Friday, February 28, 2014




UPDATE:  12:25 PM

Here is an e-mail received by the SCPR this morning, to wit:

Another great in-depth look at the Sheriff situation.

There is a online petition as well you might not be aware of.

If you compare the names to those on your list posted today, you will see many, many deputies on there match, plus many more not on the posted list.

You are also right about the pressure and poor work environment being placed on the employees at the Sheriff's Office to support Maier, ... .. Those petitions were passed around in person, and you were basically in a no win situation.


Lose lose situation for sure.

Thanks again for what must be hours of research and information gathering. It is appreciated.

Note:  The SCPR excised from the e-mail published  above what The Report interprets as allegations of illegality and ethics violations inasmuch as whether or not such is the case is why The Report is calling for the Stark County prosecutor or an appointed “independent” special prosecutor or the Ohio attorney general’s office to conduct an inquiry to make a determination one way or another on the illegality/ethics issues.


The Stark County Political Report is absolutely "bananas" for the RULE OF LAW.

But, different than some, The Report thinks that the RULE OF LAW should apply "equally" to everybody.

George T. Maier attorney Thomas Rosenberg may have opened the proverbial "Pandora's Box" in suggesting, perhaps, that Stark County sheriff department lieutenant Lou Darrow violated the law in applying for the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (SCDP-CC) appointment as Stark County sheriff on December 11, 2013?

As we all know now, there is quite a bit of controversy in the Dems' finding someone to fill out Mike McDonald's term as Stark County sheriff.

Though elected in November, 2012, McDonald could not take office on January 7, 2013 because of an terminal illness which claimed his life on February 22, 2013.

The Dems selected Massillonian George T. Maier on February 5, 2013 but the appointment was found to have been illegal (a violation of Ohio statutory law) on November 6, 2013 by the Ohio Supreme Court.

The Dems - the SCPR thinks - made the mistake all over again on December 11th in re-appointing Maier.

But if Rosenberg had his way, Lou Darrow would have been excluded.

Never mind that a number of Stark Countians think that Maier has exactly the same problem.

Double standards do not seem to trouble Rosenberg.

In yesterday's blog, the SCPR opined that Rosenberg seems to have a penchant to one standard applying to others but not to his client.

Today, the SCPR is focusing on the Ohio Revised Code Section 124.57 "Pandora's Box" that Rosenberg introduced into the "all matters Maier" equation back on November 13, 2013.

Here is an extract of ORC 124.57:

124.57 Prohibition against partisan political activity.

(A) No officer or employee in the classified service of the state, the several counties, cities, and city school districts of the state, or the civil service townships of the state shall directly or indirectly, orally or by letter, solicit or receive, or be in any manner concerned in soliciting or receiving, any assessment, subscription, or contribution for any political party or for any candidate for public office; nor shall any person solicit directly or indirectly, orally or by letter, or be in any manner concerned in soliciting, any such assessment, contribution, or payment from any officer or employee in the classified service of the state, the several counties, cities, or city school districts of the state, or the civil service townships of the state; nor shall any officer or employee in the classified service of the state, the several counties, cities, and city school districts of the state, or the civil service townships of the state be an officer in any political organization or take part in politics other than to vote as the officer or employee pleases and to express freely political opinions.

Well, insofar as the SCPR can determine, so was George T. Maier a member of "Classified Civil" service when he applied to the Stark County Court of Common Pleas on November 26, 2013 (thirteen days after the his "stop" Lou Darrow letter).

But The Report's take on Rosenberg is that "what's good for the goose, IS NOT good for the gander."

The "rule of law" may or may not apply to a huge number of deputy sheriffs working out of 4500 Atlantic Boulevard.

And, perhaps, to Democratic Party "write-in" candidate Lt. (Summit County sheriff's department) Douglas S. Smith.

Here is an extract of a "Concerned Citizen" letter sent to Summit County Sheriff Steve Brady on Wednesday of this week:

Sheriff Steve Brady
County of Summit
53 University Ave.
Akron, Ohio 44308

RE: Lt. Douglas S. Smith write-in candidacy for partisan ofiice and potential violation of\/~ the Ohio Revised Code Section 124.57, County of Summit Codified Ordinance 169.18 and County of Summit Ordinance 2011-207.

Dear Sheriff Brady:

I am writing this communication to you to request that you as the appointing authority conduct an inquiry and investigation into a potential violation allegedly committed by Lt. Douglas S. Smith who is an employee of the County of Summit, Akron, Ohio - Sheriff Office. 

Lt Douglas S. Smith is currently employed by the County of Summit, Akron, Ohio Sheriff Office in a classified position. Lt Douglas S. Smith currently resides at 1222 Hiddenview St., N.W. North Canton, Ohio 44720. 

The allegation is that as an employee of the Sheriff Department for the County of Summit, Akron, Ohio, Lt Douglas S. Smith most recently and also on prior occasions knowingly and continuously participated in partisan politics. Please see the attached newspaper articles which are attached as exhibits and supporting evidence or proof of the alleged violations.

This is contrary to the following State of Ohio and County of Summit, Akron, Ohio law: The Ohio Revised Code Section 124.57 - Prohibition against partisan political activity. Ordinance 2011-207, Section 169.18 "Political Activity" County of Summit, Akron, Ohio. County of Summit, Akron, Ohio Codified Ordinances Section 169.18, "Political Activity".

(SCPR Note:  Yesterday The Report spoke with Douglas Smith and came away with the following impressions:
  • Smith is coordinating in a loose construction of "coordinating:"
    • He has talked with Stark Dems' chairman Randy Gonzalez and George T. Maier himself about running as a "write-in" candidate before filing,
    • Both Gonzalez and Maier are telling him that they are confident that they will win before Ohio's secretary of state,
    • Neither endorsed his filing, but both were seemingly understanding that the Democrats would not want to have nobody on the ballot should the secretary of state surprise them and vote to keep Maier off the ballot,
  • Smith seem "highly" fluid on whether or not he will stay in the race because
    • He worries that the fact that he is an employee of the Summit County sheriff's department and has not established any kind of political base in Stark County and therefore would have a difficult time raising money to have a competitive campaign against Republican Larry Dordea, that it may not be practical for him to stay in the campaign should Maier not make it to the ballot,
    • He does not plan to but is open to stepping aside should Maier not make it to the ballot so that the Stark Dems can appoint someone else in his stead,
    • He does not think he has an ORC 124.57 problem, but is not sure of it and would be quick to exit if it became apparent that he does,
Last week, the SCPR got word of allegations that some "politiking" was/are going on on behalf of George T. Maier "within the sherff's 'official' abode."

Here is the content. of an e-mail that the SCPR received last Thursday:

Regardless whether someone supports George T. Maier as Sheriff or not. I do not believe any Deputy Sheriff (whether ON or OFF duty) should have been attending this weeks meeting. Unless they were on "Official Business", such as testifying or providing security.

Most of the uniformed deputies shown on your short video, appeared to be Reserve Deputies, and Administrator's. I don't find it shocking that George T. Maier was using the Reserve Deputies to show force or support. Whatever he may call it. Apparently George T. Maier has been having Reserve Deputies volunteer their time to replace his name on county property and vehicles.

Something I do find a little shocking. Apparently George T. Maier's administration assistant, Derrick Loy has been circulating a letter around the Sheriff's Office asking for deputies/employees to sign in support of Maier. The letter is supposed to be presented to the BOE. I believe this practice not only violates department policy but possibly the law.

I find it shocking that Deputies would attend a BOE meeting on their own and volunteer to sign a letter supporting George T. Maier. Except that the Deputies are currently in contract negotiations with George T. Maier. The tentative contract George T. Maier recently presented to the deputies union was rejected.

I've been a long time reader of your blog and enjoy it most of the time. I'm not employed at the Sheriff's Office. However I have family and close friends that work there. Most of the employees are amazing people and could careless about the politics. They just want to do their job. I wanted to share some of my thoughts and observations.

Thanks for you time.
Speaking of the "petitions" (called a letter by the writer), here they are:

First, from the deputies:

Stark County Board of Elections 
2013"* Street NE Floor 1 
Canton, Ohio 44702

Please accept this letter from the following deputies of the Stark County Sheriff's Office as our statement of confidence in the qualifications of Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier.  As law enforcement officers, we believe George Maier to be well qualified for the Office of Sheriff and we respectfully request that Sheriff Maier's nominating petition and substantial qualifications be certified in the affirmative.

We strongly encourage the Stark County Board of Elections to put politics aside, and place him on the ballot as his qualifications demand, thus providing the voters of Stark County the fundamental democratic right to decide who is best suited to serve as their Sheriff. Rejecting Sheriff Major's candidacy denies the public a choice in this election, removes from the ballot a law enforcement leader we wholeheartedly believe to be qualified, and furthers the purely political motivation of a few detractors who seek to limit the public's choice in this election.

This letter is not a political endorsement for, or against any particular candidate. It is simply a statement of our desire to place the selection of our Sheriff where it rightly belongs - in the hands of the voters of Stark County.

Second, from some of the administrators working at the Stark County sheriff's office:

Please accept this letter from the following employees of the Stark Countv Sheriff's Office as our statement of confidence in the excellent performance of Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier. As employees having a diverse range of responsibilities and duties throughout the Stark County Sheriffs Office, we feel Sheriff Maier has transformed the agency's focus on service to the public. We respectfully request that Sheriff Maier's nominating petition and substantial qualifications be certified as provided by Ohio law.

We strongly encourage the Stark County Board of Elections to leave politics aside, and place Sheriff Maier on the ballot as his qualifications duly merit. This allows the people of Stark County the opportunity to decide who should serve as Stark County Sheriff. Rejecting Sheriff Maier's candidacy would deny the public a choice in this election and remove from the ballot a law enforcement leader we wholeheartedly believe has demonstrated his wealth of qualifications and capabilities during the past year.

This letter is not a political endorsement for, or against any particular candidate.  It is simply a statement of our desire to place the selection of our Sheriff where it rightly belongs - in the hands of the voters of Stark County.

And, of course, there are the "Contributors in the Officeholders' Employee" campaign finance report required by the law of Ohio, to wit:

(SCPR Note:  this list is independent of the petition signatures list)

Of course, the SCPR always tries to the other side of the story.
So, The Report sent this e-mail to the "named in the e-mail" Derrick Loy, to wit:

A excerpt from an e-mail I received this afternoon:

Apparently George T. Maier's administration assistant, Derrick Loy has been circulating a letter around the Sheriff's Office asking for deputies/employees to sign in support of Maier. The letter is supposed to be presented to the BOE.

True or untrue?

If true, please explain in detail the facts and circumstances surrounding your involvement.


Martin Olson
The Report thought that Loy might respond in a meaningful way to the e-mail because he was quick to use the SCPR in his campaigning for Mike McDonald when he ran against Republican Larry Dordea in 2012.

Moreover, Loy recently became a center of controversy with Alliance City Council because he was one of a number of subjects on a "secret ballot" taken on January 13, 2014 during a council meeting as to whether or not Loy would be re-appointed to the Alliance Water & Sewer Advisory Board.

The SCPR asked Loy for his side of the story and sent in a responsive e-mail which The Report published in full.

Well, it now seems to the SCPR that Loy has been told by someone in the George T. Maier entourage to clam up with The Report, to wit: (Loy's response to the SCPR e-mail)


Sorry for the delay in responding to your email, I don't check my personal email as often as I should.

Concerning your inquiry, I have never hid behind my positions or statements with you, as I believe in openness and transparency.  With that said, I do not feel compelled to respond to statements made by people who  lack courage and/or people hiding behind anonymity.

Be well,

Oh what a terrific guy that Derrick Loy is!  "Be well," he says.

But no answer! 

He can forget the "laced with sarcasm niceties," just answer the questions!  Stark County's taxpayers are entitled to have answers from a guy who works for the taxpayers, no?

Seems like he may have consulted with Stark County recorder Rick Campbell on how he should respond to SCPR inquiries.  Loy's response in right out of Campbell's playbook.

No matter the truth or falsity of the allegation(s), "I do not respond to anonymous allegation."


Well, Derrick, THE E-MAIL PASSED ON TO THE STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT IS NOT ANONYMOUS BUT the SCPR, since the sender says he/she has friends and relatives working in the sheriff's department, does not want to make the writer's friends/family vulnerable to retaliation.

Now why in the world would the SCPR be concerned that the folks in charge at the Stark County sheriff's office might be in a mood for some retribution on the writer's friends/family if his/her identity were known?

Maybe, in light of this new information and the SCPR's concern for the well-being of the friends and family of the sender, Loy will reconsider and tell all HE knows about the facts and circumstances surrounding the circulating of the petition.  

For starters:

Who suggested that it be written?

Who authored it?

Were the signatures collected while the deputies/administrators were on the taxpayer dime?

Who hand carried a copy down to the Board of Elections?

Why wasn't Balas-Bratton's attorney provided with a copy by the Maier supporter and/or the Stark County Board of Elections?

It is highly unlikely that Loy or other person on the staff at the Stark County sheriff's department will answer the questions.

For it appears to The Reprt that Loy is one of the SCPR's regular readers and maybe, just maybe the amplification of the reasons for "no name as to the commenter" in this blog just might prompt him to reconsider, no?

Probably not.  But we shall see.

There is no doubt in the thinking of The Report that Loy is a George Maier's "main man" when it comes to doing the bidding of the Democratic Party appointed sheriff.

If the SCPR were to inquire of the "bossman," George T. Maier himself - there is no doubt that The Report would get "zippo" from a man who is paid by Stark County taxpayers (as is Loy) and who apparently thinks that he is unaccountable to the Stark County public.

Maier goes out of his way to make it plain to the SCPR (in a taunting-esque fashion) that he is willing to talk to the "easily put off" reporters at The Repository and to "bonkers for George Maier" Ron Ponder of WHBC but not to the SCPR

Now why would that be?

Of course, the SCPR is not having a love-in with Maier as Ponder is and does not ask "I don't want to offend you" questions that way too many of The Repository reporters seem to ask him.

But Maier has no compunction about accepting taxpayer dollars as public official compensation (unless, of course, the Ohio Supreme Court finds him - once again - to be in office illegally) and not subject himself to incisive questioning that the SCPR is so well known for asking questions that put the likes of Maier to be publicly accountable.

Back to the ORC 124.57 question.
At the beginning of this blog in the headline section, The Report calls for the Stark County prosecutor and/or the Ohio Attorney General to conduct an investigation into the conduct of Darrow, Maier and the other classified civil service employees working out of 4500 Atlantic Boulevard.

And, in particular, to focus on the petition referred to in the e-mail above.

Note the "multiple assurances" in the petition that the deputies "are not being political."

That whoever wrote the petition had to repeatedly assert that the petition was not a political statement while dissing opponents of Maier as being political (the deputies letter), is in and of itself to the SCPR a tacit admission that Maier's supporters in petitioning were attempting to apply political pressure to effect the outcome of Balas-Bratton v. Maier in Maier's favor.

Ohio's BOE structure, is such  (i.e. two Republican members, two Democratic members and an evenly divided between Republican and Democratic support staff) as set up, to, by its very nature to engage in "Cold War-esque" political warfare with the secretary of state (be that person a Democrat or Republican) being empowered by "the rule of law" (as bad as the SCPR thinks the law is) is to step in and break any tie votes that occur among the four partisan members.

And, of course, those behind the petitions know that Ohio's Board of Elections reek of politics and so why wouldn't you try to apply political pressure?

Whoever was the genius behind the petitions forgot two things:

One, in their handling of election/candidacy protests, BOEs need to get about as far away as they can from their inherently political structure for in this role they are "quasi-judicial" bodies subject to review by the courts of Ohio.

To the degree that BOEs in their role as "sort of" jurists appear to be influenced by arbitrary political considerations, they run a very high degree of having their decisions overturned by the courts.

Two, the deputies/sheriff administrators' ORC 124.57 concerns.

Whoever, the petition (letter) genius was, may have put 73 hard working sheriffs in harms way on 124.57.

They are not deserving of what may be about to come their way in the way of an investigation on the 124.57 issue.

Maier, is a different matter.

His attorney (Rosenberg) laid down the standard for his own client in writing Ferrero on November 13th of last year.

Could it be that Maier himself will get hoisted by his own attorney's petard?

