative is that folks are weighing in pro and con on the matter in the comments section of the Repository article:   Attorney challenges judge’s decision to send $5,000 fine to Newtown, Matt Rink, January 23, 2013.

One particular commenter  (going under the screen name warmsunshine) stands out in that he seems to have information that is unique to his prior involvement with Conley and perhaps even Judged Forchione.

The comments:  
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black Conley never missed a chance to get his name in the paper. This is just another opportunity for HIM to grandstand. This is the same attorney who tried to stop government funds going to help build a YMCA and now he is offended money is going to families of very young children who were slaughtered. His client is on here daily complaining about everything and never saw good thing in any Government at any level. Your thoughts and heart were in the right place Judge. 
 and
TMM he did file to run for Commissioner and chickened out. He also had a case infront [sic] of this Judge that went to the Supreme court and that did not go his way. Now he is putting himself in a position that he never has to go infront [sic] of him again and gets free press out of it too. He is using you to promote himself. Did you go to him or did he come to you?  (emphasis added)
Conley tells the SCPR that he is pretty certain he knows who warmsunshine is.  The suspect is a public official and well known Stark County political figure who likely (according to Conley) has a rich association with Judge Forchione. 

The Report did check with the named individual who denies he merits Conley's suspicion.  

It is fair enough for those who unhappy with a person such as Conley to question his motivation for acting.

Conley got sued for malpractice (Estate of Cletus P. McCauley et al vs. Craig T. Conley, et al (Stark County, 2011 CV 02325).in 2011 in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas and Judge Forchione was assigned by the court's random selection process to hear the case (which is still in progress).

Because he had a difficult experience (from his perspective) with Judge Forchione in a case encaptioned Public Salt Company v. Diane Varavvyas, (Stark County, 2010 CV 01992), Conley elected to file on November 14, 2011 an Affidavit of Disqualification in the Ohio Supreme Court against the judge asking that he be disqualified from hearing the McCauley case.

And Judge Forchione filed a response which, of course, was at odds with Conley's account.

The Supreme Court refused to disqualify Forchione on December 30, 2011. (LINK to the decision)

Interestingly enough, Forchione decided to recuse himself 9-1/2 months later.


 
Conley says the recusal puts the matter to rest and shows that he does not have any motivation from the disqualification affair for pursuing the payment of the $5,000 Studer payment to the Stark County treasury.

He further says that even if he had a motive, even a bad motive, which, of course, he denies that he has; such is no answer for Judge Forchione for doing that which he has no judicial authority to do.

Only Craig T. Conley knows for sure in his heart of hearts whether or not he has an ulterior motive in acting on the Studer case fine sentencing matter.

He goes on to say:  "what difference does his motivation or lack of motivation make one way or the other?"

And doesn't he have a point?


We have all heard the saying that "the road to Hell in paved with good intentions."

The converse of that is many times the truth comes from people with ulterior motives.

Conley is not the only person in this mix whose motives could be questioned.

As Conley tells it, warmsunshine may have a motive.

If he is who Conley thinks he is,  Conley asserts that was a member of the YMCA Board of Directors and a member of Jackson Township officialdom when Conley (2004) filed a federal lawsuit against the Jackson trustees.  (LINK)



According to the court:
The gravamen of Plaintiff's seven count Complaint is that Defendants' donations of money and office space and promises to make further donations [$1 million] to the Jackson Township Young Men's Christian Association violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Well, Conley lost the case.

So applying Conley's own standard (i.e. the matter is over and done with), with the alleged motivated being on the winning side nonetheless; doesn't the motivation argument lose its sting?

But in the SCPR's way of thinking, motivations are something to be considered in trying to figure out why people do things and say things.

And it appears likely to The Report that both Conley and warmsunshine are at least tinged with motive. 

Conley says he suspects that the information about his effort to disqualify Judge Forchione may have come from the judge himself because:
  • it would be too much to expect that an unconnected person would be delving into case files just as a matter of general curiosity to have spied his [Conley's] affidavit, and 
  • the person he suspects has historically had work proximate contact with Forchione
The SCPR thinks that Conley might be underestimating the inclination of a non-Judge Forchione connected person (in terms of being put up to it by the judge) to have nosed around on his cases on CJIS (Criminal Justice Information System) for case names with the name Conley attached to them looking for something that the researcher might deem to be negative on him about.

