Jackson Township trustee James N. Walters moves up from #9 in the first ever List.
Not that he has done anything thing on his own to deserve the "improvement." Nor has he done anything to worsen his SCPR ranking.
However, the prospect that general election day in November might end with him sitting on the sidelines looking in is enough of an anticipation to justify his movement to the cusp of being off the list entirely.
In 2011, he was re-elected by a huge margin (about 70% to 30%) over a lackluster candidate.
But this election promises to be different in terms of its competitiveness and that is good news for Jacksonians.
One of the factors in placing Walters on the SCPR Bottom 10 List is Walters' fiscal hypocrisy.
When he ran for Stark County commissioners in 2010 (a race, by the way, he should have won), his main thing was fiscal integrity of county finances.
By his track record as a Jackson trustee and the high cost Jacksonians pay for services (e.g. police services), it appears that it was a good thing that there was a third candidate in the 2010 commissioners race which enabled then-Democrat (now "independent") Tom Bernabei defeated Walters.
Walters' opponent in November has picked up on Walters (and his fellow trustees) failure to deliver fiscal responsibility to Jackson residents.
Candidate Troy Gardner pledges to work towards correcting Jackson paying a premium for local government services.
In sum, the prospect that Jacksonians might well move Walters onto "the political pastures" is enough in a paradoxical way to edge Trustee Walters to his way off the SCPR Bottom 10 List.
Here is what the SCPR had to write about Walters when he was #9 on the List on May 16, 2015:
This blog is the second in a series of 10 blogs until the tenth one in which The Stark County Political Report will name the absolutely worst Stark County political subdivision "elected" officials.
To be sure, there are some pretty bad "un-elected" ones, but the SCPR's focus in this series is of the "elected variety."
The Report has asked readers to weigh-in as to whom will achieve the dubious distinction of being Stark County's worst from among the list of county, village, city and board of education officials who have convinced their respective constituents to vote for them.
So far nobody has guessed who #1 is going to be.
Contact the SCPR at email@example.com with your guess at who that blessed official might be.
As Stark County Auditor Alan Harold has told yours truly, he knows that he is not going to be that person for he has achieved the distinction as being among Stark County very best elected officials, to wit:
It could be that today's choice as the #9 worst Stark County political subdivision elected official - Jackson Township trustee James N. Walters (a Republican) - is saddened that with his selection today he is out of the running for the top spot.
Walters is the current president of the Board of Jackson Township Trustees and therefore is the appropriate focus on all the things that are wrong with Jackson Township government.
The main thing that Stark Countians as a whole can be thankful for is that Trustee Walters is not a Stark County commissioner.
By the SCPR's political analysis, Republican Walters should have been elected Stark County commissioner over Tom Bernabei if he had a clue about how to properly run a countywide political campaign.
But he didn't which he proved a second time as the prime manager of Republican Larry Dordea's "for Stark County sheriff campaign" in 2012.
The Report focuses in on the township's We Make Things Happen! slogan.
And do they!
Being the ambiguous slogan it is, it can be implemented and SCPR thinks it has been in Jackson to mean in a practical matter "in a damaging way" to the well being of Jacksonians.
The township's police department appears to The Report to bmess to this very day and Jackson Township residents pay a premium price for what the SCPR thinks is a broken structure both in terms of organization and leadership from the trustees (of whom Walters has been a principal spokesperson) through its chiefs and perhaps even deeper into departmental rungs of leadership.
It is beyond the SCPR how Jackson Township residents can be getting so much trouble out of its police department while paying so much money ($12.3 million) if the Jackson trustees and main man Walters were properly managing operations?
The SCPR has written a number of blogs on the trials and tribulations of the Jackson Police Department (JPD), among them to wit:
- September 5, 2014, "Is Jackson Township about to be slammed with a federal lawsuit?"
- January 13, 2013, "Have Jackson Trustees gotten themselves 'in a pickle' in Zink situation," ... .
Yours truly is working on "new" story that is unfolding with regard to the management of the JPD.
Suffice it to say for now that it may be that all the accolades that Walters and his fellow trustees were making in 2014 (see below) with regard to then-being-appointed police chief Mark Brink may be in for some revision.
Moreover, here is an excerpt from an e-mail recently received by the SCPR from someone obviously close in on the current state of affairs within the Jackson Township Police Department, to wit:
May 11, 2015
It's public record ... Jackson township police department has suspended 6 officers so far this year [none currently]. All of which have been placed on paid administrative leave during the pending of the departments internal investigations.
Most of the suspensions are beyond extreme and unjust and not to mention 4 of the 6 people suspended are officers or secretaries that came forward in regards to our ex-chief Zink, and did interviews with BCI when they performed their investigation.
And another female secretary that also spoke up about his abuse just recently received punishment as well but not a suspension.
And not to mention that another male officer made a wrongful arrest with the Devon Smith [LINK Carl Monday report, Action19News] situation last year that hit the media.
All he received was a letter of training [LINK] which states that he made "several" errors in judgement. He did not receive any suspension of any kind.. I feel that the community really needs to understand what is going on behind the walls of the Jackson township police department and what the administration is really doing with the tax payers dollars.
They are bullying and tormenting employees that spoke up about the behavior of our prior chief and they waited to do so after they passed the most current levy so they wouldn't look bad in the public eye..
It's a disgrace, beyond unjust ... I feel that these issues need to be publisized (sic) as I'm sure the taxpayers of this township would be irate to the fact that their tax dollars are spent on paying for officers to not work while being internally investigated for issues that hold absolutely no grounds for such extreme punishments. Not to mention taking officers off the street to do so.Here is an article published in the Jackson Township quarterly newsletter from the Spring, 2014 with trustees lauding the direct leadership of the Jackson PD.
First elected trustee in 2007 and re-elected in 2011, here is what Walters said in response to a Repository inquiry on its 2011 candidate questionnaire:
1. What do you believe will be the biggest issue facing your community over the next few years?
Re-allocating funds due to reduced funds received from the state as they balance their budgets. Accomplishing that without affecting the basic services the residents have voted to be taxed on is a priority.
2. If elected, how will you address this issue?
The reduced funds can be recouped by bringing more industry, jobs, and residents into the township. We have a great township with no income tax, low water and sewer rates, major highways, rail service and a highly rated school system. Compared to other areas, we can offer basic services at a substantially lower cost without the burden of over taxation. [color change emphasis added]"[Without] the burden of over taxation?"
Jacksonians were asked in recent years by Walters et al to pass a parks levy (which they did) and last year to pass an additional police levy (which they did).
"Offer services at a substantially lower cost?"
Ineffective if not substandard police services at an annual set aside of $12.3 million.
How does that compare to Plain Township?
First, comparing the land area and population:
According to the township website, Plain spends $1.1 million on police services!
And, no troubles, to boot!!
The SCPR is not a big fan of Sheriff George T. Maier but he spares Plain Township the "soap opera" police department existence that Jackson has been in the midst of for quite a few years now including the 7-1/2 years that Mr. Walters has been a Jackson trustee.
For a person who in 2010 appeared at a Tea Party rally in campaign for county commissioner and the implication that in so doing he is a hawkish fiscal conservative, the numbers - at least in terms of policing efficiencies and effectiveness, seem to tell a different tale, no?
Such is an huge example of why Walters and his largely ineffective leadership in Jackson places him one step closer at #9 among the bottom 10 to being the absolute worst elected official (#1) in all of Stark County.