On March 2, 2016, the Stark County Commissioners passed the 2016 Fiscal Year county budget.
While the commissioners themselves were key in exercising "due diligence" in the putting of the county budget "sausage" together, undoubtedly, each one of them would acknowledge that the June 26, 2013 hire Chris Nichols is "really" the key to making it all come together into something everybody in the county—including the tax paying Stark County public—can live with, if not enjoy.
Nichols coming out of as "a Jack in the Box?"
Yes. A case of the SCPR being funny!
When Nichols was hired back in June, 2013 The Report wrote a blog (LINK) in which Nichols "pops out" of as the "Jack" as in 'Jack in the Box' as having been chosen as Stark County budget director from among a pool of candidates for Stark County chief administrator which of course produce Brant Luther.
The SCPR has maintained all along that it was a huge advantage for Luther and Nichols in getting hired by the county that they both are prominent Stark County Republicans.
The Report thinks that the driving force behind—especially the Luther hiring (LINK)—was Commissioner Janet Creighton.
Luther had been her chief administrator when she was Stark County auditor.
It could be that had Luther not had that kind of connection to Creighton, the chief administrator today would be Chris Nichols.
While The Report thinks Luther is up to the job and has done an effective job as chief administrator, Nichols has be superlative as the county's budget director.
Accordingly, in this blog Nichols gets re-billed from being a "Jack-in-the-Box" to a "Jack of All Trades 'Financial'" as far as his performance as county budget director is concerned.
And, by the way, Chris a a long standing Canton Township trustee (LINK).
Going over budget numbers is not exactly "prime-time" material for a blogger.
However, unless a citizen can get to commissioners' meetings, the only way for the taxpaying public to know how their money is being spent is for the likes of The Stark County Political Report to step back and do a non-salacious blog.
The Report does plenty of expose type of blogs. However, this blog also does some of the most in depth analysis of the unsexy, unglitzy "in the bowels of Stark County political subdivision government" as is published by all the media that covers Stark County government and politics.
Hence today, the SCPR presents Chris Nichols 60 slide (presented to county workers on March 1, 2016) on the Stark County budget.
The presentation last seven minutes if not paused.
Yours truly encourages to hit the pause button for those slides that catch a viewer's eye.
Here is the slide presentation.
As important as the budget itself is, the vastly more important factor for Stark County taxpayers (who approved a Justice System Sales Tax of 1/2 cent in November, 2011 which is to run through 2019), is the accounting for "actual" receipts/expenditures made from taxpayer provided funding.
There is always some sort of internal monitoring (auditing) for and department of government, but the commissioners are not content to know within the inner sanctum of the their county office abode on the second floor of the Stark County office building that "all is well" in the fiscal world of county finances.
They, working with Nichols, who the SCPR thinks came up with the idea have published this first quarterly accounting.
Every quarter hereafter, The Report will be publishing a blog on the Nichols produced quarterly accounting.
A SCPR "Hats Off!" to the commissioners and Nichols for keeping the Stark County public informed.
With the advent of Thomas M. Bernabei (now mayor of Canton) and Janet Creighton as commissioners in the election of November, 2010; Stark County government has become much more accessible, accountable, open, transparent and communicative—all prime democratic-republican values—than any other Stark County political subdivision government.
North Canton government officials ought to use the commissioners' office as a model of how political subdivision government should be.
What would really be impressive as a product of the commissioners' budget work would be for yours truly to learn from the commissioners and/or Nichols that some "committed to the public good citizen" have:
- actually examined the appropriations budget in detail,
- compared those numbers with the quarterly reports, and
- questioned the commissioners and Nichols on the numbers in an analytic vein
Such an exchange would be an expression of our democratic-republican form of government "at its finest!!!"