In any event, it would be fair game for Judge Forchione or any person willing to identify themselves with their real name to bring up the affidavit as possibly being a motivation for having made an issue of the judge's Sandy Hook order.

As it is fair game for Conley to turn tables on warmsunshine.

A key difference here is Conley is willing to be named in making his accusation and warmsunshine is not.  He takes the coward's way:  anonymity.

Cowardice is not a characteristic of one of the SCPR's favorite online Repository front and center commenters; namely,  Don Cirelli.

Here is how he weighed-in on the matter:
I've always considered Frank Forchione to be a straight shooter and a stand-up guy. I have a different opinion about Craig Conley. But having said that, I think Forchione erred in giving this fine to charity, regardless of who received it. Local governments all over this country are struggling to stay afloat, including Stark County. In such times, government officials have no business giving money taxpayers money to charities. That fine belongs to the taxpayers of Stark County. It belongs in the General Fund, period.
"l have a different opinion about Craig Conley," Cirelli says.


Yours truly disagrees with Cirelli on his opinion of Conley and his being a "straight shooter and a stand up guy."

Fair enough.  We're both entitled to our opinions

Cireilli goes on to say:

"I think Forchione erred in giving this fine to charity, regardless of who received it. Local governments all over this country are struggling to stay afloat, including Stark County. In such times, government officials have no business giving money taxpayers money to charities. That fine belongs to the taxpayers of Stark County. It belongs in the General Fund, period."

Amen! Don. 

Most importantly, he uses his name.

Another significant difference between warmsunshine and Conley is that Conley is trying to achieve something with his action for the taxpayers of Stark County and, of course, for the rule of law.

Warmsunshine doesn't appear to have any public purpose with his comments.  His seeming goal is to discredit Conley.

An exercise of:   "When you don't have an answer to the message, attack the messenger?" 

To the SCPR, while motivation is a factor to be noted, in the final analysis the measurement should be whether or not an action/statement has a predominant purpose of serving the public good.

And if, as suggested by Conley, Judge Forchione is implicated with warmsunshine's effort, such is not a good thing.

Forchione has every right in the world to come out publicly against Conley as he did before the Supreme Court in McCauley.

At the end of the day, the SCPR is in favor of speakers and doers who have a public purpose to the speaking and doing and are willing to identify themselves.

Call it "sour grapes," if you will.

But it is through the Conleys of the world that the public figures out whether a saying/doing is a good thing or a bad thing or maybe even beyond that:  "the lawful thing!"

Monday, January 28, 2013

(VIDEO: RICK CAMPBELL - STARK RECORDER) MAN! DOES THIS GUY WANT FOUR (NO, NOT FOUR BUT SEVEN) MORE EMPLOYEES! OVERWHELMS STARK COMMISSIONERS WITH NUMBERS GALORE?



UPDATE:  12:15 PM

RECORDER WANTS TO GO UP "7" NOT "4" NEW EMPLOYEES 2012 TO 2013

This morning the Stark County commissioners held a work session on the upcoming 2013 county budget.

In the original blog today, The Report had understood that Stark County Recorder Rick Campbell was asking for an increase of four employees over 2012 for 2013.

Wrong!

That's how (to be charitable) confusing the department presentation was last week when made.

Apparently, the commissioners were confused themselves inasmuch as they had Campbell's chief deputy (Gonazalez) back in today to provide clarification as to the exact number of employee increase the recorder's office was requesting.

For the recorder's office itself the number is four (4), but when you add in an additional request for three (3) for the department's microfilming operation the grand total is seven (7).

Here is an excerpt from a document provided by Gonzalez today.




ORIGINAL BLOG

VIDEO:  SEE "TESTY" CREIGHTON/CAMPBELL EXCHANGE

What an experience!

Stark County Recorder Rick Campbell and his chief deputy recorder Kody Gonzalez putting the numbers on the Stark County commissioners.

Most people who know Stark County Commissioner Tom Bernabei think that he is "one smart cookie."

But yours truly detected that his eyes were glazing over as Campbell and Gonzalez presented their Powerpoint "fog of numbers" at last Tuesday's commissioner work session on the upcoming 2013 budget.

