Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ANOTHER SCDP-CC APPOINTEE, TODAY! ALLIANCE IMPLICATIONS FOR SURE, MAYBE COUNTYWIDE?



In the spotlight today is the selection of Alliance city council president by a Stark County political party.

With the passing of long term (since 1994) Carnation City "City Council" president John Benincasa on March 25 of this year, Ohio law provides that his political party (in this case, the Stark County Democratic Party and its Central Committee/Alliance Branch [SCDP-CC/Alliance]) appoints his successor to serve until the next regularly scheduled council elections (November, 2015).

There are a grand total of 15 Alliance Democrats who are eligible to weigh in this evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Stark Dems headquarters building located at 4220 12th Street NW in Canton.


The candidates are two persons who have served on council together; namely, current Councilwoman at Large Sue Ryan and former Councilman at Large Steve Okey.

As far as the SCPR is concerned, the person "who ought to be selected" is Councilwoman Ryan.

But it is far from certain that she will be.

Ryan tells the SCPR that she has counted her votes and she thinks she has a solid seven votes going into tonight's vote.  She would have a simple majority but one of her supporters on the above-list is out-of-town and will be unable to attend.

So that should leave it that the worst she can do is a 7 to 7 tie.

In that case, the SCPR is told, the committee persons engage new rounds of voting until the ranks of either Okey or Ryan break and at least a simple majority emerges (.i.e. 8 to 6 one way or the other, assuming, of course, that fourteen committee persons show up).

Of the two candidates, Okey is clearly heads and shoulders above Ryan, it appears to the SCPR, in political sophistication and therefore would seem to have a marked advantage over Ryan in the political "wheelin and dealin" that often takes place in scenarios like the one about to unfold this evening.

Moreover, Okey is said to have another advantage in that Stark Dems chairman Randy Gonzalez (who will preside over the meeting) is thought to be in the Steve Okey camp.

The SCPR understands that Gonzalez has told Ryan that he hoped Okey would be a candidate.

Initially, Alliance central committeeman Derrick Loy would be Ryan's opposition.

Loy is a man who appears to be:
  • SCDP-CC appointed sheriff George T. Maier's "right-hand-man," 
    • much like The Report thinks the political relationship between Maier brother Johnnie Jr. (executive vice chairman of the Dems) and R. Shane Jackson (son of former Stark County commissioner Gayle Jackson) who is the political director of the Stark County Democratic Party and is the chief deputy for Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.
    • as an employee of the Stark County sheriff's office since September, 2013, Loy appears to The Report to be the shadow of George Maier as he traverses Stark County in his capacity as sheriff,
However, it seems that the Dems must have concluded Loy had no chance to defeat Ryan and thereby enters Steve Okey.
From  prior SCPR blogs,  [LINK 1, LINK 2] here is a summation of the relationship of the relationships between Loy, Okey, Gonzalez and Maier:

Alliance "organized" Republicans do not like Loy and are likely to make him a special target in 2015 should he win the precinct committee contest.  And there are a number of "organized" Alliance Democrats who do not like Loy and this dislike has be accentuated recently by the filing of a lawsuit by his political friend Steve Okey against Alliance City Council (omitting Democrats Phyllis Phillips and John Benincasa) alleging Ohio Sunshine Law violations in that council voted on the matter of whether or not Loy should remain a member of the Alliance Sewer and Water Advisory Board (AS&WAB).

From a prior SCPR blog on the Okey lawsuit:

"the occurrence of a second incident on January 13, 2014 which involved Okey political ally and Alliance Democratic Party activist Derrick Loy (when Okey ran for mayor in 2011) in which Loy was denied a requested re-appointment to the Alliance Sewer and Water Advisory Board (AS&WAB)."

Beyond the Loy/Okey/Maier ties there are, of course, the Okey/George T. Maier ties.

Some think that the primary motivation for the Okey versus Alliance City Council lawsuit (filed February 4, 2014) was to embarrass Alliance City councilman and in earnest Okey political foe:  Republican Larry Dordea.

As pointed out by the SCPR in a blog done February 13th, Okey in his lawsuit chose to identify the collective defendants in the lawsuit as being "defendants Dordea."

So?

Well, it so happens that Okey was one of the lawyers for Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez and the SCDP-CC ( and thereby necessarily defended a George T. Maier interest) in a mandamus action brought days before the December 13, 2013 SCDP-CC selection date (which action failed) to keep Maier from being considered on the 13th.

Dordea himself, though a Republican, was himself a candidate on the 13th to be appointed Stark County sheriff by the Dems.

And, of course, Dordea is the Republican candidate for sheriff against Maier in November's general election.

Okey vehemently denies (LINK) that the lawsuit had anything whatsoever to do with his connection to the Maier/Dordea contest for sheriff.

The SCPR puts that under the category of  "the denial may be true, but who is going to believe it?"

Certainly, Larry Dordea doesn't.

The Report's take on Dordea is that he believes that the lawsuit and Okey's entry into the Alliance council presidency race has "everything to do" with the Dordea/Maier face off and nothing to do with Okey's professed concern about "sunshine in government" or wanting, from the council presidency chair to keep Alliance City Council "on the straight and narrow."
Though he has no vote, Gonzalez has ways and means at his disposal, the SCPR believes, to influence his political party's election Okey's way.  An example of such may be his setting this evening's meeting outside of Alliance.  Some think it may be more difficult for Ryan to get her supporters over to Canton than for Okey.

So from the inter-connectedness of Loy, the Maiers, Okey and Gonzalez standpoint, in a close vote, such as the one projected for this evening, The Report would be surprised for Ryan to emerge victorious.

However, Steve Okey has some "explainin" to do to participating Alliance Democratic central committee members as to why he stood by and allowed Republicans to gain control of Alliance City Council in the elections of 2013.

Take a close look at this graphic (underlying data from Stark County Board of Elections):


For some six to eight years, Alliance Democrats had controlled Alliance City Council.

But out of the general election of 2013, the Republicans came out on top.

So?

Well, some think that Steve Okey had it within his means to have prevented this political turnover.

The thinking is that he could have either run for Ward 3 council and discouraged Republican Dordea (formerly councilman-at-large) from seeking the seat and thereby have preserved council being under the control of Alliance Democrats.

Or, Okey (formerly, at-large himself before not seeking reelection in what turned out to be a losing effort in running for mayor of Alliance in 2011) could have challenged for a council-at-large seat in 2013.

The Report is convinced that Okey should have run for the Ward 3 seat if he was all that interested in his Democratic Party (he seems, to the SCPR, to be more political than most Stark County elected public officials The Report comes across) being the majority party in Alliance's council.

Running for council-at-large would have been chancy.

But not running in Ward 3.

Dordea, the SCPR believes, would have opted to say council-at-large rather than risking losing to Okey.

So now he wants to be president of a Republican led council "to keep them on the 'straight and narrow?"'

If he gets appointed today, you can be sure that the Alliance Republicans will vigorously contest him come November, 2015.

If Sue Ryan wins today, who knows? Remember, the Republicans took the lead in making her council president, pro tem.

While the Alliance Republicans understand that Ryan is a Democrat, she does not seem to make their "blood boil" like Okey does.

Accordingly, it is not only likely that the Republicans will maintain control of Alliance City Council in the 2015 election, if Okey is the SCDP-CC/Alliance appointed council president; look for Republicans to prevail on a well-known and ensconced Alliance Republican (not currently an elected official) to take Okey on.

