Sunday, July 16, 2017




From time-to-time, The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) publishes a blog which focuses on the positives of Ohio, Stark County, the cities, the villages, townships and boards of education and the county's ordinary citizens as they function in making Stark County a good place to live, work and play.

By and large, the SCPR is a "hold 'em accountable" media outlet.

No "the official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall Fame-esque" line on the masthead of this publication.

How can a media outlet hold itself out as being "the official newspaper" of anything and have readers believe that—that "whatever" can in any sense of objectivity be held accountable by that same official newspaper?

Answer that one Mr. Executive Editor (Derosiers) of The Repository!

Moreover, the focus of The Report is a dedication to telling the stories of "everyday," unheralded Stark Countians who work day-in, day-out to make our county a better place to live.

There is no play in this blog to the "pooh-bah," elitist, credential collecting segment of Stark County society.

It was a serendipitous moment at yesterday's Board of Stark County Commissioners meeting as Commissioner Janet Creighton departed from the normal course of county government considerations to heap praise on the manner in which the Stark County Job & Family Services functions on an everyday basis for the well-being of Stark County's families.

Many commissioner meeting agendas have over the course of a year a number of Stark County Job & Family Services (SCJ&FS) items for commissioners to consider.

It was inspiring to hear Commissioner Creighton to extol the manner in which the agency handles the critically important matters dealing with quality life of family issues that the agency is charged with as a matter of Ohio law to handle 365 days each and every year.

Here are Creighton's SCPR videotaped initial comments.

In a Stark County Political Report follow up after the meeting was adjourned, I drilled down with the commissioners on the specifics of why SCF&JS deserved being held out as a superb example of what local government services should be and which is exemplified by an "actual" functioning government unit.

Here is a video of that follow up session:

As Commissioner Creighton stated in the video, the excellence in service at SJ&FS starts at the top with Executive Director Deborah Forkas.

Forkas competed with 81 other applicants to fill the shoes of former director Julie Barnes when Barnes was hired away to Summit County.

That she won out over 81 other applicants (selected, February, 2014) some of whom were prominent Stark County political/government notables, tells a lot about how clear it must have been to the-then commissioners (Bernabei, Creighton and Regula) that she stood out as having superior qualities that militated her hiring.

She has not disappointed.

Here is her bio from the SJ&FS website:
Executive Director
When Deborah Forkas, M.Ed., joined Stark County Job and Family Services (SCJFS) as executive director in 2014, she brought with her 30 years of extensive experience and commitment to children. 
Ms. Forkas has served as Director of Children, Youth and Families in Fairfax County, Virginia; Director of Children and Family Services, Cuyahoga County; Deputy Executive Director of Social Services, Summit County Children Services, and as a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Juvenile Division Deputy Director. 
As executive director, Ms. Forkas is responsible for a triple-combined agency—Human Services, Children Services and Child Support—with an annual budget of nearly 52 million dollars. SCJFS provides programs and services which include Medicaid, food assistance, child care, Ohio Works First, establishment, enforcement, collection and disbursement of child support orders, assessment of child abuse and neglect, and foster care and adoptions services. 
Ms. Forkas earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toledo and a Master’s in Education from John Carroll University. She enjoys reading, gardening, cooking and entertaining with her husband Ronald.
Standing out among Forkas' achievements as executive director, has been the agency's performance (one of a few agencies selected) in implementing a "pilot" project in manner in which child support payments are collected.

Specifically singled out for "kudos" by Commissioner Creighton are SJ&FS representatives (on Wednesday of last week) Rob Myers (with agency since 1990) and Brian Kandel (with the agency since 2012), the latter of whom doubles down as Nimishillen Township's fiscal officer.  They along with other representatives, including Forkas herself (all equally prepared on and committed to transparency of agency operations) from this unit of Ohio/Stark County government appear frequently before the commissioners "at the ready" to handle "in depth" questioning by the commissioners antecedent to the commissioners acting on various resolutions before them regarding SJ&FS operations.

However, I took Creighton's comments (fully endorsed by Commissioners Bill Smith and Richard Regula) to another level.

While I appreciate hearing accounts of "job well done" by local government officials and give same full play in these pages, the SCPR does not cheerlead for any entity or person.

This second video is the SCPR digging deeper (as The Report always does) with the commissioners for concrete examples upon which Commissioner Creighton took (as she mentioned) the extraordinary move by her or any other commissioner to pause the meeting to accord a recognition of the exemplary work of an agency of Ohio and Stark County government.

It gives me great joy to do this type of blog.

But I am not about to give up the nearly ten-year-old SCPR format of holding Stark County sited government at all levels to the highest standard of living up to being the servants of the people of Stark County.

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