Alternatively, Bernabei was wrinkling his forehead as one typically does when things don't seem quite right and demand further scrutiny.

So what were Campbell and Gonzalez up to with their kaleidoscope of numbers?

How about "bury them (the commissioners) with carefully contexted numbers?"

The SCPR believes the  presentation was so "over the top" in terms of orchestration that Campbell and Gonzalez and therefore condescending to the commissioner that they will be lucky to get half of what they asked for.

Well, what did they ask for?

They asked for an increase of four (4) new employees to be hired in 2013.

(Update note:  recorder's office only, request includes 3 for the microfilm operation of the recorder's office for a total of 7)

How many recorder's office employees are there now?

Well, it took about 20 minutes for the actual number to come out.

(Update note:  it really wasn't clear until today how many total employees (recording employees and microfilming employees) work for Rick Campbell)

In the Powerpoint, a slide implied that there are four, to wit:

(Update note:  actually there are 7.8 [see update chart above]; as far as the SCPR can determine the chart below showing 4 does not square up with the new chart provided today by Gonzalez).


And its chest thumping time if you are Campbell and Gonzalez, no?

A 73% savings to Stark County! 

Well, the SCPR believes not exactly.

(Update note:  SCPR original skepticism turned out to be well-founded)

Notwithstanding that Campbell said at the beginning of Tuesday's discussion that they (he and Gonzalez) had worked hard to provide "accurate" numbers.

Apparently, the presenters didn't figure that the hearers and readers of their numbers just might have the ability to understand that while a given number (or numbers, as the case might be) may be accurate in a limited sense and certain contexts, when one factors in an out-of-appropriate-context presentation, the accuracy vanishes.

For instance,  in questioning initiated by Commissioner Bernabei (again, some 20 minutes into the presentation - see the video below), it came out that "no," there are more than four in the "total" of the recorder's department employment as one might imply (that is, the four number) from the chart displayed above.

How about 10 or 8 or maybe even 7 (depending on whether or not one counts Campbell and Gonzalez and another unnamed employee)?

So if the four seven requested 2013 hires are added to the existing number of employees (pick your number:  10, 8 or 7), then the total is either 14, 12 or 11 17, 15 or 14 to be compared to the 2010 level (one has to ask is that number accurate?) of 12 13 employees which means:  (see Update chart above)

Hardly a 73% decrease?

(Update note:  how about a 47% decrease [8/15]?)

Nothing like spinning (or burying) the numbers (the real numbers) so as to become incredible?

The SCPR does not see any reason why Campbell and Gonzalez should not be included in the total numbers on the job in the recorder's office.

If, however, one believes Stark County auditor Alan Harold, it would meaningless to count Campbell, in terms of his pitching in and helping out the working class employees of the office when things get dicey with vacations and sick days; inasmuch as Harold says that he estimates that Campbell spends relatively little time at the recorder's office.

How does Harold know that?  He didn't explain.  But knowing Harold, he has his "in a position to know" sources who are feeding him information. 

It does appear that Gonzalez is "the brains behind the operation" in the recorder's office.

As well he should be, no?

A few years ago when the SCPR questioned Campbell on the Gonzalez hire as chief deputy recorder, he responded that it had nothing to do (as did Gonzalez's father) with father Randy being the chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party.  Rather, he said, it had to do with obvious leadership qualities and skills that were apparent to him in the course of his contact with him in the years before the hire.  And when you add in a family tradition of public service, it becomes a "no-brainer," no?

Coming full circle, it makes sense that a person who reeks of talent, skills and other employable qualities should be the brains of the operation, no?

He does appear to have a lot of talent.  Especially in constructing the numbers to support Campbell's insistence that the office needs four  seven more employees:  a 40% (4/10) 87.5% (7/8) jump in numbers of employees.  (see Update above)

For very close to a solid hour (most presentations last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes), Campbell and Gonzalez did a tag-team act playing (in the opinion of the SCPR) "fast" with the numbers in order to "spin" a tale they hoped would be bought by the commissioners.

Moreover, time after time during the work session Campbell deferred to Gonzalez.

Who is the elected Stark County recorder?

One slide they had was "cute," real cute.