And if that unnamed person heeds the call, The Report thinks the SCDP-CC/Alliance branch will have succeeded in handing the presidency to the Republicans.

A position the Democrats held under Benincasa since 1994.

How would that be for making "a rambing wreck" of the Alliance Democratic Party?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

(VIDEOS) VISION VERSUS REALITY, HEALY VERSUS SMUCKLER "ONCE AGAIN?"



Since the 2003 Democratic Party primary election, William J. Healy, II and Bill Smuckler have sought to convince Cantonians that each, respectively, is the man to lead Canton out of the economic doldrums into a promising and productive future.



Smuckler lost to Republican Janet Creighton in the general election of 2003 whereas Healy defeated incumbent Creighton in the general election of 2007.

However, Bill Smuckler has been a fixture on council (except for a couple of breaks when he ran for mayor and from 1990 through 1991) going back to 1987 according to Canton's website:


Last night, the battle for the "hearts and minds" and the "political" allegiance of Cantonians surfaced once again in their ongoing fight to demonstrate superior "effectiveness" in the quest to lead.

Taking a page out of the perhaps the greatest book ever written on the essential qualities of leadership - The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People  (1997) - the Stark County Political Report sets up the continuing vying for leadership of the Hall of Fame city on the basis of two of author Stephen Covey's seven principles.

Last night in the work session of Canton City Council (which takes place immediately before each and every Canton City Council meeting), Mayor Healy stepped forward to advocate for his April 8, 2014 "State of the City" speech promise to create a "plan" for Canton's economic and financial recovery.

His focus, The Report thinks, is at its heart a manifestation of Covey's second principle of leadership:  Begin With the End in Mind.

Smuckler's focus, on the other hand, is based on another important Covey articulated principle:  Put First Things First.

Wait just a minute, Olson!

Two well-healed politicians contending on the basis of "principles."  You have to be kidding!

Well, yes and no.

There is no doubt about it.  William J. Healy, II and Bill Smuckler of two of Canton's more accomplished politicians.

However, the fight over a plan for Canton is more than for political advantage.  Both understand that Canton is in a fight for its very life.  And there comes a point in time when politics has to take a back seat to economic leadership principles if "real" economic and financial accomplishment are to be "actually" realized.

Politics is mostly a rhetorical game.

And rhetoric is not going to cut it for Canton.

Last night might have been the beginning of some soul searching on the part of city officials as they must surely realize that political gamesmanship has not worked for Canton over the last five decades or so as Canton has headed down a slippery slope into economic oblivion.

Let's back up a minute and begin a video trip from the Mayor Healy's articulation of his plan in his April 8th "State of the City" address.




On the Canton City Council agenda last night was the Healy "State of the City" promised authorization for the administration to enter into a contract with with CBZ, LLC for $350,000 to develop the Comprehensive [City of Canton] Citywide Plan.


As one might imagine, with the price tag for the Citywide Comprehensive Plan (CCP) being $350,000; there was bound to be some thoroughgoing discussion.

In addition to the price tag, there is, of course, the suspicion that Bill Smuckler wants a "rubber match" with Healy in the Democratic primary next May (2015) in order to be more than a political bridesmaid.

Smuckler has told the SCPR that he is not ruling out a third run for mayor.

While he won't say it, he has to worry (assuming he is seriously contemplating a 2015 run against Healy) that in funding the proposed CCP, council will in effect be putting $350,000 of city of Canton taxpayer funds to the advantage of Healy.

Healy, if he can get council to adopt the CCP early in 2015 (in the days leading up to the May primary), undoubtedly will be running as "the man with a plan."

Healy reminded the SCPR last night that Smuckler in 2011 ran as "the man with a plan" who now, Healy suggests, to be "a man against the plan"

On thinking about it, The Report thinks that such is an unfair characterization of Smuckler's stance.

Simply stated, Smuckler is for a plan once the city of Canton gets its house in order in terms of getting a handle on the conditions of its streets, its deficient police and fire operations, and its inadequate ambulance services.

The setting started last night when council majority leader Frank Morris brought up Ordinance 10 in council's work session and elicited questions from council members.

And did he get one!

And guess from whom?

You've got it.  Healy nemesis Bill Smuckler.
  • SCPR Note:  Quotes are paraphrase approximations
Where is the money going to come from to implement the recommendations of the CCP, he asks.

Chief of Staff Fonda Williams answer:  "We need to prioritize in a collective effort and take advantage of this opportunity to start planning.



Next up.  Ward 7 councilman David Dougherty (former majority leader).

He wonders in the context of prior plans which went nowhere "where council support is going to come from (i.e. "one for all; all for one).



Majority Leader Frank Morris (Democrat, Ward 9) worries about whether or not council will adopt the plan when completed and therein "pissing away" $350,000.



Finally, "wholehearted support of the Healy administration Comprehensive Citywide Plan from Ward 5 Democratic councilman Kevin Fisher.

Spending $300,000 (actually "up to $350,000) in the face of a $206 million (overall city of Canton annual spending [$2 billion over 10 years] does not seem to him to be all that significant.

He acknowledges that councilpersons may fight over how the recommendations of CZB, LLC gets implemented (i.e. the money that flows into a given Ward).  But he touts the city doing its part to work with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and its plan that has been in existence for years (last updated in 2013).



Finance Committee chairman Greg Hawk weighs in and (1) agrees that some Wards may get shorted in the short term but will benefit over the long haul as the city improves, and (2) gets assurances that Chief-of-Staff Williams will promote the city providing $100,000 (next year) out of Community Development Block Grant (CDGB) monies so that the outlay from the city's general fund will be limited to the initial payment to CZB, LLC of $200,00 out of the city's general fund.



To summarize, $350,000 is to be paid to CZB, LLC for its work.  $200,000 from Canton's general fund (which could end up being $300,000 if the CDBG money does not materialize) and $50,000 from the recently passed Park levy.

Councilman at Large Jimmy Babcock (a Democrat) brings Canton's Regional Chamber of Commerce representative Bill Gill into the discussion regarding the Chamber's fairly recent Downtown Development Plan (DDP) in the sense that he notes that a Canton CCP would be a positive development complementary of the DDP.



Joining Smuckler with a critique of the CCP is Councilman at Large Richard Hart, an independent.

Hart pretty much mimics Smuckler and also adds that he thinks the Canton City Schools should be part of funding a CCP.



Next addressing the Comprehensive Citywide Plan was Mayor Healy.

His emphasis is - as indicated in the graphic of this blog - "beginning with the end in mind."



Smuckler rejoins: (his "first things first" approach in detail)



His powerful ending was his refusal to accept the notion that Canton for the overall good of the city needs to accept the reality that some Canton neighborhoods will be written-off and not included in a CCP in its implementation.

Fonda Williams says that Smuckler does not have it correct in thinking that the CCP includes writing off certain neighborhoods.

Councilman Thomas West joins the mayor, Kevin Fisher and Fonda Williams in an enthusiastic embrace of the Comprehensive Citywide Plan.



Interesting indeed was the SCPR interview post-work-session.

The Report will use Frank Morris' term.  The mayor was pissed with Smuckler.

He had no idea what Smuckler had said, he (Smuckler) was being political, he was not a visionary, and (off camera) chided Smuckler for in the 2011 Smuckler/Healy Democratic Party primary of claiming to be the candidate with a plan.



Of course, the SCPR always provides an opportunity for the likes of a Bill Smuckler to respond:



Next council moved on to its regular meeting.

Noteworthy during the meeting were opinions expressed by five Cantonians on the CCP, to wit:



Also, The Report captured council president Allen Schulman and Ward 8 councilman Edmond Mack (Democrat - Ward 9) being supportive of the CCP.

Both embraced the "vision for Canton" approach.

Councilman Mack:



And President Allen Schulman:



But there were some procedural fireworks as Councilman Smuckler was not giving up without a fight.

In the end, the mayor prevailed on the question on a 7 to 4 vote.  (Morris, Babcock, Hart and Smuckler voting "no")



Councilman Smuckler deserves high marks for persisting in raising questions on the plan and the manner in which it was being pushed through council.  Though he differed with Smuckler, Finance Committee chair Greg Hawk went to great lengths to ensure that the measure passed "according to Hoyle" as a parliamentary procedure matter.

Hopefully, Mayor Healy has this one right and the spending of $350,000 will prove "to be the real deal" in terms of getting Canton on track to quit spinning its wheels if not regressing as Stark County's flagship city.

Time will tell.

The political significance of the Comprehensive Citywide Plan is that Healy will ride getting it adopted by council and implement right into a third term as mayor.

He says that Smuckler is being political.  And he may well be at least in part, though he denies it.

As The Report told Councilman Smuckler, obviously both he and the mayor want good things for Canton's future.

For cynicism not to completely overtake the citizens of Canton and doom Canton to continuing if not irretrievable decline, it is important that council and Mayor Healy put "first things first" and now that is seeing to it that the "beginning with the end in mind" results in a revived and resurgent Canton!

Councilman Smuckler's final word:

Monday, April 28, 2014

VOLUME 2 (SERIES) "GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN STARK CO GOV'T EMPLOYMENT?



 UPDATE 04/29/2014

Auditor Harold made of point of contacting the SCPR today say that he had no prior acquaintance with Ms. Sweeney prior to her being hired in her present capacity.

The Report has since checked prior blogs done on the employees of the Auditor's office  (LINK) and finds that Ms. Sweeney was listed as being an employee (CAUV coordinator) as the date (in 2013) of that blog.

ORIGINAL BLOG

The Stark County Political Report began a new series last Monday with Volume 1 with an examination of "the commissioners office," "the Stark County treasury" and "the recorder's office."

Today, the series continues with an examination of the auditor's officer and the prosecutor's office.

The prompt for engaging this series was an article which appeared in the Dayton Daily News on April 19th wherein "the average pay gap between men and women in the offices of four of Ohio’s five elected statewide officials has grown as high as nearly $10 an hour, while across state government the gap has shrunk to an average of 86 cents an hour ... ."

The Report has received plaudits from female county workers for having delved into this examination.

Also part of The Report's analysis along the way is whether or not the elected office holders are engaging in what appears to be patently political (male or female) employment practices.
l
On this latter point, The Report observed last week that Stark treasurer and Republican Alex Zumbar (ironically, a recipient of "non-partisan" Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee [SCDP-CC] action in becoming county treasurer) does not seem to be filtering politics out in his selection of new employees.

Recently, he has hired the daughter of Republican Stark County Probate Court judge Dixie Park and the daughter of Alliance (Zumbar's political base) Republican Alliance councilman-at-large Roger Rhome.

The Report recalls Rhome - several years ago, on being questioned about the strength of his Republican Party ties in Alliance, as minimizing those ties.

Really?

What's the saying?

"Actions speak louder than words?"

Anyhow, the charts produced last week seem to indicate that there is a male bias in the hiring of "the top jobs" with the Stark County commissioners, the Stark County auditor and the Stark County recorder.

Moreover, to the SCPR, there is more than a tinge of political bias in hiring practices.

On the gender factor, the national and Ohio Democratic Party operatives are attempting to paint office holding Republicans as being in favor of paying women less than men, which, of course, is a violation of law.

A violation of law?

So why isn't it dealt with in the legal arena?

Because it is extremely difficult to prove in a given case alleging same.

All kinds of legal differentiations are bought to bear by the putative violators as to why in specific case a violation of law has not occurred.

But when one looks at "the gestalt" of what the charts in an overall sense clearly show, it appears that top positions in government "from the White House to the local court house" are weighted towards men.

And Stark County appears - so far in the SCPR's examination - to be no different.

Taking a look at the Stark County auditor's office:


Aren't color contrasts wonderful?

In the auditor's office, think maybe the bottom pay ranks are dominated by "the pink" whereas the top pay ranks are dominated by "the blue?"

Hmm?

It could be that Republican auditor Alan Harold inheritled the bias towards men inasmuch he has not been auditor all that long.

He ousted Democrat Kim Perez in November, 2010 probably as a consequence of Perez being perceived by the Stark County voting public has having been "politically" too close to former Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler who The Report thinks the public blames him for not having had administrative practices, procedures, polices and secure facilities in place so as to have prevented his former chief deputy treasurer Vince Frustaci from having stolen perhaps as much as upwards of $3 million in Stark County taxpayer money.

But he has been auditor for the better part of four years and there comes a point in time that a new officeholder is responsible for correct inequities if they exist.

Harold can crow about the highly talented and accomplished Anita Henderson as his top paid official.

However, the above-chart shows she is clearly "the exception rather than the rule."

Of the top 20 auditor employees, only 3 are females.

Really?

What could there possibly be about doing administrative real property appraisal work that men have a special talent for, especially in "the top pay" categories?

That is a tough one to sell to the general public, no?

One more thing about Harold.

In hiring former Republican Canton mayorality candidate A.R. "Chip" Conde (by the way; a favorite of the SCPR in his race against Democrat William J. Healy, II in their 2011 general election standoff), the SCPR thinks that it did not hurt Conde in the slightest (The Report being just a tad sarcastic) that he is a top Stark County Republican.

Here is an email the SCPR received after last week's blog:


Hmm?

Here is what the auditor's office database shows on Zustin and Sweeney:


During the six plus years that the SCPR has been in existence, most of the fire from The Report on what is suspected to have been on the basis of a political party ID litmus test has been focused on county Democratic officeholders.

Now why would that be?

How about:  most countywide and to a certain degree city (i.e. Canton and Massillon) government offices have been controlled by Democrats?

Does anybody believe that Republicans, as they reverse things, will be any different?

The SCPR certainly doesn't think so and early returns (Zumbar and Harold) suggest that The Report's skepticism is well-founded, no?

Although they both evidence being well-up-to-it to do their jobs, The Report believes there was a political element to Republicans Brant Luther (February, 2013) and Chris Nichols (June, 2013) being hired as county administrators [budget director].

Turning now to the Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero's office.

The Report has been both highly critical of how Ferrero has run his office and laudatory with the latter coming in how he stood up in heroic fashion with former sheriff Tim Swanson to get in the way of the Massillon Maier political machine in its ongoing drive to make George T. Maier something other than the SCDP-CC appointed sheriff.

Here is what the Ferrero-led office chart looks like:


Pretty impressive along gender lines, no?

While the top four of five positions are held by men; of the top 30 the numbers are nearly 50/50 on the gender factor.

For the most part, these are "professional level" (i.e. lawyers) employees.

Nothing against John Kurtzman, Dennis Barr and Ross Rhodes, (The Report is not familiar with Caldwell), but for the SCPR's money Ferrero's "top gun prosecutor" is Chryssa Hartnett.

For that matter, it is beyond the SCPR how she gets bested by some $12,000 by Michelle Cordova. Two more years (Cordova's "adjusted" longevity) and she gets $12,000 more?