And, of course, Lt. Douglas Smith should be included in the lot.

If Ohio Revised Code Section 124.57 is to mean anything in terms of "the rule of law" prevailing in Stark County, then it is incumbent on Stark County's prosecutor (or, a special "independent" appointed counsel") and/or Ohio's attorney general (DeWine) to launch an investigation of whether or not any 124.57 prohibited political activities have emanated from the Stark County sheriff's department under the reign of George T. Maier?

Let it be written, let it be said!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


FEBRUARY 27, 2014
9:30 am

Releasing November 15, 2013 Legal Opinion: Ending city-paid family health insurance benefits for family members of elected officials and further limiting benefits to individual primary coverage for elected officials.

The people of North Canton spoke clearly on the matter and I believe that the people of North Canton have a right to know the implications of the November 15,2013 Legal Opinion on their vote in order to preserve the integrity of the election system.

I personally followed that decision and I encourage all elected officials to follow that decision. Furthermore, I am releasing the November 15, 2013 Legal Opinion on the matter because I believe that a transparent discussion will follow and allow the city to resolve the matter and move forward.

I do not believe that the ordinance approved by the voters of North Canton on November 6, 2012 should be challenged.  I believe that we should adopt the ordinance by personal practice in this term and ratify it for future effective terms.

David J. Held
Mayor of the City of North Canton, Ohio


To:     North Canton City Council/Mayor/Director of Finance

Re:     2012 Initiative to Limit Health Care Benefits for Part-Time Elected   Officials

IIssue Presented.

    Whether the initiative to limit North Canton's elected officials' health care benefits, passed on November 6, 2012, by a vote of 6,480 for, and 25550 against, may lawfully limit the benefits of officials elected to serve for the 2014-2015 term of office.

II.       Controlling Law and Legal Analysis.

     The initiative does not affect the newly-elected officials* benefits for two reasons: 1) North Canton employs no ^art-time" elected officials from whom to limit health care benefits; and 2) the initiative passed in contravention of North Canton's Charter ("Charter") and is therefore void.

A.    North Canton employs no "part-time" elected officials.

     The 2012 initiative purports to limit the health care benefits of "part-time" elected officials. (A copy of the proposed ordinance is attached hereto.) However, North Canton employs no "part-time" elected officials. It never has. North Canton's elected officials are "salaried" employees, compensated at a flat rate, regardless of the number of hours worked during a particular pay period. Therefore, the initiative to limit part-time elected officials* health care benefits should not affect the benefits of those officials elected to serve the 2014-2015 term of office as salaried employees.

B.    The initiative passed in derogation of the Charter and is therefore void.

        Begin the analysis with the premise that a municipal ordinance in conflict with its charter is ineffective. Reed v. City of Youngstown, 173 Ohio St 265 (1962), paragraph two of the syllabus. Whether enacted by a legislative body, or through a voter initiative, such as here, an ordinance at odds with its charter is void at its inception and has no effect. Id.

       North Canton's Charter mandates that Council sets the salaries for elected officials. Section 4.04. Salaries and Bonds. Moreover, the Supreme Court of Ohio has consistently held that health care benefits shall be regarded as salary. State ex rel. Parsons v. Ferguson, 46 Ohio St.2d 389 (1976). Because the 2012 initiative purported to utilize an ordinance to limit the elected officials' health care benefits (salary)—a right belonging only to Council—-the voters passed the initiative in derogation of the Charter. As a result, the initiative ordinance is a nullity. City of Cleveland v. Regional Transit Authority, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 40857, 1980 WL 354736, *5 (July 3,1980). Indeed, because the initiative was contrary to Section 4.04, it was not properly submissible to the North Canton's electors. State ex rel. Lautz v. Diefenbach, 165 Ohio St 495 (1956); State ex rel Werner v. Koontz, 153 Ohio St 325 (1950).

III.   How to Resolve the Invalid Initiative?

Not to overstate the obvious, but declaring the initiative void or ineffective for the reasons stated herein will have far-reaching implications. Council, however, has a number of options available to resolve the invalid initiative. First, if Council believes the initiative, despite its flaws and grossly deceptive wording, is the will of the voters, it may resolve the conflict by enacting a similar ordinance of its own. This ordinance would not go into effect until the 2016-2017 term of office, however, because the Charter's mid-term compensation provision prohibits it from applying to those elected to office on November 5,2013. Note that this course of action may result in a lawsuit from the initiative's originator requesting that a judge determine the initiative's validity.

Council may also simply ignore the initiative's mandate, as has been done thus far, and its members may choose for themselves, individually, whether to accept or reject certain health care benefits. Should any members accept certain benefits in contravention of the initiative, the likelihood of a lawsuit from the initiative's originator would greatly increase, together with the criticism of certain residents, and perhaps the media.

In addition, and while untimely, Council could beat the initiator to the courthouse and request that a judge determine the initiative's validity, and if deemed valid, whether it applies to those elected to serve the 2014-2015 term of office. Although this course of action brings legal certainty to the table, it also brings the certainty of additional legal man-hours, expenses, and undoubtedly the question of why the issue had not been resolved in time to place on notice those candidates running for the 2014-2015 term of office.

IV.      Conclusion.

The 2012 initiative to limit health care benefits of North Canton's elected officials is not only ineffective for its stated purpose, but because the voters passed it in derogation of the Charter, it is void on its face. The manner in which Council remedies the issue, however, depends on if it believes the initiative is the will of the people, if its fatal flaw of filing as an ordinance instead of a charter amendment should cause it to collapse upon itself, or whether a judge should make each of those determinations. In all likelihood, however, Council should anticipate that if its decision is to ignore or limit the initiative that a lawsuit, and possibly an initiative for a "charter amendment" to limit the health care benefits of North Canton's "elected officials," will soon be on the horizon.


Timothy L. Fox
Director of Law




ORC 311.01 


February 27, 2014


Thank you for today's blog reviewing the Cornwell testimony at the Balas-Bratton protest hearing before the Stark County Board of Elections. 

Before today's blog, I was not sure what to think of Cornwell's testimony. 
On the one hand, he was obviously biased and
argumentative in favor of Maier in spite of his claims of neutrality in favor of "the law".

On the other hand, he seemed somewhat credible in that he believed in what he was saying.

It is enlightening to find out about his prior amicus briefs asking the Supreme Court for strict interpretations of ORC 301.01 and as well as the fact that the original statute was modified for tighter qualification guidelines is enlightening. 

It is indeed a flip/flop.

You also mention that you hope that Braden and Cline will note the Craig case when transmitting the BOE record to the Ohio Secy of State. 

This raises a question. BOE member Ferruccio handled all objections and was clearly the sole "referee" in the BOE hearing. 

Why didn't member Cline, an attorney, offer any input on any of the objections? In particular, I note Cornwell's unwillingness to answer "yes or no" questions with a clear yes or no. Would it have been out of procedural order for Cline to interrupt and order Cornwell to answer clearly "yes" or "no"??

Steve Marcoaldi   


It seems to be a "trademark" of anything touched by George T. Maier attorney Thomas L. Rosenberg (of Roetzel and Andress/Columbus).

Okay, I'll bite.

What "seems to be a 'trademark' of ... Rosenberg?"

Depending how it plays in his perceived interest of his client, he shows that he can take a letter or a statute and likely anything else relevant to a legal case and take contradictory positions.

A classic case of his doing so can be seen on this (LINK) to prior SCPR blog.  In the cited blog, Rosenberg was going to "out of the goodness of his civic minded heart" represent Stark County taxpayers to retrieve from interim Sheriff Tim Swanson the $20,000 that Stark County's commissioners agreed to pay to Rosenberg and his law firm for his having represented Maier in a quo warranto filed February 12, 2013 by Swanson.

The presumption was that Maier was going to win.

But, of course, in hindsight we now know that "something funny happened on the way out of the court."  Maier lost and was ousted as the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (SCDP-CC) appointed sheriff by the Ohio Supreme Court on November 6, 2013

Swanson winning did not stop Rosenberg from writing the commissioners and demanding that the commissioners not reimburse Swanson (some $33,800) for his legal expenses in getting Maier thrown out.

Maybe he did and maybe he didn't go about it the right way to demand that the commissioners pay his legal fees on the basis of his having won, but Swanson is about to have the last laugh on Rosenberg.