In it they tried to show that the department's request for 2013 of $655,590.71 was "in their imaginary world" was really the equivalent of being $472,782.90 which was under the 2011 budget appropriation of $500,856.11 thus saving the commissioners (and, by the way, Stark County taxpayers)  $28,073.21.

All one has to do to get down to the $472,782.90 is to remove from the $655,590.71 is to:
  • deduct $13,460.51 (the 27th pay,  given the 2013 calendar pay cycle,
  • deduct $4,901.31 (a 2% employee pay increase likely to approved),
  • deduct $164,446.98 (cost of 4 new employees Campbell asks for)

    Duh!  duh!  duh! duh! & duh! again.

    Talk about circular reasoning that is like a cat chasing its tail?


    The truth of the matter is not a savings, but rather a whopping! 62.6% increase over 2011 for 2013 if commissioners were to give Campbell his way.

    Noticeably missing from the recorder's presentation was a historical chart showing the historical numbers compared to the requested 2013 appropriation.

    The Report's recollection is that every other 2013 budget work session so included such a chart generated by the presenting Stark County department of government.

    The SCPR is pleased to have put together such a chart which is displayed above.

    Message to Stark County recorder Rick Campbell:  "Don't hire any new employees, just yet!"

    Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II should note the "spin" skill that Campbell and Gonzalez demonstrated in the budget presentation and should seek to hire them immediately.

    The duo demonstrated that Healy really does have something to worry about in terms of being Stark County's foremost spinmeister.

    Commissioner Janet Creighton told the SCPR that she had seven employees and an office budget in a $180,000 or so range when she was Stark County recorder back in 1985.

    And The Report understands that 2013 is not 1985.

    But in Creighton's day as recorder (in the old Stark County Office Building [what used to be the Saint Francis Hotel] there was no technology to speak of and recording the official documents of Stark County was a highly labor intensive enterprise.

    As if the number manipulation were not enough, Campbell went through a litany of reasons why the commissioners should comply with his request for four additional employees.

    The list:
    • [the recorder's office] has saved the county money in doing the microfilming work inasmuch as the alternative is outsourcing which is much more expensive in that the county would have to spend $4.3 dollars for outsourcing compared to $1.0 dollars (according to Campbell's Powerpoint graph) for the recorder's office to do the microfilming (outsource microfilming costs 30 cents a page, so says Campbell err Gonzalez),
    • If the commissioners do not approve the additional employees for microfilming, then they will be costing the county more in the long run because the county will have to outsource for the microfilming overload,
    • the more that is microfilmed reduces the amount to storage that John Runion of the records center has to come up with as well as the expense thereof,
    • the recorder's office is recording/microfilming more documents with less people, (which Commissioner Creighton turned on Campbell)
    • if a recorder's office employee gets sick or goes on vacation or is training other employees, it presents a huge staffing problem to the office,
    • the recorder's office has plans to take on other projects (e.g. the Probate Court, the Stark County clerk of courts) for the county, if the commissioners agree to provide general fund funding for the additional employees,
    • the recorder has to work existing employees through their breaks which puts us in violation of law and the office is vulnerable to being sued,
    • it takes one and one half (1-1/2) years to train new employees and two years before they are as proficient as they are going to be,
    • Stark County is Ohio's seventh largest county and the recorder's office needs to be staffed accordingly,
    • the recorder's office has deferred on capital equipment (i.e. a new duplicator at a cost of $11,000, which, Gonzalez says, will pay for itself within two years in avoiding the need to outsource) purchases for five years and can no longer abide that situation
    The kindest thing one can say about it is that in his zeal to protect his employment base Campbell with his presentation "oversold" his case and likely thereby was his own worst enemy in endeavoring to persuade the commissioners that it is essential that he be permitted to hire four new employees.

    All-in-all, The Report's opinion of this presentation? It one of the most manipulative, intellectually insulting, and disingenuous reports that yours truly has ever witnessed.

    But it is no surprise to the SCPR that Campbell would be behind such an effort.

    In the end, it is likely to be counterproductive to presentation's intended purpose at least in terms of pushing the commissioners into doing his will.

    Here is a highlight of excerpts of the back and forth between the commissioners and the Campbell/Gonzalez tandem.