Thursday, September 29, 2016


                                                                                FAMILY COURT

UPDATE:  12:05 PM - All Videos Posted

Yesterday, The Stark County Political Report an entire blog (LINK) to the Stark County clerk of courts race between Stark Dems' political appointee Louis Giavasis and Republican opponent and challenger Claude "Skip" Shriver.

Tomorrow, the SCPR will be covering the Stark County commissioner face off between Democrat Canton councilman John Mariol and incumbent Republican commissioner Richard Regula.

On Saturday, The Report's attention will be focused on the Stark County prosecutor's race pitting well known Republican criminal defense attorney Jeff Jakmides against incumbent Democratic prosecutor John Ferrero.

The Giavasis/Shriver matchup proved to the most interesting of night when Shriver went ballistic on Giavasis on the issue of Giavasis fostering and participating in political cronyism during his days as Plain Township trustee and beyond that into his employment connection in the Stark County clerk of courts office which eventually led to his appointment as the county clerk of courts in the summer of 2015 when Nancy Reinbold resigned mid-term.

Such is a favorite tactic used by both political parties in order to give an appointed candidate "a leg up" in retaining the office when the appointed candidate must stand for election.

The tactic does not always work as exemplified by the Republicans (Governor John Kasich at the behest of the Stark County Republican Party) having appointed Curt Werren Stark County Common Pleas Court to the bench back in June, 2013.

Within politico world, the word is that the best opportunity to defeat a political appointee is the appointee's first time up before the electorate.

Then-Stark County prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett (a Democrat) courageously tried to get the Kasich appointment.  In the view of the SCPR she was way more qualified than Werren who had not been practicing law for several years before his appointment (he was president of the Stark County chapter of the American Red Cross).

But politics is politics in that political parties take care of themselves and their loyalists at the expense of the public interest of having the best qualified be appointed to public office.

The SCPR cannot say enough to extol Hartnett for taking on Werren in November, 2014 and defeating him by a very, very, very narrow margin (31 votes).

Notwithstanding The Report's high regard for Hartnett, now that the Republicans could not sustain their advantage all of sudden the Stark GOP could not find anyone to oppose her which is not okay with the SCPR.

Oh! there is one more countywide office that should have a challenger.

And a very important one at that.

Stark County sheriff's office, no less!

Can you believe that Stark County GOP chairman Jeff Matthews (also director of the Stark County Board of Elections) could not find somebody to run against George T. Maier (the candidate of the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Massillon Political Machine, "JAM-MPM") for sheriff?

Had Stark's gotten full bore behind 2014 Republican candidate Larry Dordea (former Alliance police chief, and now Hartville police chief) Maier would have lost in 2014.

If Shriver thinks Louis Giavasis is a political animal, what does that make Sheriff George?

Politically connected appointees galore dot the administrative landscape of the Stark County's sheriff's office at the hand of and since Maier (interrupted for a time by the Ohio Supreme Court) became sheriff as a political appointee of Stark's organized Democrats in January, 2013.

Politics as a minimal "necessary evil" should be the "rule of thumb" in the discharge of county government officialdom.

It should be particularly disturbing to the general Stark County public that politics seems to have such a large role in the George T. Maier run sheriff's office.  For the Stark County Republican Party to give Maier a pass this election, is to embolden Maier in what the SCPR thinks has been a wholesale politicization of Stark County primary policing agency.

Leaving that discussion for another blog or to be looked up in prior blogs, let's move on to the coroner, recorder, treasury and family court races.


Over the years of the existence of the SCPR (nearly nine now), it is interesting how often Democrat P.S. Murthy has been challenged for this dead-end job.

Murthy has been with the coroner's office since 1988 (LINK to background).  In 2004, on his predecessor having decided to run for re-election he ran and won as he did in 2008 and 2012.

Republican Brian Briggs is Murthy's opponent (LINK to his Facebook campaign page).

An interesting wrinkle in this race is that Briggs promises to donate back $70,000 (the coroner's salary) back to Stark County government.

But, on the downside, he says he plans to maintain his present medical profession practice.