There is a scheme of Ohio statutory law in existence that makes a quo warranto loser "personally liable" to the winner.  And, Swanson has retained legal counsel and had him file a lawsuit against Maier (LINK).

Now what do you suppose Maier would rather happen?

Pay Swanson his $33,800 as on a "moral claim" basis or have Maier have to pay out of his personal funds nearly $90,000 in wages and benefits that Swanson missed out on because Maier usurped his office?

How is Rosenberg explaining that one to George T. Maier.

Rosenberg seems to have developed having "one's foot firmly implanted in one's mouth" into an art form.

On February 11, the SCPR wrote a blog describing Rosenberg's allegation in a November 13, 2013 letter to Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero that Lt. Louis Darrow, if he were to pursue a second appointment (Maier's first appointment having been invalidated) of the SCDP-CC on December 11, 2013, would - as a classified employee - be violating ORC 124.57.

Guess what?

George Maier by his own hand on December 5, 2013 wrote Harrison County Sheriff Ronald J. Myers (his "friend forever") telling him as a classified employee, he had to resign so he could seek the appointment also.


Well, on November 26, 2013 Maier had filed an application with the Stark County Court of Common Pleas for the SCDP-CC appointment.


Presumably, Maier was acting under the advice of Rosenberg.

One standard for Darrow; another for Maier?

Isn't that terrific that a man who would be Stark County sheriff apparently has two standards in legal accountability?

Now we get to the point of this blog.

Rosenberg appears to be at it again.

This time it is through his expert witness Robert Cornwell.

Cornwell has been the chief executive officer of the Ohio Buckeye Sheriffs' Association (BSSA) since 1983.

In 1987, he, as a BSSA lobbyist, got state Representative Ron Gerberry (of the Youngstown area) to guide a bill through the Ohio General Assembly which came to be known as Ohio Revised Code Section 311.01.

In 1981, (served one term through 1984) Stark Countians had elected Republican insurance man Robert C. Berens as Stark County sheriff.  Needless to say, most Stark Countians thought that Berens was a disaster.  But there was a "silver lining" to his being elected.  It was obvious to one and all that there needed to be standards for one to stand for election as a county sheriff.  Hence, the birth of 311.01.

Well, now, it seems that the "mere technicalities" of ORC 311.01 are a huge barrier to Democrat George T. Maier ever becoming sheriff of Stark County in the sense of being elected to fill the term of Mike McDonald, who was unable to take office on January 7, 2013 (having been elected in November, 2012), because of illness which cost him his life on February 22, 2013.

At least such is what George calls them, "technicalities" that is.

Well for purposes of this blog, let's take a look at one of the "technicalities."

ORC 311.01(B)(9)(a) is the particular technicality we will delve this blog, to wit:

 311.01 Election and qualifications of sheriff.

(A) A sheriff shall be elected quadrennially in each county. A sheriff shall hold office for a term of four years, beginning on the first Monday of January next after the sheriff's election.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person is eligible to be a candidate for sheriff, and no person shall be elected or appointed to the office of sheriff, unless that person meets all of the following requirements:


(9) The person meets at least one of the following conditions:

(a) Has at least two years of supervisory experience as a peace officer at the rank of corporal or above, or has been appointed pursuant to section 5503.01 of the Revised Code and served at the rank of sergeant or above, in the five-year period ending immediately prior to the qualification date;
(emphasis added by the SCPR)

The enlarged language is one of several points of argument between Maier's attorney (Rosenberg) and the protester  (Cynthia Balas-Bratton, represented by Craig T. Conley) to Maier's candidacy as Stark County sheriff

More specifically the argument centers on whether or not one has to have been within the last five years (going back from February 4, 2014) a "corporal or above" for two years within said five years.

And who better than to bring in as an "expert" witness than Robert Cornwell of BSSA, no?

After having seen him:
  • testify trying to make having the losing position in Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto appear to make him some kind of authority, and 
  • after having seen where his BSSA, in a number of pre-Balas Bratton versus Maier cases, asserted the Balas-Bratton position; it appears that Rosenberg, once again, screwed up "big-time" in bringing Cornwell in to testify at the Balas-Bratton "protest" hearing of February 21st.
  • SCPR Note:  See video and a SCPR summary of Cornwell's Rosenberg-led examination at this LINK.
How is it that the SCPR thinks Rosenberg "screwed up?"

First, look at Cornwell's examination by Balas-Bratton's attorney Craig T.


The "key" points of the Conley cross-examination (of course, as interpreted by the SCPR) for purposes of this blog include:
  • that Cornwell attempts to present himself as an "impartial witness" devoted to having anyone who applying ORC 311.01(B)(9)(a) to do so according "the way it should be,"
  • the fact of the matter was that the Maier side of the Balas-Bratton protest was the side that asked that BSSA allow Cornwell to come and testify,
  • BSSA and filed an amicus brief in Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto (which Maier lost) 
  • In the lead up to BSSA's attorney preparing the brief, Cornwell had multiple conversations with Maier attorney Rosenberg and which conversations included:
    • past cases in which BSSA had taken positions on the various provisions of 311.01,
    • that BSSA historically has asked the Supreme Court "to interpret the statute as it reads,"
    • incredibly denies that the Maier amicus was filed in support of Maier,
    • however, he admits that the amicus argues that Maier meets all the qualifications required by 311.01,
    • resists Conley's point that the amicus was a losing proposition with the Supreme Court but ultimately under Conley persistence admits that the Supreme Court ruled that Maier did not meet the qualification under 311.01 of being "full time,"
    • resists Conley's point that he holds himself as being an expert on 311.01 and yet he was wrong in Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto,
    • agrees with Conley that a former version of 311.01(B)(9)(a):
      • allowed for two years of supervision or its equivalent,
      • did not require that the supervisor be a corporal or above (with no qualifying language of "equivalency,
    • spars (which the SCPR undermines his implicit claim of objectivity) with Conley over whether or not being assistant Ohio Director of Public Safety (as Maier was in the Strickland administration) qualifies as being the "equivalent" of being a "corporal or above,"
BSSA, under Cornwell, at least insofar as the organization's obvious commitment to George Maier as qualifying under 311.01 is "as plain as day" to anyone who hears Cornwell's testimony.

The SCPR believes that there may be some connection between BSSA and the Maiers through state Representative Ron Gerberry who at the time the original 311.01 was passed, (1987) worked closely with BSSA.  The Report has known Maier brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr since the days he was state representative from a section of Stark County and who was one of his best legislative friends: Ron Gerberry!

Cornwell brought up the fact that Tim Swanson was president of BSSA (2008) and that he worked well with Swanson and thereby wished to imply that it is believable to think that BSSA is not biased toward the Maiers' interest.

But the SCPR is not buying.

The Report will be working to establish a tie between Cornwell, BSSA, the Maiers and Representative Gerberry as being "the key" as to why BSSA has come out so strong in its Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto amicus for Maier.

Many times, it is not so much that people lie about this or that item being asked about, but the "sin" comes in in "what they omit."

The SCPR believes that such may be the case with Cornwell.

It will interesting to see whether or not the SCPR can uncover a BSSA, Cornwell, the Maiers, and Gerberry connection.

In addition to potential BSSA documentable bias of a BSSA/Cornwell/Maier relationship, there is the matter that it appears to the SCPR that BSSA and its executive director Cornwell has taken legal positions, specifically, on ORC 311.01(B)(9)(a) [see above], contrary to what its position was in Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto, and is on the Balas-Bratton "protest" of George T. Maier's candidacy before the Stark County Board of Elections.

Unless the SCPR has missed something in Cornwell's testimony in Balas-Bratton v. Maier last Friday, Cornwell does not in that testimony reveal that BSSA has "flip-flopped" on the issue.

The leading case in which BSSA filed an amicus before the Ohio Supreme Court was:


Cornwell does not mention Craig?

So what?

Well, how about the fact that BSSA submitted an amicus in Craig that shows its position to be exactly the opposite from that BSSA expressed in Swanson v. Maier!