And from what the SCPR hears from the numerous Stark County lawyers that The Report is acquainted with, Hartnett is Ferrero's best litigator.

Hmm?

On the political front there are a couple of notable matters to discuss.

First, what is the role of John Kurtzman?

The Kurtzman factor seems to come up quite a lot in The Report's dialogues with members of the Stark County Bar.

The SCPR hears that there is a political bond between Ferrero and Kurtzman that goes back to Ferrero's Massillon days (law director, January, 1988 to February, 2003)

Kurtzman's critics are not that local lawyers do not like him, but they question "the value added" in terms of the prosecutor's office being a "lean and mean" prosecuting machine.  Often the SCPR hears that the $84,414 could be better used in the trenches of prosecuting Stark's "bad guys and gals."

Also interesting is the presence of Vivianne Duffrin on the Ferrero payroll.

Because she was of the opinion as of February 5, 2013 (as least former sheriff Tim Swanson says so) that George T. Maier was not qualified under Ohio Revised Code Section 311.01 to be Stark County sheriff, she was let go by Maier in October, 2013.

So where does she surface?

With her former employer (1992 through the date of her shifting to the sheriff's office) and fellow Democrat John D. Ferrero.

Ferrero rehired her shortly after she resigned (on December 11th) after the SCDP-CC reappointed Maier on the 11th after he had been ousted on November 6th by the Ohio Supreme Court (Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto).  On Maier's ouster, Swanson had brought her back from the 6th through December 11th).

Was bringing political ally Duffrin back really the most efficient and productive thing Ferrero could have done with the $55,805?

Hmm?

There you have it folks!

Volume 2 of the SCPR's analysis of the gender/political pay/hire mix in the Stark County departments of government.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

(VIDEOS) COMMISSIONERS CATCH IT AGAIN ON 2014 BUDGET!



VIDEOS

VETERAN SERVICE COMMISSIONER MEMBER
FRANK KEMP, SR
COMPLAINS TO STARK CO COMMISSIONERS
ON 2014 BUDGET ITEMS

=======================================

COMMISSIONERS'
RESPONSE TO
KEMP

=======================================

KEMP ELABORATES WITH SCPR
ON
HIS COMPLAINTS

One of the most exciting agenda items at regular Stark County commissioner meetings (Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Stark County Office Building) is one named "Public Speaks."

Most meetings come and go without any Stark County citizen appearing and taking advantage of this time on the agenda to let the commissioners know how they are doing.

But every once-in-a-while, a citizen does appear.  And when one does, it is usually to vent about this thing and that thing.

And some of them have "an axe to grind."

Such was the case yesterday as Veteran Service Commission (VSC) Board Member Frank Kemp, Sr. (holding the Vietnam Veterans chair on the board) took center stage to go after the commissioners on several items



Kemp's presentation began benign enough in that it seemed as if that he was merely appearing to find out whether or not he was going to get a 5% pay raise like (he says) member Robert Haas did last year when he was reappointed by the nine member Stark County Court of Common Pleas bench to a new five year term.

But things soon disintegrated into a sharp exchange between Kemp and the commissioners.

Commissioner Thomas Bernabei assured Kemp that all was well with prior raises and any concerns that Haas would have to pay the $357.61 2013 raise were unwarranted - that is - until County Administrator Brant Luther had never approved Haas' raise and that it had been given at the initiative of former Veteran Service Commissioner director Robert Toth (now retired).

Here is where things get dicey.

Kemp to Commissioner Bernabei:  "May I have another couple minutes, please?"

Bernabei:  "Yes, go ahead."

Whereupon Kemp launched an attack on the commissioners' office of the 2014 Stark County budget on the matter of additional hires in the face of the commissioners (in their role as budget appropriators) were "denying 'some' other county offices increases in their budgets."

Apparently, not wishing to get into a fuss with Kemp, Bernabei deferred on the basis of the commissioners' budget director (Chris Nichols) being out of the office on county business promised that county officials would get back to Kemp either personally or in the context of next week's commissioner meeting.

One would think Kemp would let "well, enough alone," no?

Not on your life!

That is when it became obvious that Kemp and his organization (the Veteran Service Commission, headed up by Gary Ickes) had "some fish to fry" with the commissioners over other grievances going back a number of years that the Veteran Service Commission and Kemp seemed to be fuming about.

Last week, a former VSC member (Ben Wolf) was in to see the commissioners asking that the commissioners reverse themselves on a decision "not to fund" overnight stays for board members and several VSC employees in Independence, Ohio (a Cleveland suburb) during their attendance at a mandatory training conference for VSC connected persons.


On April 2nd, the commissioners had pared the hotel/motel part of the conference expenses from the VSC request (LINK).


And beyond that the commissioners going back a number of years, the commissioners had been contending with former director Robert Toth on VSC expenditures in light of what the commissioners have suggested has been inadequate outreach to Stark's veterans by the VSC.

The commissioners quarreled with Toth over his $100,000 plus salary and the fact that the VSC office is closed from Noon to 1:00 p.m. for no apparent "good" reason.

The commissioners say no other Stark County office closes down for the noon hour.

Back to Kemp.

He made his attack specific in singling out County Administrator Brant Luther, Budget Director Chris Nichols and commissioners legal counsel David Bridenstine as being examples of excessive (in terms of the need and/or in terms of the remuneration paid) "taking care of oneself" by the commissioners on budget items.

He criticized the commissioners paying Luther nine (9) percent more (Luther currently makes $86,715.20 annually) in his hire at the rate that former county administrator Mike Hanke made on his retirement.

Kemp also chided Commissioner Creighton for not applying her 2% cap (which she known to "orate upon") to the likes of Luther.

Take a look at Kemp addressing the commissioners.

Bernabei's response.

First, the 2% does not apply to new hires, and, second, rejoinded a reference by Kemp to the commissioners' historical discontent with former director Toth's pay:  "Mr. Toth's salary was outrageous given the level of responsibilities he had."

To say the least, Commissioner Bernabei was "ticked off."

Take a look at the exchange between Kemp and the commissioners:



After the meeting the SCPR engaged the commissioners to elaborate further on their reaction to Kemp.



Moreover, here is a video of Kemp after he left the commissioners' meeting.



The SCPR does not think this matter is over.

What Kemp did was likely to have "opened a can of worms" in that the commissioners (through the county administrator and county budget director) are looking into the process by which VSC board members have gotten pay raises.

It could be that Kemp and future renewing/replacement board members will not being getting the "expected" raises.

The moral of the complete story is that when one gets into what The Report thinks was an exercise in comeuppance on the part of Kemp and by extrapolation the VSC board and administration, it could be that these VSC connected folks "may get more than the bargained for!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A STARK COUNTY-WIDE SIGNIFICANCE TO WHOM GETS "SELECTED" ALLIANCE CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT?



At first blush, one might ask:  what is all the "to-do" about whom gets elected Alliance City Council president between Councilwoman Sue Ryan (Democrat; council-at-large) and Steve Okey (Democrat; a former councilman)?

And, why would anybody want to bring the revered and recently deceased longtime council president (1994) John Benincasa into the fray?

On April 30th (one week from today), the Alliance members of the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (SCDP-CC/Alliance) will be selecting from among present city council president pro tem Sue Ryan (Democrat - council at large) and former city councilman/councilman-at-large (and Alliance mayoralty candidate [2011] Steve Okey for the Carnation City's council president.


So?

Why don't we just go watch paint dry?

Not so quick!

The Stark County Political Report for one thinks that there is much more at play than merely electing a Benincasa successor.

