CORRECTIONS PLANNING COMMISSION
JAIL BED USE
One of the themes of The Stark County Political Report since George T. Maier arrived on the Stark County scene in the newly elected Kathy Catazaro-Perry administration in January, 2012 is the man's innate arrogance.
George, a former State Highway Patrolman and Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, is the brother of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr who is Massillon's elected clerk of courts and a former Stark County Dems' chairman whom The Report believes from his perch in Massillon rules the Stark County Democratic Party.
George's arrogance was demonstrated in spades recently when he sent his recently hired chief deputy John Campbell (a pal from Maier's Ohio Department of Public Safety and State Patrol days) and long time and highly respected Stark County chief jail administrator Brian Arnold to a county commissioner meeting (June 17th, LINK) - though unprepared for commissioners' questions - expecting to gain commissioner approval of a Maier proposed agreement for Stark County to house SUMMIT COUNTY prisoners at $70 per day thus saving Summit County taxpayers $54 per day in the cost of housing prisoners.
It may be that Creighton's "putting on the brakes" to the Maier "get out of my way" effort will result in the idea being totally scrapped.
The SCPR's June 23rd blog on the June 17th presented to commissioners "out of nowhere" plan:
- meaning that Sheriff Maier apparently on his own without consulting with several strategically placed key players in Stark County's criminal justice system about his "rent-a-jail" scheme vis-a-vis Summit County,
- opened the eyes of some of those key players, and
- consequently, their concerns about Maier's move surfaced on the agenda of Stark County's Corrections Planning Commission meeting of June 25, 2015, to wit:
After the June 17th commissioners' presentation by Maier representatives Campbell and Arnold, the SCPR contacted Stark county judicial officials for a reaction.
In response, yours truly has been told in no uncertain words by a number of sources that Maier's "rent-a-jail" proposal was one gigantic surprise in that Stark County back in 1995 and lingering since then has been a huge issue with regard of having adequate space (and/or staffing) at the county jail to get criminals off Stark County streets and into confinement.
One judge told The Report that the news of a potential of 80 unused beds at the county jail might prompt him to start sending more "should be in jail" defendants to 4500 Atlantic Boulevard notwithstanding that doing so would put the court over its assigned allocation of available beds.
The Report hears that Judge Andrew Zumbar of the Alliance Municipal Court was mighty displeased to hear of Maier's "rent-a-jail" plan.
As the following video shows:
- There was some consternation expressed about the sudden unveiling of the plan on the part of some of the participants in the June 25th Corrections Planning Commission meeting, resulting in:
- (for example) Commission chairman Judge Frank Forchione saying (see video below) he was under the impression that the jail was full and he had to be releasing people,
- the activation of the CJIS (Criminal Justice Information System) Committee subcommittee to specifically consider the matter of jail bed use (this, of course, coming after Sheriff Maier submitted the proposed Stark/Summit County agreement) which consists of:
- Sheriff Maier
- Corrections Planning Commission chair Judge Frank Forchione (Stark County Common Pleas),
- Kody Gonzalez, director of CJIS,
- Phil Giavasis, Clerk of Canton Municipal Court and Stark County Dems chairman,
- John Campbell (recently hired retiree from Ohio State Highway Patrol) in his capacity of chief deputy of the Stark County sheriff's office,
- pre-trial release director,
- Stark County Commissioner Thomas Bernabei,
- Stark County Jail Administrator Brian Arnold,
- Judge John Poulos of the Canton Municipal Court
Pay close attention to how Giavasis handles Judge Forchione's questions.
Isn't it obvious that he and Sheriff Maier or Campbell or Arnold have had prior to the Corrections Planning Commission June 25th meeting contact on the unused bed jail rental feasibility factor with Giavasis and that Giavasis is being protective of sheriff's office personnel.
Note the Giavasis' "we [the subcommittee] have had no need to meet" comment he uttered at least twice during last Thursday morning's meeting.
The sheriff's office had a contract prepared for commissioner approval on June 17th and there was no need to meet in advance of the 17th with a subcommittee that includes a Common Pleas Court judge and out court connected officials?
To be kind to Maier and not describe him as being arrogant once again in this blog, how about billing him as being presumptuous?
The SCPR would not be surprised to - on follow up, which readers can be sure yours truly will do - learn that the Summit County "rent-a-jail" Sheriff Maier initiative gets "the deep six" and never to be heard about again because Maier will be told in very blunt terms that the safety of Stark Countians is the county's top priority and our judges need to have access to ALL 501 beds!Judge Taryn Heath of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas at the conclusion of the June 25th meeting would not comment to The Report on Maier's Summit County prisoner housing proposal.
However, she did say that the Common Pleas judges meet monthly and that it is likely the July meeting (scheduled for the 14th) would produce a response on the use of jail beds issue.
That Maier would attempt to ram the proposal through without a thoroughgoing vetting is no surprise to the SCPR.
In The Report's opinion, Maier, Jr. and brother George are political bullies who endeavor to intimidate a number of Stark's elected Democratic officials and a few Republicans into doing their political will.
Former Democratic sheriff Tim Swanson recently related to yours truly the case of Maier, Jr. and then Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern getting all over him about his endorsing in the 2006 statewide elections Republican attorney general candidate Betty Montgomery over Youngstown area Democrat Marc Dann.
Dann defeated Montgomery but was forced to resign from office in 2008 over various issues that surfaced during his brief tenure as attorney general.
Swanson was right to place his political party identity to second place or lower on his priority list in endorsing Montgomery. He showed he cared more about the best interests of Ohioans over partisan political interest as he did in bring his successful Quo Warranto in getting George T. Maier removed as sheriff.
Only the likes of Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero, himself a Massillon native and Swanson, have shown the political will and strength to stand in the way of the ambitious Maier brothers in their more or less successful quest - through power politics - to dominate Stark County government and politics.
One of The Report's favorite graphics created by yours truly is one in which Maier, Jr. is surrounded by many Stark County officials who yours truly thinks are beholden to Maier, Jr.
The Report believes that Maier, Jr., in insinuating himself into the political circle of former Democratic governor Ted Strickland, prevailed upon the governor to make brother George a political appointee to the second most powerful spot in the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
And, of course, as Mayor Catazaro-Perry's political sponsor and mentor most certainly had to figure into having brother George appointed Massillon safety director.
Beyond that, Junior had to be telling George that "I have the political clout to make you Stark County sheriff" when November, 2012 sheriff-elect Mike McDonald was not able to take office on January 7, 2013 due to an illness which claimed his life in February.
Consequently, the county became embroiled in "a knock down, drag out" political fight between the Ferrero/Swanson forces and the Maiers over whether or not George was qualified to be sheriff.
Swanson convinced the Ohio Supreme Court that George was unqualified for the period February 5, 2013 through November 6, 2013 notwithstanding Maier's guarantee that if he applied he would be qualified.
Eventually, the Maiers prevailed but the Ohio secretary of state and the Ohio Supreme Court never definitively determined Maier to be qualified under the-then existing Ohio law.
The Report's take is that the Maiers' successfully bulldozed George Maier into being Stark County sheriff.
Moreover, the SCPR is of the opinion that he has demonstrated character defects - as articulated in a number of prior published blogs - that The Report thinks makes him a risk of being a potential disaster in the making as a public official.
The Report is gathering material for another blog which seems to show that Sheriff George T. Maier is staffing non-union positions and doing other official acts which reward those who are his political loyalists at the expense, of course, of Stark County taxpayers but without (in the case of the positions) having an opportunity to apply for the jobs.
Hopefully, The Report is wrong about him.
For Stark County can ill-afford another countywide official fiasco!!!