From the BSSA amicus brief in Craig:

Reed admitted that he had not completed two years of post secondary education or its equivalent and that he has never served in the state highway patrol Rather, he sought to qualify as a candidate for sheriff on the theoiy that his experience with a private security firm (Cincinnati Special Police LLC) (LLC) was equivalent to "two years of supervisory experience as a peace officer at the rank of corporal or above/' even though Reed and respondent admit that experience with this LLC does not constitute experience as a peace officer. This "liberal construction" was accepted by the Board "in favor of placing candidates on the ballot" (Response, Third Defense.)

Such statutory interpretation [SCPR Note:  i.e. "equivalency"] may have been permissible under prior versions of Ohio Revised Code §311.01(B)(9), as interpreted in State ex. rel Hawkins v. Pickaway Cty. Bd of Elections (1996), 75 Ohio St 275, but, in response to Hawkins the statute was amended to require supervisory experience as a peace officer at the rank of corporal or above. The statute in its present form was then considered by this Court in State ex rel Wolfe v. Delaware Cty. Bd. of Elections (2000), 88 Ohio St 3d 182, wherein this Court found that there was no need to construe the meaning of the statute since it "expressly requires that the supervisory experience be *as a peace officer at the rank of corporal or above'." Id. at 185-86.  (emphasis added by SCPR)

As far as the SCPR is concerned, it was outrageous for Cornwell under the apparent guidance of Maier attorney Thomas Rosenberg to have failed to bring the Craig decision (a case "on all fours" [an expression attorneys are familiar with] to the attention of the Stark County Board of Elections members hearing and deciding the Balas-Bratton "protest of the Maier Stark County sheriff candidacy.

Members Cline and Braden in transmitting the record to the Ohio secretary of state should cite the Craig case omission (and, of course the "contradictatory" BSSA Craig amicus brief from the BSSA (Cornwell) presentation last Friday.

And there are other cases in which BSSA had a contrary to Swanson v. Maier opinion (amicus briefs) that never found their way into the record of Balas Bratton v. Maier.

Those should be dug out and presented to the secretary of state, also.

Shame on BSSA and its chief executive officer Robert Cornwell for the glaring omissions.

And shame on Thomas L. Rosenberg for not bringing the foregoing referenced cases and briefs to the attention of the Stark County Board of Elections.

"Flip-flop" is too nice of an expression for what was done.

Stark Countians, even those who favor George Maier, should be outraged that a man who would be Stark's chief law enforcer would countenance such an outrage.

And maybe he doesn't?

The telling question has to be:  Will he distance himself from the BSSA (Cornwell) presentation?

If he doesn't and does not do so immediately, then, as far as the SCPR is concerned, George T. Maier owns it!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


The Stark County Report is hearing that on Monday of this week, when Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (SCDP-CC) sheriff appointee GEORGE T. MAIER returned to 4500 Atlantic Boulevard (after having spent Friday battling a "protest" to his candidacy for Stark County sheriff), he was seen and heard to be "rallying the troops" to his cause.

It must have been an surreal scene.

For it is hard to imagine being through all that Maier has been through since launching his drive (January, 2013) to become Stark County's next "permanent" (more or less) sheriff, that it would be him who is picking up the spirits of his supporters rather than the other way around.

Let's walk through the chronology of Maier's quest to become sheriff.


As we all sadly recall, long time Stark County deputy sheriff Mike McDonald (chief deputy sheriff of the Jail Division of the Stark County at the time) became ill during his campaign to replace the retiring Tim Swanson effective January 7, 2013.

Though elected in November, 2012, he was unable to take office on the 7th due to the illness which resulted in his death on February 22, 2013.

It fell to the SCDP-CC to appoint a McDonald successor under the statutory law of Ohio.

The aspirants to the appointment were long time Stark County deputy sheriff Lt. Louis Darrow (a Democrat), fellow Democrat Maier (who spent most of his policing career in the Ohio State Highway Patrol) and Republican Larry Dordea who made his mark as a first rate policeman as nine year chief of the Alliance Police Department.

From the beginning, some questioned whether or not Maier was qualified to be Stark County sheriff because, of late in his career path, he was not "a cop on the beat," but rather a top level administrator with the Ohio Department of Public Safety (Columbus) and the city Massillon safety and service department.

Consequently, he was pounced on by local media with questions about his eligibility under the standards of Ohio Revised Code Section (ORC) 311.01 to become sheriff.

Blessed with a certitude that few people have, Maier made a very strong statement indeed on the issue of his eligibility.

However, the SCPR believes in his "heart of hearts" he knew well before February 5, 2013 (the date Democrats selected to me to choose McDonald's successor) that getting qualified to be sheriff was going to be a much more difficult undertaking than his bravado statement indicated.

In early January, his emissary and probably Stark County's most enthusiastic George T. Maier for Stark County sheriff (outside of his brother and executive vice chairman of the Stark Dems, Johnnie A. Maier, Jr - JAM) Stark Democratic Party chaiman Randy Gonzalez convened a meeting with Stark County commissioner Thomas Bernabei and Sheriff Swanson to devise ways and means to shore up George's "questionable from the beginning" credentials under ORC 311.01 to be sheriff.

Gonzalez naively believed that Swanson would help out.

But the retiring sheriff had plans of his own.

And they were not focused on Maier.


Swanson, when he started considering retirement (a second time) a few years ago, he first designated his other (other than McDonald) chief deputy sheriff (operations) Rick Perez to become his designated successor.

But then came along the Marlboro chief of police Ron Devies case in which Perez committed a big "no, no" in Stark County policing circles in investigating the case in which Devies and his son got indicted (including felony counts) for what the SCPR thinks was "merely" a "communications problem" over computer equipment and software issues between the Devies son and at least one, perhaps two, of the Marlboro Township trustee at the time (January, 2009).

A big "no, no?"

Yes, Rick testified in the case that he wore a tape recorder (unknown to Chief Devies) in questioning the chief about the allegations being made in Marlboro Township.

The SCPR believes that Devies investigation incident was the beginning of the end for Rick Perez's apparent anointment by Swanson as his successor.  Devies and his son, by the way, had charges dismissed at the end of the prosecution's case by then Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge V. Lee Sinclair, Jr (since retired).

So whom to take Perez's place?

The highly respected Mike McDonald, that's who.

It was a real blow to the Stark Dems that McDonald fell ill.

The SCPR believes that the Stark County Democratic Party "powers that be" worried with McDonald's resignation about their ability to retain the Party's hold on the sheriff's office most recently for the past 20 years with McDonald having to step aside.

Swanson's choice was Darrow.

While he knew Maier, the SCPR's take (though Swanson's says that he could get behind Maier if he (Swanson) could be assured that Maier had "no" qualifications problem.

The Report believes Swanson but also thinks that he was not all that enthusiastic about the Maiers (not so much George but rather "political power broker" brother Johnnie, Jr, who was Stark County Democratic Party chairman from 2003 through 2009) and was eager to find someone in-house (i.e. someone he had worked with in the sheriff's department) to be the Democratic replacement for McDonald.

So Swanson settles on Darrow as being the only top administrator within the department who indicated he was interested in becoming McDonald's successor.

The Report believes two things happened which created a rift between the Maiers (remember, chiefly Johnnie, Jr.) and Johnnie's stand-in as chairman (Gonzalez) and Swanson.