Really?

 Okay, "i'll bite.  'Much more at stake.'  Exactly what?

How about who becomes Stark County's next sheriff?

Really?

That's what The Report is thinking?

How's that?

Well, originally it was thought that George T. Maier appendage Derrick Loy would be vying for the presidency with some thought that Loy might be asked to step aside if Okey decided he wants to re-enter Alliance political life.


The Report is told that Loy had been working feverishly on a seeming daily basis contacting SCDP-CC/Alliance members repetitively in his quest to get commitments for a majority of their votes on April 30th.

That is, until Okey decided he wanted in.

Naturally, Loy was going to make a quick exit and through his all-out support to Okey inasmuch as the two are very thick politically.

Evidence of the Loy/Okey relationship please!

From an April 16, 2014 SCPR blog:
Beyond the Loy/Okey/Maier ties there are, of course, the Okey/George T. Maier ties.

Some think that the primary motivation for the Okey versus Alliance City Council lawsuit (filed February 4, 2014) was to embarrass Alliance City councilman and in earnest Okey political foe:  Republican Larry Dordea.

As pointed out by the SCPR in a blog done February 13th, Okey in his lawsuit chose to identify the collective defendants in the lawsuit as being "defendants Dordea."

So?

Well, it so happens that Okey was one of the lawyers for Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez and the SCDP-CC ( and thereby necessarily defended a George T. Maier interest) in a mandamus action brought days before the December 13, 2013 SCDP-CC selection date (which action failed) to keep Maier from being considered on the 13th.

Dordea himself, though a Republican, was himself a candidate on the 13th to be appointed Stark County sheriff by the Dems.

And, of course, Dordea is the Republican candidate for sheriff against Maier in November's general election.

Okey vehemently denies (LINK) that the lawsuit had anything whatsoever to do with his connection to the Maier/Dordea contest for sheriff.

The SCPR puts that under the category of  "the denial may be true, but who is going to believe it?"

Certainly, Larry Dordea doesn't.

The Report's take on Dordea is that he believes that the lawsuit and Okey's entry into the Alliance council presidency race has "everything to do" with the Dordea/Maier face off and nothing to do with Okey's professed concern about "sunshine in government" or wanting, from the council presidency chair to keep Alliance City Council "on the straight and narrow."

As if to prove that he is the equal of if not superior to Okey in political "wheelin and dealin," Dordea, the SCPR thinks, did his "one up you Steve Okey" at an Alliance City Council meeting this past Monday.

Let's have Alliance Review reporter Stephanie Ujhelyi tell it (Ryan named council president pro tem, April 22, 2014):
What would John do?

Those were the words on Alliance Council President Pro Tem Lawrence Dordea's mind when he stepped down from the late John Benincasa's chair Monday night at the start of council's regular meeting. And he wasted no time in throwing his support behind at large Councilwoman Sue Ryan to fill the position, albeit temporarily.

Dordea, R-3, remarked to the audience, "It's not often that I call a chair by name, but it seems inappropriate for a Republican to sit in (longtime Democrat) John Benincasa's seat. I'm resigning (from his chair) because it's the right thing to do. We want to avoid partisan and conflict re-entering those doors," he said as he motioned to the back doors of council chambers.

Wow!

What a show of "non-partisanship," no?

Forgive the SCPR's skepticism, but The Report is not buying.

Not any more that the SCPR buys Okey's claim to be politically unmotivated in his having filed the aforementioned lawsuit, his naming the defendants "defendant Dordea," and his running for Alliance City Council president.

Hence the Stark County Political Report's theme for this blog:  "there is a lot more to the fight over the Alliance City Council presidency than what appears on the surface."

Should Steve Okey get elected, the SCPR has no doubt that he will use the position to promote Maier's candidacy for sheriff.

Maier has no political base in Alliance, he and his brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (who, by the way, Okey is currently representing in a tiff with the union representing Masillon policemen) have a Maier political machine base in Massillon).

The SCPR thinks that the Maiers are using Okey and Loy as George's political operatives in Alliance and eastern Stark County.

The question for Dordea is:  can he counter them by making them defend the Maier home turf in western Stark County?

So to Ujheli's question, What would John do?

The SCPR thinks nobody knows.

And in all due respect to John Benincasa, even if his desires were known, the "realpolitks" of the matter is what are the 15 SCDP-CC/Alliance members going to do on April 30th.

More importantly in the context of "realpolitik" is what Stark Dems chairman Randy Gonzalez thinks.

The SCPR thinks whether or not he will admit it publicly (like he did in coming out for George T. Maer over Lou Darrow for the SCDP-CC appointment for sheriff on the inability of November, 2012 Sheriff-elect Mike McDonald to take office on January 7, 2013), Gonzalez is solidly in the Okey camp and will do what he can to influence SCDP-CC/Alliance members to support the former Alliance councilman.

There are already signs of that in the selection of the site at which the SCDP-CC/Alliance members will meet next Wednesday to select Benincasa's successor.

When Ward 2 Alliance Councilwoman Phyllis Phillips resigned her seat in February of this year, the Ward 2 precinct committee persons met in Alliance.  And this is the standard practice for the Stark Dems.

But where is the meeting going to be held on the Ryan/Okey square off?

At Stark Dems' party headquarters on 12th Street in Canton, that's where!

And who arranged for that site?

The SCPR is told that it is one Derrick Loy who - over the head of Ryan (the eastern Stark County Democratic Party coordinator) is said to after conferring with Gonzalez decided that the Alliance 15 will have to travel to Whipple and 12th Street to make their selection.

Maybe the travel causes more trouble to Ryan supporters than Okey's?

Hmm?

While Democrat Sue Ryan is on record in supporting Democrat George T. Maier for sheriff come November, the SCPR knowing how the Maiers and Gonzalez think when it comes to "matters political," Ryan does not come anywhere near having the pro-George T. Maier credentials that Steve Okey does and there is no doubt with the Stark County Political Report that the Maiers, (Johnnie, Jr is executive vice chairman of the Stark Dems and George is on the executive committee), Gonzalez and Loy are in "a full court press mode" to ensure Okey's selection.

Dordea's move on Monday night will - the SCPR believes - "stoke the fires" of "political paranoia" among the Maiers and their allies.

 Undoubtedly Dordea's gesture will be used by Okey and his supporters to twist the arms of the SCDP-CC/Alliance arms "Okey's way."

Ryan, for her part, says she thinks that Chairman Gonzalez will stay out of  the selection process.

The Report does not think so.

Ryan will make a fight of it.

And the SCPR thinks she - if elected council president - will carry on the tradition of John Benincasa of ending politics when the election is over and done with and therefore should be the heir apparent.


The question is can she and her supporters match/exceed Okey and friends in political sophistication.

Such is likely to be the determinant of the outcome; not the "What John would do" question.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Here is the content of a series of question that Steve Okey answered for the SCPR about the selection process:

Do you think had it been a case of not passing away but retiring (before term expiration) and the situation of you and Ryan competing to succeed him that Benincasa would have endorsed you over her?

I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to speculate about what might have happened under other circumstances.  John and I enjoyed a warm and friendly relationship, as he did with many others.  I do know, however, that John very strongly supported me during my run for mayor in 2011.  Attached is the newspaper ad that John wrote and that we ran during the campaign.  I was very thankful for his steadfast public support.  

Do you think that there was a political motivation for Dordea having done what he did last night in stepping down given your association with George Maier in the qualification battle, given the lawsuit you filed tagging the defendants with Dordea's name?

