Tuesday, May 30, 2017


UPDATE:  Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Prior to Democrat Rick Campbell being elected Stark County recorder in November, 2000, the recorder's office had been held by Republicans seemingly forever.

Thomas, Vignos, Creighton and Motts and who knows how long before Motts, Republicans had—before Campbell—long held the Stark recorder's office with which to reward political loyalists.

By a mere 649 votes out of 147,801 cast in the November 7, 2000 election, Campbell merged victorious.

Before his election as recorder, Campbell was a Jackson Township trustee.

The Trump phenomenon almost spelled a political end to Campbell in the November, 2016 election.

He won by 1,855 in over 162,000 votes cast.

In my view, Rick Campbell is a:
  • Jekyll (the efficient and effective manager), and 
  • Hyde (a highly partisan Democrat who is prone to dispense public jobs to his and Democratic loyalists to the exclusion of the Stark County general public) 
in a schizophrenic-esque management model of Stark County government.

On the one hand from when I first became familiar with Campbell back in 2000 through his political mentor Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman and, still, believed by many to control the Stark Dems through Phil Giavasis), he was described by Maier to me as a person who is an accomplished "penny pincher" (my interpretation; not necessarily the exact words he used)

If Maier is correct, such a characteristic appears to serving him well as county recorder in his fiscal management of the office.

On the other, as I have followed his career since 2002, I think he has used the recorder's office, though apparently efficiently and effectively, as a landing place for employment for the politically connected.

On this latter factor, I think he is loathed by the Stark County Republican Party leadership.

But not out of any sense that political patronage is a bad thing, so long as the dispenser is the likes of Stark County GOP chairman Jeff Matthews and Stark County based elected officials.

Fewer and fewer Stark County voters, mirroring what is happening across this nation, trust government administered by elected Republicans and Democrats to be open, transparent, accountable and non-self serving like in appointing their political friends to public positions without the general public having had an opportunity to apply for taxpayer paid for jobs.

In my travels around the Stark County political circuit, Campbell is more vilified by Republican leaders and elected officials than any other office holding Democrat.

Stark County auditor Alan Harold in particular has been very, very, very tough on Campbell.  And, I believe (based on my observations in budget hearings) Stark County commissioner Janet Creighton (who began her political career in Stark County as recorder) also is especially scrutinizing of how Campbell runs the fiscal operations of the recorder's office.

In my view, Campbell might be the most loyal of all the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr loyalist and therefore a lighting rod of Republican animosity.

In this Stark County Political Report analysis of the operation of the county recorder's office, Campbell comes out "smelling like a rose" and may end up, at the conclusion of this series, as being Stark County very best public official in terms of efficiencies and effectiveness

Let's take a look at the numbers.

On January 1, 2014 Campbell's office total cost to Stark County taxpayers was $580,009 whereas on April 30, 2017 it was $566,093,

Moreover, Campbell has slashed the payroll by 3 persons which also translates into a nearly 20% drop.

Some might note that Campbell himself has received the largest percentage increase in salary over the reported 3.3 year period.  However, it is pointed out that 10.25% has been mandated by the likes of state Rep. Kirk Schuring (the 48th House District), Christina Hagan (the 50th House District) and state Senator Scott Oelslager (the 295h Senate District) and a majority of their Ohio General Assembly colleagues.

While the approximate $14,000 annual savings is a "drop-in-the-bucket" of the overall (including all sources of funding, federal, state and local) $10 million increase for government at the county level, Democrat Rick Campbell is certainly doing his part to stifle the growth of government while still delivering services to the public with highly increased effectiveness.

Links to prior blogs in this series.

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