First, The Report believes that when scuttlebutt developed within the inner circles of the Stark County Democratic Party during the McDonald campaign that McDonald was likely not going to be able to take office, Johnnie, Jr. planted the notion with George that he was an ideal candidate for replacement sheriff and that it became clear to Swanson he was not going to have any input as to whom McDonald's successor was going to be.
  • SCPR note:  The Report believes that as part of his overall desire to see his political friends, supporters and family members achieve various stations in Stark County government units.
    • For example:
      • his wife is the elected Tuscarawas Township fiscal officer, 
      • brother Chuck is chief security officer for the Massillon City Schools, and
      • nephew Michael is a Massillon police officer.
  • SCPR note:  Many of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr political friends and supporters hold Stark County public positions:
    • For example: (just to provide a flavor Johnnie's connections)
      • Randy Gonzalez is Stark County Dems chairman as Maier's successor (2009) and the "elected" Jackson Township fiscal officer and a former trustee,
        • Gonzalez nephew Larry St. Jean holds a position in the Kathy Catazaro-Perry administration (see next paragraph)
      • Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry was groomed by Maier to challenge long time political competitor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr for the mayoralty of Massillon.  She defeated the 28 years as mayor Cicchinelli in the May, 2011 Democratic Party primary election,
      • Massillon Municipal Court judge Eddie Elum (his wife Margaret is the Catazaro-Perry's top administrative assistant).
      • David Maley (the spouse of Johnnie's secretary Tammy Maley) works in the Massillon Building Department,
      • R. Shane Jackson as Maier's chief deputy clerk of courts (see JAM/Jackson family connection below)
  • SCPR Note:  Do not for a nanosecond thinks that Johnnie A. Maier, Jr's friends and family are limited to the Massillon area,
    • For Example:
      • Stark County Recorder Rick Campbell who is married to the daughter (the chief administrator of Plain Township [where Louis Giavasis is a long-term trustee]) of former Stark County commissioner and Perry Township trustee Gayle Jackson (who was the very first Stark Countian to embrace JAM as a candidate for public office when he defeated the legally troubled Red Ash for state representative in the early 1990s),
      • Canton clerk of courts Phil Giavasis with whom Randy Gonzalez served as chief deputy until very recently and whom was replaced by Giavasis with Randy's son Kody who had been chief deputy for Rick Campbell
Second, The Report believes that the Maiers tried to "muscle" Swanson into appointing George as a Stark County deputy sheriff so that George could use the appointment (as he was later to do as a consequence of having his friend Sheriff Ronald J. Myers appoint him as a Harrison County deputy) as being "the appearance" of being a full-time peace officer as required by ORC 311.01.

Well, nobody, but nobody muscles Tim Swanson.

They did not know it then, but Swanson was to become "the person" who stands in the way of George T. Maier ever becoming the replacement for Mike McDonald in the sense of serving out McDonald's term through early 2017.

When the Stark Dems met on February 5, 2013 to select McDonald's successor, one could see the disgust on Gonzalez's face as he intoned "your Stark County prosecutor" (John Ferrero) has filed an affidavit to the effect that George T. Maier is not qualified by virtue of ORC 311.01 to be Stark County sheriff.

The Report's take is that Gonzalez humiliated Ferrero (a former Stark County Dems chairman, himself) and thereby created an enduring enemy for George Maier to have to deal with.

But there is another, the SCPR thinks "political" factor that likely flavors Ferrero's willingness to step forward to challenge George.  That is the political competition between Ferrero and Johnnie A. Maier, Jr within the bowels of Massillon Democratic politics.

In Massillon there are the Maier Democrats, the Cicchinelli Democrats and the Ferrero Democrats.  However, Ferrero does have a loose association with the Cicchinelli folks.

So not only is Tim Swanson to prove to be the main reason (in the opinion of the SCPR) that George Maier does not end up as McDonald's successor; you have John Ferrero working at a fever pitch to double down on keeping George from "permanently" (more or less) filling out McDonald's term.

FEBRUARY 4, 2013 

The day before the SCDP-CC meets to select a McDonald successor, Louis Darrow (a Swanson protege) files a Writ of Prohibition with the Ohio Supreme Court to stop the Dems from meeting.


Darrow wants the Supremes to look at Maier's qualifications.

But it was a pipe dream to think that the high court would act within 24 hours and the matter goes "moot" when the Stark Dems act on the 5th in selecting Maier.

Case dismissed on February 13, 2013.

FEBRUARY 5, 2013

Everybody in political circles that the SCPR knows was stunned when George T. Maier narrowly defeated the virtually unknown (within SCDP-CC politics) Louis Darrow 92 votes to 84 votes on February 5th.

Most of us assumed that Johnnie and Randy had done their nose counting and lobbying with SCDP-CC members and that Darrow would prove to be "token" opposition.

Well, the 92 to 84 vote count, meant that "the fight was on" and such a close vote within the Democratic fiefdom itself would encourage the likes of Tim Swanson to mount a legal challenge.

FEBRUARY 12, 2013

Ferrero's filing the affidavit was one thing, but the Maier political force never in their wildest dreams thought Swanson would have the "chutzpah" to actually file a legal action against Maier.

The SCPR predicted from "the get-go" that the Supreme Court would find for interim Sheriff Tim Swanson and oust Maier from office, which it did on November 6, 2013.

If JAM et al thought they were going to go "untested" in bullying through the process to make George sheriff, then this case should have been the clarion call that such was not going to be the case.

NOVEMBER 18, 2013

In its November 6, 2013 ouster of George Maier as the SCDP-CC appointed sheriff of Stark County, the Ohio Supreme Court provided for a re-do of the February 5, 2013 original appointment

But the court was unclear what the "new" qualification date would be.

Was it to be the original February 6, 2013 date or by virtue of the November 6th decision was it thereby changed to November 6th?

Well, Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge Frank Forchione (who had contributed $40 on September 25, 2013 to George T. Maier in a campaign fund raiser; one has to wonder why he didn't recuse himself in favor of another Stark County judge to make the determination) decided to "err on the side of Democracy" and picked the November date rather than the February date which then allowed Maier to re-apply.

Darrow and Swanson believed the date should be construed to be the February date.

Accordingly, they filed a Mandamus action in the Ohio Supreme Court asking the court to limit the SCDP-CC's selection to Darrow and Dordea (the only two other candidates in the February 5th proceeding).

Nobody expected the court to act before the date (December 11th) picked by Chairman Gonzalez to re-appoint.

But they did.

The justices refused to rule one way or the other in dismissing the Darrow/Swanson instituted mandamus on December 10th; one day before the new selection date.

The Maier forces were in a celebratory mode over the dismissal.

NOVEMBER 27, 2013

This date may prove to be George T. Maier biggest nightmare in that it is  the of the filing of a taxpayer suit against Maier to recover county monies received by and expended by Maier while he was "usurper' sheriff.


"Biggest nightmare?"



For legal counsel on this case is none other that Stark County's most effective and dogged civic activist Craig T. Conley.

Conley became incensed when he realized (on reading Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto)  that Maier had gone to Harrison County and got his "friend forever"  (see Balas-Bratton "protest" material below) Sheriff Ronald J. Myers to take him on as a deputy sheriff (he served two weekends) for what Conley thought and still thinks was a "sham" hire which Conley feels indicates a Maier "lack of character."

On top of Conley's disgust on Maier's "opportunism," Maier's legal counsel Thomas L. Rosenberg launched in his pleading response to the November 27 taxpayer lawsuit what Conley views to be "a personal attack" on Conley himself.

Big mistake Thomas!

And, as radio commentator of yesteryear Paul Harvey used say "and now for 'the rest of the story."'  (see additional material on Conley's involvement below)

DECEMBER 11, 2013

The SCDP-CC meets once again and re-appoints George T. Maier as Stark County sheriff.

The vote this time was 101 - 65.

Still considerable opposition which the SCPR thinks had to be distressing to the Maier folks.

This vote likely means that even if Maier gets through the legal challenges "on the table" and "yet to come" the JAM/Gonzalez-led Dems have a major job on their hand to get Democrats behind a George T. Maier candidacy let alone convince political independents and Republicans.

FEBRUARY 11, 2014

Massillon Democratic precinct 2A - on the 11th - produced a protester to the candidacy of George T. Maier (with the Stark County Board of Elections [BOE, Board] to be on the ballot as a Democratic candidate in the May 6, 2014 Democratic primary election; namely, Cynthia Balas-Bratton.

At both the February 5th and December 11th SCDP-CC meetings, Balas-Bratton had raised her voice against Maier.

Interestingly enough, word must have leaked out that Balas-Bratton was going to be a thorn is the side of the Maiers, in that a JAM ally Dave Irwin who works for Stark County recorder Rick Campbell) filed petitions to oppose Balas-Bratton for reelection on May 6th.

FEBRUARY 17, 2014

The BOE meets to set a hearing date for the protest, to consider requests to issue subpoenas and to do other housekeeping matters.

February 21, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce's Millennium Center (200 Market Ave, North) is the date, time and location of the hearing set by the Board.

FEBRUARY 18, 2014

Interim Sheriff Tim Swanson files a "personal liability" lawsuit in the Stark County Court of Common Pleas against George T. Maier to recover some $88,000 in compensation that was denied Swanson because Maier usurped to his office for the period February 11, 2013 through November 6, 2013.

Swanson says that any money he obtains from the action will, after recouping his legal expenses in litigating with Maier (including his successful quo warranto), will be donated to Wishes Can Happen.

