Monday, March 30, 2015


Last Monday, The Stark County Political Report started a new feature:  Stark County Top 10 Leaders.

On a quarterly basis, The Report plans on ranking Stark County's political subdivision (villages, cities, township and boards of education) leadership in terms of the "Top 10."

See previous blogs in this series for the particulars of how the quarterly "Top 10" blogs will be constituted, revised and what the timetable is for publication.  (reference:  the Tom Bernabei blog)

And, of course, to see the SCPR's presentations on:
  • Stark County's #1 leader; namely, Stark County Commissioner Thomas M. Bernabei, and
  • Stark County's #2 leader; namely, Massillon Councilwoman Nancy Halter,
  • Stark County's #3 leader; namely, Canton Councilman Edmond Mack,
  • Stark County's #4 leader; namely, Stark County Auditor Alan Harold,
  • Stark County's #5 leader; namely, Stark County Treasurer Alex Zumbar,
  • Stark County's #6 leader; namely, Canton City Councilman Richard Hart,
Today's blog is on Alliance City Councilwoman Julie Jakmides.

And this extract from an impressive biography on the Alliance city government website:

Councilwoman Julie A. Jakmides is currently serving her second term as an At-Large member of Alliance City Council. 

Councilwoman Jakmides is 23 years old and a lifelong resident of the City of Alliance. She is a graduate of Regina Coeli and St. Thomas Aquinas High School (2010) and attends St. Joseph Catholic Church. 

Julie was proud to have been a member of the 50th anniversary Carnation Festival Royal Court and considers that experience the event which inspired her to continue working in public service.

Councilwoman Jakmides graduated cum laude from the University of Mount Union in December 2013 and was the recipient of the Outstanding Criminal Justice Award at commencement. 

She is the former chairperson of the Streets and Alleys committee, and a former member of the Community Development and Utilities committees as well as the Water-Sewer Advisory Board.

In her second term she was appointed the chair of the Planning, Zoning and Housing committee and a member of the Finance and Safety & Judiciary committees. 

Councilwoman Jakmides consistently strives to attend meetings of all the different council committees and city boards -whether a voting member or not. 

When not handling business as a member of City Council, Julie also sits on the Alliance Family YMCA Board of Directors and is a full-time law student at the University of Akron School of Law [scheduled to graduate in 2017].

From the get-go, the SCPR had the sense that Alliance Republican Julie Jakmides had a bright future in politics from the time she took out and filed petitions to run for Alliance City Council back in 2011.

The Stark County Political Report ranks Jakmides right up there with

  • Canton's Edmond Mack, Kevin Fisher, John Mariol, Frank Morris III, and
  • Massillon's Ed Lewis, IV
as Stark County's most promising politicians/councilpersons in terms of qualities that they possess to lift Stark County out of the morass that the county is stuck in.

While youth in and of itself is not necessarily the answer to invigorating government processes and substance, the six named above have qualities that set them apart from their peers (those sitting on Stark County's  four major city councils:  Alliance, Canton, Massillon and North Canton) and from the older set of councilpersons who hold councilmantic office.

And Councilwoman Jakmides shows promise as being among the elite of the elite.

Compared to troubles that have plagued Canton, Massillon and North Canton city councils, Alliance has been relatively free of controversy and consequently the SCPR has spent relative little time with Alliance politics.

However, Alliance has not been devoid of some controversy.

Most of it has been at the hand of former councilman and now council president Steve Okey.

And a lot of that had to do with what the SCPR thinks was Okey trying to make Alliance Council the battleground of a political fight between the Maier Massillon Political Machine (MMPM) and Alliance Republican councilman Larry Dordea in the 2014 face-off for Stark County sheriff.

Jakmides was one of if not THE leading figure in the Alliance Council slapping President Steve Okey down for trying to embarrass Dordea and the rest of council for the manner in which the conducted some "sensitive" votes.

While The Report agrees with Okey that the process was not consistent with democratic-republican principles of accountability, his action from the perspective of the SCPR was tainted with MMPM surrogate politics.

Council censored Okey for the manner in which he handled the matter.  

The SCPR's position is that politically-laced battles have no place in city councils and accordingly chastised both sides with the caveat that Okey deserves the major share of the blame since he initiated the confrontation.

The Report hears that Okey (a Democratic Party appointee as the replacement for John Benincasa who passed away about one year ago) has been much more civil as council president.

However, Alliance's Republicans (presumably including Jakmides) have not forgotten Okey's transgression and are out to defeat his bid for an elected term beginning in January, 2016.

Look for Councilwoman Jakmides to once again "lead the pack" in vote plurality for the "three-to-be-elected" 2015 Alliance at-large council race.

As pointed out above as a political newbie she outpaced all candidates including the popular and incumbent Democratic councilwoman Sue Ryan who is not seeking reelection this November.  She repeated her lead-vote getter role in 2013.

It should be inspiring to Alliance residents and Stark Countians that in her early 20s Jakmides has involved herself in working to improve the political and governmental health of her local governments.

On the gender side of things, she appears to be the only young female on a track to be a positive force in Stark County local government.

Christina Hagan (state representative, the 50th of Marlboro Township) could be another.  But the SCPR thinks her bubble will burst when if she ever runs countywide because of her extreme right wing religious connection.

Tough they appear to be close on a personal and political level, The Report trusts she will not make the error if adopting Hagan's rightest political point-of-view.

One area the SCPR want to see more of from Jakmides is more in terms of sponsoring substantive legislation.

She did a good thing in adopting the approach of Canton Councilman Kevin Fisher (and of a Youngstown area legislator, from whom Fisher got the idea) of requiring property owners to register with the city of Alliance and thereby be more accountable for the maintenance and upkeep of their properties.

A major, major problem with urban properties is deterioration, degradation and ultimately decay to the point of needing to be demolished.

The upside for Julie Jakmides is enormous.

The foremost Stark County female leader currently is Stark County commissioners Janet Creighton (also a Republican).  And Janet has been a credit to her gender and to her political party in being an effective public official as recorder, auditor, mayor of Canton and now a commissioner.

The SCPR sees Jakmides with much potential.

Of course, potential is just that.

The only question is will Councilwoman Julie Jakmides take up the challenge and "be all that she can be" in terms of providing sorely needed forward looking, progressive and highly constructive leadership as we head to the middle years of the 21st century.

The SCPR thinks she will and for that reason and on the basis of her achievements to date The Stark County Political Report names her as #7 on the Stark County "Top 10" leadership list.

Next up, one of Massillon foremost mainstay and stabilizing leaders.

Hint:   This leaders is not part of the Maier Massillon Political Machine.

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