SCPR READER IN PUT (POSTED 9:06 AM)
I think Bill Smuckler would make a great County Commissioner, he long has proposed mergers between Canton Departments with County Departments. With his business back round it would be a plus for the County.
After the toes he stepped on with the Democrats in endorsing Tom Bernabei there is no way the Dems would appoint Bill, even though he is the most qualified.
I understand Bill Smith is the choice of Janet & Regula. ... .
The Stark County Political Report thinks that Commissioner Janet Creighton had the right take on the significance on her colleague commissioner Thomas M. Bernabei being elected mayor on Tuesday night.
Indeed, the dawning of a new era in Stark County in which Stark County's principal city (in fact, Stark's county seat) can find common ground with Stark County government and its political subdivisions (villages, cities and townships) to make for a more efficient, citizen friendly and economic growth enabled collaboration.
Efforts were made during the eight years William J. Healy, II has been mayor to usher in a era of greater coordination and collaboration between the county government and Canton government but in one way or another if it came down to a question of who was going to be in control and the answer was not "the mayor of Canton," then slowly but surely a given effort would die away.
A major change that Stark Countians know of already and Cantonians will discover is that Bernabei has not been as county commissioner been nor will he be as mayor of Canton, a control freak.
Moreover, there is an additional piece to Bernabei having been elected mayor of Canton that needs careful attention in order for conditions to be ideal for Creighton's optimism of a new era of intergovernmental cooperation and collaboration to flower. And that piece is who is selected to replace Tom Bernabei as Stark County commissioner.
There may be a legal fight ensue between the remaining commissioners and Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero (Commissioners plus) and the Stark County "organized" Democratic Party as to whether the former or the later assumes/exercises the legal authority to replace Commissioner Bernabei.
And the fight may once again find Stark Countians in the Ohio Supreme Court fighting among themselves.
It is widely believed that the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Massillon-based Political Machine (MMPM) is gearing up to push Dems' chair Phil Giavasis in coordination with the party's executive committee to make the fight for authority to appoint in order to once again make former Stark County commissioner Gayle Jackson a Stark County commissioner.
Through 2013 and 2014, Stark Countians saw unfold a battle royale between the MMPM and former sheriff Tim Swanson, Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero and others over who was going to replace Sheriff-elect Mike McDonald (November, 2012) who was unable to take office on January 7, 2013 due to an illness that ultimately led to his death in February, 2013.
The SCPR does not see the Commissioners plus abiding a Gayle Jackson appointment and therefore the fight.
And if there is a fight and the Commissioners plus win the argument in the Ohio Supreme Court (either direct or by virtue of binding legal authority on Ohio's lower courts), then the SCPR advocates that they appoint Stark County auditor Alan Harold (a Republican) as Bernabei's replacement.
Thomas Bernabei currently holds the #1 position on the SCPR Top 10 List of Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Office in terms of the quality of leadership they bring to Stark's various units of government.
Alan Harold is currently #2.
There is one hitch.
Harold is believed not to be all that interested in making the switch that the SCPR in this blog is promoting and would have to be prodded into agreeing to take such an appointment if offered.
Harold during his four or so years in office has transformed the Stark County auditor's office into one of the most forward looking agencies of Stark County government and stands from the perspective of the SCPR as a model of excellence in government for all other Stark County political subdivisions to follow.
At age 64 or so at the time, it has been a sight to behold to see Bernabei as the first among equals (again from the perspective of the SCPR) of county commissioners [Creighton and Pete Ferguson being his fellows]) and provide zealous leadership to the board of commissioners to take a county:
- in the depths of financial crisis and suffering a huge amount of public confidence in the integrity of several agencies of county government (namely; the county treasurer and the county auditor's office [then headed by current Canton treasurer Kim Perez])
and restore the level of confidence that enabled the commissioners in conjunction with other county officials to pass two years later (November, 2011) a 1/2 cent Justice System Sales Tax (JSST) increase.
Now at age 69, Cantonians will be amazed at how vigorous Mayor Thomas Bernabei will prove to be.
But Bernabei is the exception and not the rule for a man of his age.
Harold at somewhere around 40 years of age is full of vim, vigor and vitality with the same intelligence level of Bernabei to be the ideal person to replace the mayor-elect as commissioner.
While known to be a passionate Republican, he has the regard of nearly all who work for and with him to put politics aside when it comes to the well being of Stark Countians.
Of course he is not Tom Bernabei, but he is driven as Bernabei is to excellence in government and as commissioner continue the dynamism that was the imprimatur of the soon to be mayor of Canton.
To say it again, getting Harold to accept an appointment as commissioner would take some doing as he has many projects (including implementation of Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel's Open Checkbook in Stark County beginning next week) in the hopper that will when completed result not only still further improvement in the auditor's office but also throughout nearly all of Stark County political subdivision government and understandably is reluctant to take his considerable talents elsewhere.
But if the Commissioners plus get the legal right to appoint Bernabei's successor, the group needs to go all out to convince Harold to come onto the Board of Stark County Commissioners.
It could be that the Commissioners plus will not get the right to appoint.
And in such a scenario, the appointment would fall to the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee.
Here's where Chairman Phil Giavasis could be if he will be a guiding force to not allow political connections with the MMPM to result in the appointment of former commissioner of Gayle Jackson (left office in 2007 to take a Democratic governor Ted Strickland appointment to the Ohio Lottery Commission) to replace Bernabei.
Giavasis if he will be could be a powerful voice to convince the MMPM and more generally the central committee members that the best the Dems' have to present as an commissioner appointee in Canton City Council Councilman Bill Smuckler.
Readers of this blog should now pause a moment a go to this LINK which is the situs of an article on Smuckler written by Anthony McCune (Stark County, Ohio News and Views ...) which is an excellent summary of Bill Smuckler's time in government up to the time he challenged William J. Healy, II in the May, 2011 Democratic primary election.
Smuckler did run for Stark County commissioner against Richard Regula (LINK) in 2012.
This video of Smuckler and eventual winner Richard Regula does provide insight into what qualities Smuckler would bring to county government as a commissioner
In 2013, he returned to Canton City Council as a councilman-at-large and he was re-elected to that position this past Tuesday.
If Commissioner Janet Creighton's expectation that fellow commissioner Tom Bernabei being elected mayor of Canton is a key to getting a thoroughgoing city/county/county political subdivision partnership up and run is to be realized, the SCPR thinks that a vitally important adjunct to Bernabei becoming mayor of Canton is the quality of the person who replaces him.
There is a pathway to appointment excellence no matter who is legally deemed to have the right of appointment.
In the case of the Stark Dems, the best they have to offer is Bill Smuckler.
In the case of the Commissoners plus, the best they can come up with is Alan Harold.