Rather than speculating, I think this is a question that is better directed to Mr. Dordea.

I have been told that Benincasa was infuriated with your lawsuit against selected members of Alliance City Council.  Do you dispute this claim?  If so, please expound on your reasons for taking exception.

John never mentioned to me any reaction about the court action.  He always spoke candidly and I never knew him to hold back if he had a view to share.

I have attached a copy of the list of SCDP-CC/Alliance listing as provided to me by Jeanette Mullane "as of" yesterday as an "up-to-date" listing.  Would you assess the listing for whom you think will be supporting you versus whom will be supporting Ryan come next Wednesday and share your assessment with me?

I am thankful for the expressions of support that I have already received from many Central Committee members, but I don’t think it would be appropriate to publicly comment on how they may exercise their right to vote.

Thanks,

Steve

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

(VIDEOS) CATAZARO-PERRY ADMINISTRATION & MASSILLON CITY COUNCIL ON SAME PAGE?



VIDEOS

MAYOR KATHY CATAZARO-PERRY
ANSWERS
"THE" KEY QUESTION

=============================

COUNCILMAN ED LEWIS
ON
THE MAYOR'S ANSWER

============================= 

COUNCILMAN PAUL MANSON
ON
THE MAYOR'S ANSWER

============================= 

THE ENTIRE COUNCIL WORK SESSION

A key moment in Massillon City Council's work session last night?

The question.

Would Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry support an income tax increase of .2 percent to bring the total Massillon City income tax up from 1.8% to 2%.

"Let's ask her," said Ward One Councilwoman Sarita Cunningham-Hedderly (a Republican).

And with Cunningham-Hedderly's request, the mayor took to the dock and answered the question.



After some assurances from various council members (principally Democrat Paul Manson and Republican Ed Lewis, chairman of Finance) she said she would.

Hallelujah!

Finally, finally after two and one-half years of wrangling the mayor of Massillon shows that she can work with council.

Those occasions have been few and far between.

And there has been absolutely no concord on ways and means to raise revenue for the city as Massillon drifted towards and ended up being declared by the State of Ohio to being  in fiscal emergency on October 8, 2013.

On March 25th the Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission rejected council's first recovery plan.  The hang up was council's insistence that the part of the plan reducing the income tax credit that Massillonians working out-of-town get on their Massillon income tax returns was set to sunset on December 31, 2015.

Under the new plan, only if the income tax plan passes will the tax credit reduction go away.

Also part of the plan approved by council last night in its formal meeting which started one hour after the work session ended is a $25 street lighting fee per property with a building on it.

There were differences among council members as to whether or not a list of alternative revenue raising/expense saving measures (a back up plan should the income tax increase fail) should be made part of the overall plan.  In the end,  council by a 7 to 2 show of hands decided to leave the back up measures out of the basic plan.

Massillonians should be encouraged by the "break through of political sunshine" which appears to occurred last night.  Gone was the harshness of previous sessions of council and the combativeness between the mayor and various council members.

It has been a long, tortured road to get Mayor Catazaro-Perry and council on more or less the same page.  The Report believes that credit should go to both the mayor and council members.

After the work session, the SCPR spoke with Councilman Lewis and Councilman Manson.

First, Councilman Lewis.



Next Councilman Manson.



Here is the video for the entire work session.



Monday, April 21, 2014

VOLUME 1: (SERIES) "GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN STARK CO GOV'T EMPLOYMENT?



UPDATED:  4:52 PM
Update #1

Oops!  The SCPR, a source says, missed another "suspiciously partisan-based" appointment by Republican Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar.

The Source says that Karli Rhome is the daughter of  Republican member of Alliance City Council Roger Rhome (councilman-at-large).

It appears that Republican Zumbar may be trying to play catch up with various Democratic Stark County political subdivision elected officials who seem to have a penchant for rewarding political loyalists at the expense of Stark Countians at large.

The SCPR is not impressed!

-----------------------------------------

Update #2

Among revelations in the Bishoff Dayton Daily News article (referred to in today's blog; not included in the original blog) were certain moves within the Ohio Treasurer's office (administered by Republican Josh Mandel) which some think are an examples of discrimination against women getting equal pay for equal work in the public sector.

Mandel opponent and Democrat Connie Pillich has issued the following press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jake Strassberger (513) 580-8444, Press@ConniePillich.com
                 
Connie Pillich Statement On Josh Mandel’s Hiring Practices As Treasurer

As Treasurer, Mandel Oversaw a Sizable Exodus of Female Employees, Created A Pay Gap Where One Didn't Exist

CINCINNATI – In response to yesterday’s Dayton Daily News investigative report detailing (1) the 35-person exodus of women at the Treasurer’s office during Josh Mandel’s tenure and (2) his creation of a pay gap that didn't exist when he took office, State Representative Connie Pillich issued the following statement:

“It’s disappointing to hear that Ohio’s Treasurer of State would shortchange families this way,” said State Representative Connie Pillich.  “This is a major problem in Ohio and around the country, and that anyone would underpay and under-hire women doesn’t just hurt them: it hurts their families.  This shouldn’t be happening in any office—public or private—and it especially shouldn’t be happening in the State Treasurer’s office.”
 

VOLUME ONE 
Equal Work, Equal Pay
Stark County  
(In the Public Sector)

Yesterday, as the Stark County Political Report was browsing the Internet, The Report came across in "investigative journalism" piece published by the Dayton Daily News (LINK) Gender pay gaps widen in statewide offices; Kasich, FitzGerald both have high pay gaps between men and women (Laura A. Bischoff - Columbus bureau, April 19, 2014).

Among the important findings by Bishoff (in language take directly from her article):
  • The average pay gap between men and women in the offices of four of Ohio’s five elected statewide officials has grown as high as nearly $10 an hour, while across state government the gap has shrunk to an average of 86 cents an hour ... .
  • Women working in Gov. John Kasich’s office earn on average $9.81 an hour less than the men — the highest gender pay gap among the state’s five elected statewide officeholders, according to data from the Ohio Department of Administrative Services,
    • The gap is more than twice the $3.99 an hour inequity under former Gov. Ted Strickland in 2010
    • Kasich’s likely Democratic opponent in the November election, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, has a gender pay gap of $7.02 an hour between men and women in his office, which is high when compared to the offices of the state auditor, secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general
  • Across state employment, the pay gap has averaged $1.09 over the past seven years and most recently was 86 cents an hour
Women being worked over is nothing new in America.  All one has to do is to give a thorough reading to Gail Collins' America's Women to grasp the shocking details of the guff women of the "land of opportunity" (for some) have suffered going back to 1607.  (LINK:  NY Times review)

Certainly the Collins' work is a gestalt of the treatment that American women have been meted out.  The inspiring part of her treatise are her multiple examples of how women have taken adversity and turned a "sow's ear into silk."

Of course, many of us have had first hand anecdotal observational experience of the discrimination that women have had to endure.  As the father of three highly accomplished daughters, I have stood side-by-side with them fighting the good fight in combating the  "just because you are a woman" part of American culture.

Earlier this month (April 8th) America marked "Equal Work, Equal Pay Day," and it appears that the Democratic Party was out in full force on the eighth (LINK) with President Obama in the lead on the issue.

Republicans bristle at the notion that the Democrats have the high ground on the issue (LINK) and are out to show that they are every bit the proponents of equal pay for equal work.

Nevertheless Republicans seem to have "a cross to bear" on the issue inasmuch as on April 9th, all Republican United States senators vote "no" (LINK) to allow the matter (Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014) to come up for a vote.  Sixty votes are needed in the Senate for a matter to get an "up or down vote."

What did Ohio Republican senator Rob Portman have to say about his "no" vote on the bill:
I think it’s really important that Republicans say strongly, we’re against discrimination, we acknowledge that on any number of fronts there is still a problem out there, and that’s why we need good strong laws, but we don’t want laws that would discourage work.
So it is against this background (the Bishoff investigation, the Obama "equal work, equal pay" factor, and the US Senate inaction) that the Stark County Political Report has decided to examine Stark County political subdivision records.

Of course, those readers who have become accustomed to the "inquiring mind" of the SCPR, (to the consternation and dismay of many Stark County elected officials) have to know that the referenced background items would perk up the interest of The Report as to whether or not the findings of the outstanding work Bischoff would correlate at all within Stark County government.

Accordingly, The Report obtained a dabatabase listing of Stark County employees as of April 17th to do analysis of how Stark County departments of government do in terms of male/female differentiation, if any.

For this Volume One of this SCPR planned series of  - over time - examining the payrolls of the villages, cities and township governments to determine which local governments are doing well or not doing so well in the matter of equal pay for equal work on the basis of gender.

Today, Report has decided to begin the series with an examination of the payrolls of the Stark County commissioners' office, the Stark County treasury and the Stark County recorders' office.

FIRST, THE COMMISSIONERS


Interesting, no?

Four of the top five employees are?

You've got it!

Men.

And two of the men (Luther and Nicholson) have been on the job for a little over a year whereas some of the veteran female employees have been on the job since 1990, 1998 and 2004.

Only one of three has cracked the top five pay grade spots and that puts her (Young) only and in the number four (#4) spot.

Hmm?

Probably the most damning factor of the commissioners' office listing (in terms of not having a female among the "very top" of the list) is that they have hired their top three (hourly pay rate-wise) employees since January, 2013.

It could be that the SCPR's memory is faulty, but The Report does not recall that a female was among the finalists when the commissioners' selected Brant Luther to be their chief administrator.

Moreover, when the commissioners hired Chris Nichols as budget director, they merely picked him (he finished second to Luther in the chief administrator hunt) without posting the position to the general public.

Think maybe just maybe a highly qualified female might have applied for that position?

Could have been, no?

This is a case-in-point that, to say the least, it disappoints the SCPR when Stark County elected officials make appointments without having posted the position.

The SCPR is on repetitive blog-record of thinking the world of Chris Nichols and his performance as budget director.

So this blog is hardly a blight on him.

Rather it is a knock on the commissioners for having circumvented "due diligence procedures" to ensure that Nichols was the very best candidate available.

The Report thinks they dis-served Nichols, themselves and Stark Countians in aborting the employment process in making the budget director hiring decision.

Also curious is how Marsha Cimadevilla (hired in 1998) is paid less on an hourly basis than Rick Flory.  They are both managers.  Moreover, it may be that since Mike Hanke left as chief county administrator and the commissioners hired Nichols to do the budgeting that Flory does not have the responsibilities (less or no work on budget matters as he had under Hanke) that he once had.

Could gender fairness indicate that Cimadevilla deserves a pay raise?

SECOND, THE STARK COUNTY TREASURY


Five of the top seven treasury positions are held by men in the Stark County treasury.

However, it is hard to make a gender discrimination assessment of any degree when the number one and four employees (pay wise) are females.

More troublesome to the SCPR about Zumbar is maybe an emerging picture of political bias in how he pays his employees.

Rota Cutter was the chief cashier for former treasurer Gary D. Zeigler (a Democrat).  She is a Democrat according to Secretary of State Jon Husted's records.

That she works for a Republican at all in one his top positions would seem to belie that political bias might be a factor in pay differential.  However, Cutter has been an employee of the treasury since 2000 thereby giving her more than seven (7) years seniority over the Republican Allbritain.

Undoubtedly, Zumbar has qualitative factors he would point out as justifying Allbritain's nearly $5 per hour higher pay grade than Cutter, no?

And, of course, there is the fact that he has Democrat Lem Green on the payroll.  Green, Stark County Political Report readers will recall, was a long term employee of Zeigler who left the embattled Zeigler's employment in July, 2010 saying some rather unkind things about Zeigler.

Interesting enough, Green, likely about 70 years old now, is listed as being an"intern."  Really?  Aren't interns high school and college students for the most part?

They are.

But in Stark County employment practice, county elected officials are known to re-employ former or retired former employees and designate them as being "interns."

Green is an example of such as the SCPR believes Wallace, Bolek, Prendes and Collins are.

That they are "not" novices, as their "latest" date of employment might lead one to believe, explains why their pay grade is higher than some "regular" employees of Stark's treasury.

Can't be anymore disingenuous than that, no?

The final factor which indicates to the SCPR that Zumbar pays attention to one's political connections is the hire of one Camilla Park.

She does fit the role of being a more traditional type of employee that fills an "intern" spot.

However, SCPR Internet research indicates that Camilla is the daughter of Stark County Probate Court judge Dixie Park (of Alliance [also Zumbar's home turf] and therefore is not as typical as one might think.

Hmm?

Wonder if that position was available to the sons and daughters of the Stark County taxpaying public.

The SCPR generally thinks well of Zumbar as evidenced in quite a number of blogs. However if The Report suspicions are correct on the Park hiring, it is a sad day for The Report in that such is not a distinguishing practice.

How ironic for Zumbar, who the SCPR thinks would not be Stark County treasurer but for the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (under pressure from the Stark County commissioners and generally perceived public support) appointing him on October 31, 2011 to invoke what seems to The Report to have been partisan political factors in making the Park hire.

To make matters worse, she is paid more than longer term interns.

The SCPR has learned "not to be surprised" about anything either Republican or Democratic elected officeholders do.

Because Republicans have not held many countywide offices over the last decade or so, they have not had the opportunity that the Democrats have had to give their political buddies jump starts at obtaining taxpayer funded jobs.

But with the Republicans having gained control of the auditor's office and the treasury, that picture is changing.  And the SCPR will be just as diligent in ferreting out Republican favoritism as that of the Democrats.

Before long and over a long stretch of time, the SCPR plans to take a detailed look at all Stark County political subdivision payrolls and tease out what appears to be employment based on what the SCPR thinks is primarily politically/connection based rather than merit based.

The SCPR suspects that political favoritism is far more prevalent as a primary factor in Stark County political subdivision government than anybody presently knows. 

Political favoritism layered over what may be some degree of gender bias is not a very pretty picture of the management by some elected officials of the Stark County political subdivision workforce.

And they wonder why the rest of us are growing more and more disillusioned with the governments they administer?

FINALLY, THE STARK COUNTY RECORDER


Surprisingly enough Stark Recorder Rick Campbell seems to come off better than either the commissioners or the Stark treasury on the gender pay factor.

However, before being too kind to Campbell, the SCPR reminds leaders that Campbell, he says - at his own initiative -  a number of years ago went out and snatched up Kody Gonzalez (the son of Stark County  Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez [also, at the chief deputy clerk of courts - Canton Municipal Court and the elected fiscal officer of Jackson Township]) to leapfrog over everybody else in the department in a position to become chief deputy (most likely, the SCPR thinks, to be a female) to become his "top-paid" chief deputy clerk.

Currently, the only question The Report has is why Dave Irwin has leapfrogged (promotion and pay-wise) over much longer serving female employees?

Could it be more a political factor than a gender factor, if either?

Probably.

Irwin ran (unsuccessfully) as the Democratic candidate in Ward 2 for Massillon City Council Republican incumbent Nancy Halter in November, 2013.

Campbell and the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr wing of the Massillon Democratic Party were big time supporters of Irwin in the fight by the Maier forces (LINK) to gain a foothold in Massillon's council in order to get more council support for the programs, policies and practices of Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

The Maier political machine, the SCPR thinks, was the key reason why Catazaro-Perry defeated 28 year mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr.

There you have it folks.

The first in a ongoing series that the SCPR will be publishing in upcoming days (weeks) in a look at whether or not Stark County's elected officials put female employees on a lower rung "opportunity-wise" along the same lines that the Dayton Daily News article suggests.

Friday, April 18, 2014

(VIDEO) THOMAS ROGERS TRIUMPHS!



IS ALL-OUT WARFARE ABOUT TO BREAK OUT BETWEEN 
THE 
CATAZARO-PERRY ADMINISTRATION 
&THE MASSILLON POLICE DEPARTMENT UNION 
IN ADMINISTRATION'S EFFORT
 TO SAVE 
MICHAEL MAIER'S SERGEANT RANK?

VIDEO

THOMAS ROGERS
TAKES OATH OF OFFICE
FROM AN UNHAPPY?
MAYOR KATHY CATAZARO-PERRY

BACKGROUND AS TO WHY THIS SWEARING-IN IS SO SIGNIFICANT

The Stark County Political Report thinks that newly promoted Sergeant Thomas Rogers has, at great personal sacrifice (i.e. the expense and trouble of filing a lawsuit against city of Massillon [his employer]), advanced the cause of "playing by the rules."


(See entire video of swearing-in ceremony at the end of this blog)

Every step of the way to his promotion the sergeant in the Massillon Police Department yesterday, Rogers as one would expect of a law enforcement officer has "gone by the book."

But the Stark County Political Report does think that the Mayor Catazaro-Perry's administration including the Massillon Civil Service Commission has done so.

Accordingly, although all was smiles and handshakes yesterday as the mayor swore Rogers in, you just know that it was a "grit her teeth" and "do what you gotta do" exercise for her.

Now why would The Report think that the administration has not "played by the rules?"

Because Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge John Haas and the majority of judges on a Fifth District Court of Appeals panel have said so.



Unlike other Stark County media, the SCPR has followed this case very closely. 

Not to be overlooked is Rogers legal counsel Craig T. Conley.  He has done superlative work for Rogers and as a consequence The Report hears that Sergeant Rogers is to receive about $10,800 in back pay.


Of course, conversely, Mayor Catazaro-Perry has cost Massillon taxpayers $10,800 by acting precipitously in making the original sergeant promotion and it could be that there will ultimately be a compounding of the increased taxpayer cost her action brings to Massillon.

If Catazaro-Perry was a stand up officeholder and accepted that she is accountable to taxpayers, the foregoing is an example of a line of inquiry she would have to respond to "on camera" at the hand of the Stark County Political Report.

Does anybody think the mayor could handle the SCPR's incisive questioning?

For much more detail read the blogs (LINK 1 and LINK 2) that The Report has written and it will be readily apparent why this particular case is especially noteworthy to many Massillonians.

And it ought to be for Stark Countians at-large.

His perseverance will make other such bodies of government throughout Stark County and, indeed, Ohio,  think twice, three or more times about "not" playing by the rules.

A SLAM AT THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE SCPR

In one sense,  it made the Stark County Report's day when told that Mayor Kathy said that Martin Olson was not welcome at the mayor's office for Rogers' swearing-in ceremony specifically because I am a blogger.

In one sense?

Yes.

That the SCPR has bored in on her administration (whereas the main stream media has not) and made telling criticisms of Catazaro-Perry's style and substance (or better, lack thereof) of leadership which after nearly two and one half years has Massillon struggling and in the throes of fiscal emergency with very little, if any, light at the end of the tunnel.

As The Report sees her leadership qualities as opined on in quite a number of blogs, it seems to be virtually non-existent inasmuch it appears that she almost completely relies on others to make her decisions for her.

The SCPR warned Massillonians before her election that such would be the case.

Moreover, the SCPR sees her having hostility towards anyone who dares to differ with her.

She takes cues from Massillon's self-proclaimed political Wizard of Oz who holds political office of his own in the Massillon Courts.  But being the clerk apparently is not enough.  He thought to be the real mayor of Massillon but of course has the advantage of hiding behind Catazaro-Perry's skirts.

To be the butt of Catazaro-Perry administration dissatisfaction is a compliment, no doubt about it.

But it was also "a day of infamy" insofar as The Report takes "the statement" in her capacity as a public official as being an attempt to trample on my rights under the Constitution of the United States of America.

A Constitution for which I put myself in harms way while serving in the United States of America Air Force (USAF) in South Korea, 1963 - 1964.  Two of my daughters are commissioned officers in the USAF doing their patriotism in defending the American way of life.

We in the Olson family put action where our mouths are.  Folks like the mayor and those to whom she beats a path to the Massillon Court complex in order to get her daily marching orders, "mouth off."

There is never an appropriate place or setting for someone to say to what the mayor said, but it is particularly offensive given yesterday's occasion.

In case the mayor has forgotten a key part of that Constitution that she is sworn to defend and uphold in her oath of office and which she administered to Sergeant Rogers yesterday includes:
Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Her own words in derogation of my Constitutional rights, I think, betray what a petty person she is.

Moreover,  she also appears to be an individual who thinks being mayor of a municipal government is her private office and fiefdom and that she does not have to respect my Constitutional rights as a media person to have access to public places..

Nor does she think she is accountable to the people through the media as she bristles at the scrutiny of the only Stark County media who looks behind the curtain of her administration.

She is entitled to take exception to the opinions I write in my blogs.  But hands off my Constitutional rights!!!

Like some of her political friends and supporters who occupy key public office positions in the government of Massillon, she knows she cannot handle the questions which would come from the Stark County Political Report were she to do what she ought to out of respect for the First Amendment and do interviews with and take questions from The Report.

In my view,  these folks are some "very insecure people," who avoid incisive scrutiny of  their government functions at all cost, including, apparently, countenancing the infringement of the Constitutional rights of any who critique them.

They align themselves with the Democratic Political Party.  The SCPR thinks they do not behave as small letter "d"emocrat bone in their bodies. What The Report thinks they stand for is bullying power politics that threatens the health of our democratic-republic.

And The Report is proud to provide examples for the people of Stark County to consider.

Moving on.

IS A MANAGEMENT/ UNION FIGHT LOOMING IN MASSILLON?

The SCPR has obtained documents that have been exchanged between the Massillon Civil Service Commission, F.O.P Henderson Lodge #105 and Maier attorney Steve Okey which indicate (in a collective context) to The Report that a war between the various parties to the correspondence may be about to erupt.

The Report thinks these documents speak for themselves and are not flattering to the Catazaro-Perry administration.

LETTER #1:  FOP TO MASSILLON CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION

NOTE:  CLICK ON THE GRAPHICS IN YOUR BROWSER TO ENLARGE


LETTER #2:  ATTORNEY STEVE OKEY (FOR MICHAEL MAIER) TO FOP


LETTER #3:  MASSILLON CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION TO FOP

 

LETTER #4:  FOP TO MASSILLON CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION


THE SWEARING-IN CEREMONY