February 20, 2014

After having asked the Ohio secretary of state (earlier in the week and the request not being acted upon):
  • to prohibit Stark County Democratic Party member Deametrious St. John of the Stark County Board of Elections from participating in the BOE vote on whether or not Maier was to excluded from the May ballot because - she alleges - he had indicated in pre-hearing press statements that St. John had already made up his mind on the matter without hearing,
Balas-Bratton filed an action (two each, prohibition/mandamus) asking the Fifth District Court of Appeals (as its core objective) to remove him.

The complaint was filed too close to the February 21st hearing date to enable to court to rule.

However, Balas-Bratton's attorney (Conley) says he will resist the case's dismissal as being moot on that part of the case having to do with St. John himself on the possibility that the Ohio secretary of state will break a 2 to 2 tie between the Republican and Democratic members of the BOE (see below) on the 21st in favor of the Democrats.

In such an eventuality, Conley says he will then ask the Court of Appeals on whether or not St. John should have recused himself.

If so and the court invalidates the vote of the 21st, presumably a re-vote will be 2 to 1 in favor of keeping Maier off the ballot thereby negating the secretary of state from breaking the tie.

FEBRUARY 21, 2014

The Stark BOE votes 2 (Republicans for) to 2 (Democrats against) on the Balas-Bratton protest to keep George T. Maier off the May 6th ballot.

The Board has 14 days (until March 7th) to file February 21st hearing documents (e.g. transcript and exhibits) with the Ohio secretary of state for consideration in rendering his tie breaking vote.


Most certainly!!!

No matter who wins with the secretary of state, there will be an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.

However, the review standard with the Ohio Supreme Court is so high that it is likely that secretary's decision whatever it is will stick.

Moreover, if the secretary rules for removing Maier from the May ballot, then the SCPR has reason to believe that a "second" Tim Swanson quo warranto will be filed.


No matter what one thinks of George Maier's cause, his endurance has been and continues to be impressive.

He does not give the impression that "he is the worse for wear" for what he has gone through.

Should he stay on the ballot and ultimately win election to fill out McDonald's term, it is highly unlikely the victory will be without cost.

Maier may appear to be unflappable after going through all that he has and may yet have to endure, but certainly nobody believes that he hasn't thought from time-to-time:  "what did I get myself into?"

Moreover, the prospects of Swanson prevailing of holding Maier "personally" liable for the nearly $90,000 in monies that Swanson lost as a consequence of Maier usurping his office are said by number of observers to be very likely.

And there is the matter of legal fees that he is engendering in defending the multiplicity of legal actions past, present, and future.

The Stark County commissioners have paid $20,000 towards his fees.

But The Report believes it is highly unlikely that they will volunteer to ante up fees (as they did in the first quo warranto) should a second one follow.

But the big downer has to be that:
  • last Friday's 2 to 2 vote and a Republican secretary of state breaking the tie, and 
  • his having plenty of legal justification for supporting (and have the Ohio Supreme Court on appeal uphold) a vote to keep Maier off the ballot,
the ultimate prospects succeeding McDonald seem to be rife with "doom and gloom,"

For George T. Maier to be cheering up anybody simply unbelievable!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


UPDATED:  08:35 AM




















Along the pathway of North Canton governance, council members had a choice to make.

They could have gone down "the road less traveled," but they chose to take "the primrose path" - apparently - prepared by Law Director Tim Fox.

From what the Stark County Political Report could detect from the abundance of apologies to North Canton voters at last night's council meetings, they are now wishing they had taken "the road less traveled."

The question has been whether or not Issue 5 (denying healthcare "family" coverage to part-time council members or "single" coverage when other employer provided coverage is available) is "valid" legislation that binds North Canton's council members?

In May, 2012 North Canton civic activist Chuck Osborne initiated a ordinance petition for the November, 2012 general election ballot which presented the question to North Canton voters.

Since 2012 was a presidential year ballot, large numbers of North Cantonians came out to vote.

The result?

So come the "new" term of council beginning December, 2013 the ordinance goes into effect, no?

Not so fast, SCPR readers!

While the people of North Canton may have spoken in overwhelming numbers, North Canton Law Director Tim Fox had not yet had his say.

And as we all know, elected officials across Stark County - when they do not like "the will of the people," they are known to try to find a way around "the will of the people."

Like in the case of the 2008 Stark County Board of Commissioners (Bosley, Harmon (Democrats), and Vignos (a Republican) anticipating that voters might object in a "free will of the people election" decided to "impose" a 0.5% sales tax on Stark Countians for a widely advertised purpose of fixing Stark County's broken 9-1-1 emergency call/dispatch system but more or less hidden purpose of adding money to the county general fund.

Stark Countians were having none of it and in November, 2009 by huge numbers removed the tax from the Stark County fiscal landscape.

Accordingly, "following the will of the people" was a "painless" lesson for onlooking North Canton council members to learn, but what have they done since November, 2012?

You've got it!

They chose to ignore "the will of the people" and follow the advice of North Canton law director Tim Fox that Osborne's ordinance is invalid and could be ignored.

Consequently, four members of council (Peters, Ward 2; Werren, Ward 3; Snyder, Ward 4 and Kiesling, at-large) chose to take the "easy path; "the primrose path," if you will, and thereby ignore "the will of the people" and maintain their respective city of North Canton (at taxpayer expense) health care insurance coverage.

To the SCPR and to many frustrated citizens of North Canton (personified by citizen activist Jamie McCleaster (leader of the Concerned Citizens of North Canton) it has been mind boggling that "elected" by their constituencies councilpersons would "blow-off" the overwhelming November, 2012 vote of the people of North Canton.

Matters have grown so tense among North Canton City Council members that the SCPR is told by a "highly, highly, highly" reliable source their has been active discussions going on for Snyder to step-down to be replaced by either Councilman Peters or Council Cerreta.

Moreover, The Report is told that consideration has been given to the removal of Tim Fox as law director.

Of course, the SCPR asked Snyder (on camera) "head-on" about these - what the SCPR considers to from an impeccable source - reports.

Here is his response.

The Report made a "video" collection of the statements of quite a number of everyday North Canton citizens who troubled themselves to come out to last night's council meeting and availed themselves of the "Public Speaks" forum on the agenda of the meeting to express their disgust with council.

Readers of the SCPR who care about citizen participation in making their governments accountable should watch each and every one of these videos.

Doing so will inspire scores of Stark Countians to resolve to follow the example of these extraordinary folks and "do likewise" in holding governments across the county accountable.

Here are the videos, pleeeaaaseeeee! watch them!!!

First up, the "dean" of North Canton civic activists Chuck Osborne.

As seen, Osborne:
  • Points out the fact that council has an ordinance on last night's agenda which - on an un-needed emergency basis (since anything passed will not go into effect until December 1, 2015) and suggests that perhaps council is trying to deceive North Cantoninans into thinking that it is remedying council's failure to heed the vote of November, 2012 which was designed to have to gone into effect as of December 1, 2013,
  • Reviews how city council looked on as the ordinance was formulated in May, 2012 and processed through the electoral process without council objection,
  • Describes how the lack of implementation of the initiative ordinance was discovered by another North Canton citizen by happenstance, and
  • Questions the proper role of the law director in advising on the ordinance,
Next, Citizen Glenn Saylor:

As seen, Saylor says:
  • "actions of law director [Fox] was a 'poke in the eye' to the citizens of North Canton,'
  • Cites North Canton city ordinance in outlining the duties of the North Canton law director,
    • "communicates legal policies, procedures, decisions to:
      • city council,
      • city officials, and
      • the general public (emphasis added by SCPR),
    • "[law director] had an obligation to notify the public [of his opinion of the invalidity of Ordinance 5] since it was the public who passed the ordinance in the first place,"
  • Does not buy into there being an "attorney/client privilege on the health care ordinance,
  • Asks that council's recorded by amended to reveal the exact date (am members present) in late 2013 that Fox counseled city council on the invalidity of Ordinance 5,
  • Chides council "which loves to pass all sorts of emergency legislation" for not doing so in correction of the alleged defects of voter passed Ordinance 5 so that it could go into effect on December 1, 2013,
Then Citizen Palmer.

As seen in the video, Palmer:
  • Chastises council for ignoring her and other North Canton citizens in previous protests for council not enforcing Ordinance 5,
  • Cite language in a Repository editorial demanding that council fix and enforce the will of the voters of North Canton expressed by them voting overwhelmingly for it in November, 2012,
  • Returns to her having been ignored before and insists that council hear her this time,
Palmer was followed by Citizen Jamie McCleaster (leader of the Concerned Citizens of North Canton [CCNC]).

McCleaster, in the video, takes council to task:
  • For ignoring him and other CCNC citizens when the appeared before council two weeks ago complaining about the heath care ordinance issue,
  • For council president Jon Snyder (who the SCPR shows on video later on in this blog apologizing on three occasions last night) having threatened him with a lawsuit two weeks ago,
  • For not having guidelines in place (which he offers up on behalf of the CCNC) for how council conducts itself,
Next Miriam Baughman.

Baughman in her videotaped presentation shows:
  • She likely is more knowledgeable than anyone on council (she goes back to 1961) and certainly much more that Law Director Tim Fox on North Canton's charter, and
  • That contrary to what Fox is reported to be saying as being an invalid process, North Canton instituted council power to provide for health care insurance benefits for councilpersons in 1981,
  • That - in a telling point on what appears to the SCPR to be a "flawed" Fox analysis - the overwhelmingly voter approved Ordinance 5 "merely" negated a prior ordinance,
Finally, Citizen Kimmie Peters makes her SCPR videotaped appearance.

As seen, she pummels council with:
  • "I have never been so embarrassed by a city government (i.e. North Canton city council) as I have been over the last couple of years,"
  • "You really have destroyed my trust and I think the trust of a lot of the other people who are here."
      It is truly amazing how what should be the obvious road for any elected official to follow becomes "the road less traveled" when the voter paved road does not match the collective un-wisdom of those who hold office.

      What is even more amazing is how North Canton council members have rallied around Director Fox to empower and enable him to deny to North Cantonians an accounting - chapter and verse - how he came to arrive at his advice to the councilpersons.

      Director Fox is not sharing with North Cantonians the specifics of how he arrived at his advice to North Canton council members or Ordinance 5?

      How could that be?

      How about council hiding under what is known as being the "attorney/client privilege?"

      And it has to be council, for the privilege does not belong to the attorney, it belongs to the client.

      So, the SCPR cornered four of the councilpersons last night after the meeting and asked them whether or not they individually are willing to waive the privilege for each and every one of themselves?

      Here are their responses.

      To top off the evenings event in which council members Snyder, Kiesling and Werren gushed with apologies for not following the will of North Canton's voters, the SCPR lodged some really tough, head-on questions with council president Jon Snyder.

      Undoubtedly, Snyder could not have been happy with these questions, but he answered them.

      His answering the questions is more can be said for the likes of Stark County Democratic Party Randy Gonzalez, Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee appointed sheriff George T. Maier, Stark County Democratic Party Board of Elections member Deametrious St. John, Stark County GOP chairman Jeff Matthews and Republican state Representative Christina Hagan.

      Most Stark County elected/appointed officials do "face the music" of answering SCPR "pointed" questions when strange things appear to be happening on their watch, but not Gonzalez, not Maier, not Matthews and not Hagan.


      Here is Snyder last night "facing the [SCPR's] music!"

      Here is Sndyer in a kaleidoscope of film footage apologizing "all over creation - now that I have been caught" on ignore "the will of the North Canton people."

      Last night, North Cantonians assembled at council meeting saw an "old-fashion" evangelical-church-esque altar call in a "come to Jesus" moment.

      Here is Marcia Kiesling apologizing.

      Here is Stephanie Werren,

      And last week the SCPR wrote an article (LINK) on Councilman Daniel "Jeff" Peters (Ward 2) making contrition.

      But for the "Hell, Fire and Brimstone" administered by North Canton's civic activists, would there have been any repentance?

      The SCPR thinks not.

      Apologies are one thing; action is another.

      At a Snyder initiative, Council last night began consideration of an ordinance mirroring Osborne's Ordinance 5.

      And - as pointed out in the Public Speaks - there is no need for the ordinance to be declared "to be an emergency."  For even if passed last night, it will not go into effect until December, 2015.

      Council is not allowed - by virtue of Ohio statutory law - to pass legislation on council pay/benefits that impacts on the council passing the legislation.

      And there was a bonus.

      Councilman Doug Foltz announced that he was going to be hard pressed to ever again vote for "emergency" legislation.


      Guess who has been complaining about that happening all too often?

      You've got it, one Chuck Osborne - civic activist "persisting and enduring" City of North Canton, Ohio.

      Osborne, McCleaster, Conley, Balas-Bratton and scores of many other Stark Countians who make the sacrifice of having their good names slammed by errant public officials are the unsung heroes of Stark County.

      Proof of whether or not Snyder, Werren, Peters and Kiesling are truly repentant will not be forthcoming on the health care issue unless and until they compel Law Director Tim Fox to explain to North Canton voters the chapter and verse of "the primrose path" the SCPR thinks he created for North Canton council!

      Who is in charge, North Canton's city council members or Law Director Tim Fox?

      We shall see in coming weeks, no?


      Where Is The Healthcare Story?  Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      From:   Chuck Osborne

      To  Robert Wang 


              Robert Cyperski 
              Martin Olson
              Gayle Beck
              1 More...

      Hello Robert,

      I am growing increasingly concerned as to why the story on the Healthcare Ordinance and the brazen violation of that Ordinance by members of City Council, with the support of the Law Director, has not been published.

      This should be a front-page headline story in the Repository. Here you have a City Law Director who is surreptitiously subverting a lawfully enacted ordinance that was overwhelmingly approved by the voters 3 to 1 in the November 6, 2012,

      General Election and who is actively encouraging elected officials to violate the law.

      The path followed by citizens to enact this Ordinance was long and arduous, and the required process was followed to the letter.

      The City was duly alerted on May 9, 2012, that a petition was being circulated to gather signatures with the goal of placing the issue on the ballot. The City was provided a certified copy of the ballot language.

      On June 7, 2012, the City was presented with petitions containing 1,108 signatures for review and submission to the Stark County Board of Elections for validation.

      On June 15, 2012, The Stark county Board of Elections issued a letter certifying the validity of 1, 090 signatures, far in excess of the 746 signatures needed to place the issue on the ballot.

      On July 5, 2012, the North Canton Finance Director, Karen Alger, and Clerk of Council, Gail Kalpac, co-signed a letter to the Stark County Board of Elections stating, “Notice is hereby given that in pursuance of a resolution passed by the

      Members of Council of the City of North Canton, Stark County, Ohio, on the 5th day of July, 2012, there will be submitted to the vote of the qualified electors of said city, at the General election to be held November 6, 2012.…”

      On November 6, 2012, the Healthcare Initiative, known as Issue 5, passed overwhelmingly with 6,480 votes (71.76%) YES and 2,550 votes (28.24%) NO.

      On November 27, 2012, the Stark County Board of Elections certified the vote, and according to ORC 731.31, became law on the fifth day after the Board of Elections certified the official vote. Issue 5 became a lawfully enacted Ordinance December 2, 2012.

      North Canton’s part-time elected officials had ample warning, a full year’s notice, that come December 1, 2013, the beginning of the next term of City Council and the Mayor, they all would have to comply with the Healthcare Ordinance.

      If the City, or the Law Director, had any questions or objections to the lawfully enacted Ordinance, why were they not raised prior to December 1, 2013?

      Why would elected officials openly violate a City Ordinance based on secret assurances from the Law Director in backroom private meetings that the Ordinance was invalid?

      When was the public going to be made aware of any of this?

      My point in all of this is to ask if it is your editors who are holding up this story? Knowing that your Editorial Board has undertaken to support the Jackson – Plain – Canton Agreement, wholeheartedly (with several editorials urging passage), I question whether it is the intent of the Repository to shield North Canton City Council from controversy or distraction until the agreement is passed by City Council.

      The violation of a lawfully enacted City Ordinance by City Officials is simply “government out of control” and it is hard to fathom that a paper that holds itself out to protect and further democratic ideals is failing in those pursuits!

      When is this issue going to appear?

      Thank you,

      Chuck Osborne