The Candidates Night Video of Murthy & Briggs:


In the assessment of the SCPR, Rick Campbell (LINK to his background information) has been an effective recorder.  He has streamlined the recorder's office operations to the point that recording mostly real estate connected documents has been reduced from six weeks to a matter of minutes if not seconds.

The Report's main problem with Campbell is that he is way too political.  He is a card carrying member of the JAM-MPM.

The Report has written extensively about Campbell's political connections how it appears to impact on who gets jobs in his office and beyond in Stark County political subdivision government.

His saving grace in this election might be the SCPR's perception that his opponent John Arnold (a Lake Township trustee, LINK to his Facebook campaign page) is a highly political Republican who likely would allow politics to play into who gets jobs in the recorder's office were he to defeat Campbell.

Political connections inspired employment shenanigans are a breach of the public trust that elected officeholders will make public employment decisions on the basis of merit and available to the taxpaying public.

The Candidates Night Video of the Campbell/Arnold:


Republican Alex Zumbar (LINK to background information) came to the forefront on the unfolding of events in 2009 that revealed then-Chief Deputy Treasurer Vince Frustaci had stolen upwards of $3 million from the Stark County treasury.

The State of Ohio Auditor's Office cited then-treasurer Gary D. Zeigler for failing to have in place policies, practices and facility security measures to have prevented the Frustaci theft.

Like in the George T. Maier appointment process, Zumbar had a similar route to actually getting elected in his own right as treasurer in 2012.  Originally elected in 2010, he, too, was booted from office by the Ohio Supreme Court because the court found that the Stark County commissioners (Bosley, Meeks and Ferguson; all Democrats) had not constitutionally removed Zeigler from office.

Eventually Zeigler on being restored to office resigned/retired (October 19, 2011).

Zumbar has the distinction of having been appointed treasurer by the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (October 31, 2011) in the wake of Zeigler vacating office.

The SCPR deems Zumbar to be one of Stark County's top performing elected public officials.

However, The Report has written blogs criticizing Zumbar for various actions as treasurer and head of the Stark County Land Bank.

One of the criticisms was Zumbar's hiring of Republican Stark County Probate Court judge Dixie Park's daughter.  It appeared in a quid-pro-quo fashion that seems to infect all too many elected officials that Park appointed the daughter of Zumbar's chief deputy to a job in the Stark County Probate Court.

The other had to do with Zumbar's attempt to convince Stark County Land Bank members to hire his chief deputy on a independent contract basis to do certain work for that entity.

Democrat Debbie Cain (LINK to Facebook campaign page) is a last minute throw-in as Zumbar's opponent.

The original candidate is reported to have quit the race because he felt he was getting insufficient support from the Stark County Democratic Party organization.

If such is actually the case (i.e. the Dems have "thrown in the towel" on the treasurer's race), then Cain has no chance whatsoever to defeat Zumbar.

Cain forte is education; not finance.

She is a former member of the Lake Board of Education and the Ohio State Board of Education serving as its president beginning during the time that Democrat Ted Strickland was governor of Ohio.

The Candidates Night Video of Zumbar/Cain:


This race is interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, the Stark County Family Court is totally controlled by the Stark County Republican Party and the Democrats see this vacancy created as a consequence of Republican judge Mike Howard as a grand opportunity to get a foothold in the court.

Reese as a long time attorney in the Canton Law Department under the leadership of highly popular Democratic law director Joseph Martuccio.

Stark organized Dems have to be hungering and thirsting to gain a foothold in the Family Court which the party has not had since John Hoffman retired as judge which led to the appointment of Republican Rose Marie Hall to the Family Court bench by John Kasich in August, 2011.

You can bet on it that Reese's colleagues from Martuccio's office will be all-out for him as they were for Kristen Guardado in her unsuccessful bid to defeat political appointed Republican Canton Municipal Court judge Curtis Werren in the general election of 2015.

Another interesting factor brought up by Reese on Tuesday night is that Nist has never actually practiced family law as a "private practice" attorney.

In a sense, Nist has always been an "insider" who probably lacks litigant perspective.

It is difficult for candidates for judgeships to distinguish themselves from one another as deserving election.

In raising the matter, has Jason Reese generated a factor that might be compelling to voters?

The Candidates Nights Video Nist/Reese:

No comments: