Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. is NOT Stark County's most skilled politician.
That quality belongs to Canton mayor William J. Healy, II. Healy as yours truly has written many times in surviving one crisis after another crisis after another crisis is the envy of the proverbial cat with 9 lives.
But in terms of pushing people around, the SCPR thinks that Maier, Jr. is unparalleled in Stark County.
That dubious quality it seems is still being plied by Maier, Jr. (from his perch as Massillon's elected clerk of courts position) and its negative effect on the overall quality of Stark County government has earned him a place in the top tier of the SCPR Bottom 10 List (at #3 [with #1 being the absolutely worst]) of Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials.
Maier, Jr. is among one of the last of a vanishing breed of backroom politicos who The Report thinks is a veritable master of political thugism.
If one looks at the Maier, Jr. Loyalty Club, it is not exactly staffed by the best and brightest that Stark County has to offer.
But with political boss types, leadership quality is way, way, way down the list of qualities that arm twisters can abide.
The political power phenomenon is in the state of change. A must-read-book for those readers who are fascinated with the acquisition of and exercise of political power is entitled The End of Power by Moisés Naim (Link).
Maier, Jr learned his "tough-man-politics" at the feet of one of Ohio's foremost political strongmen: Vern Riffe, Jr.
Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. - Vern Riffe, Jr?
Must be the Jr. thing, no?
In honoring Maier, Jr. with the annual 2012 SCPR Christmastime "Lump of Coal" award, The Report wrote thusly on his history with Riffe:
America no longer has political bosses a la Boss Tweed of New York's Tammany Hall political machine circa 1858. However, his appeal lingers on among some who want to make the body politic over in their own image. As the SCPR sees it, Maier has aspired over the years that yours truly has known him, to collect unquestioning adherents to whatever his political whim of the day might be.
Tweed (of the 1800s) undoubtedly has not been Maier's direct example as The Report does not see Maier has having enough of a grasp of American political history to even know who Tweed was.
Maier served a rather undistinguished career (in terms of substantive legislative achievements) in the 56th (now the 50th) Ohio House District from January 3, 1991 through December 31, 1999.
The five year overlap between Riffe and Maier left its direct political mark on Maier. Johnnie went onto to become chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party in the 2000s and used his position (the first county party chairman to endorse) to ingratiate himself to the Democratic governor Ted Strickland adminstration (2007 - 2010). Additionally, as chairman, he had a playground within which to workout the political chess match lessons learned at the feet of Riffe.
And of course today's blog would not be complete without including the material published in May, 2015 in placing in at #3 in the initial SCPR "Bottom 10 List, to wit:
Today's selection is "bigger than life itself" (at least in his own mind) Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.
His day job is as the elected clerk of courts for the Massillon Municipal Courts, having been first elected in November as sort of a refugee camp since he was term-limited out of the Ohio House of Representatives (a limit of 10 consecutive years) first in the 49th, then the 56th and lastly in the 50th Ohio House District (all of which were in his terms pretty much the same geographic area except in the beginning he has Democratic candidate friendly city of Massillon in his district.
Had it not been for Ash running into legal troubles, there is a decent chance that Maier, Jr. would have been lost in "the sea of political oblivion."
And as a consequence of his being a political non-entity, the SCPR thinks, Stark County's political and governance structure historically and currently would have been/be of a much higher quality
From a November 5, 2008, SCPR blog:
Among his most significant early supporters was the-then Democratic Perry Township trustee Gayle Jackson who became a Stark County commissioner in the election of November, 1992.
That is the timeframe that he would have picked up with his current chief deputy R. Shane Jackson and together they have sought to create a Massillon political juggernaut which now has tenacles spreading throughout Stark County.
Shane Jackson is and has been for quite a few years political director of the Stark County Democratic Party.
Maier, Jr. is a former Stark Dems chairman (2004 through 2009) who currently serves as a executive vice president.
It appears that these two specialize in being cowardly "behind the scenes" political operators.
A number of years ago a blog entitled The Massillon Review (begun in March, 2010) appeared on the Stark County political horizon.
- it has been off,
- then on again,
- then off again, and
- now, since right before the May, 2015 primary election, on again
The SCPR believes that this "anonymously published blog" is the work of principal Shane Jackson with support and encouragement of Maier, Jr.
If The Report's take on authorship is correct, one has to wonder what the time of day and what the locale is when the blogs are put together?
Maybe The Massillon Review will address those questions in forthcoming blogs?
The most distressing thing about the Maier/Jackson political operations to Stark Countians is the tenacles thing.
Johnnie himself will tell you what a great clerk of courts he has been. On the court's website, he calls himself the Honorable Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.
In a technical/mechanical sense, there may be some credence to his claim.
But The Report has had reports that quite of number of employees feel quite intimidated by him and that he has groused a number of them.
Moreover, The Report thinks that being clerk is more like being a sidelight for him and that his primary interest and function is creating a political empire across the county witness his all-out, consummate effort to get his brother George T. Maier elected sheriff.
Accordingly, it is Maier's political effect, if any, from his elected-official- base that catches the SCPR's attention.
The Report is highly skeptical that Maier, Jr. can do all that he is doing in Massillon and Stark County, Stark County political subdivsion circles without same somehow overlapping with the timeframe one within which he performs in adminstrative duties as the Massillon clerk of courts.
As stated in yesterday's blog on Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry, it is common knowledge among Massillon's officialdom that there appears to be a well worn pathway between the mayor's office and the clerk of courts.
Now does Maier, Jr. mean to tell us that those back-and-forth trips are exclusively about court business with the mayor's office (Judge Eddie Elum's wife Margaret is Catazaro-Perry's top administrative official) and there is nary a word or consideration of the political aspects of being mayor of Massillon?
Clearly, that is the implication.
And it may be true.
But who is going to believe it?
Maier, Jr. remains highly involved in Stark Countywide political operations and in the opinion of The Stark County Political Report has had a significant hand in those elected officials who are included in the following graphic attaining office.
Many of the pictured elected officials could easily make future SCPR quarterly updates as being among Stark County's top 10 worst elected officials.
What a legacy, no?
So for what appears to be (i.e. the perception of) to a number of Massillonian and Stark County political observers his blurring of the lines between his being clerk of courts and his countywide political activity, The Report thinks he is deserving of being #3 on the SCPR 10 Worst Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Official list.