Sunday, July 1, 2018



At last Wednesday's Stark County commissioners' meeting, it was somewhat spellbinding to The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) to witness the apparent "made whole" again revelation about the health and well-being of the Stark County Dog Pound (Pound).

The occasion?

This county commissioner resolution:

A far cry from this (LINK) SCPR blog of February 27, 2010.

And for a deeper appreciation of the chronically persistent problems at the Pound to be inherited by commissioners-elect Bernabei and Creighton (actually Bernabei took up office in November), here are a few more links to prior SCPR blogs:
In the estimate of The Report, then-commissioner Todd Bosley 
  • (now Nimishillen Township trustee from whence he came in November, 2006 having defeated then-incumbent commissioner Richard Regula)
was, in the opinion of this blogger, the main problem in fanning the fires of Pound problems in picking up on volunteer discontent with how the Pound was being run when he took office.  The Report thinks he replicated that approach to government  on a number of sore points (from the citizen/voter perspective) re: county government operations, and tried to turn the Pound and other county governance problems into a selfish political advantage for himself.

Unfortunately, there are way too many politicians in America, Ohio and, yes, in our local governments, who try to exploit citizen clamoring for solutions to problems they perceive in government with an eye towards:  "How can I turn dealing with this dissatisfaction to 'my' personal political advantage" without necessarily finding an enduring solution?

Which is to say what the SCPR thinks former commissioner Bosley was mainly about.

None of his colleagues seemed to have the political gumption to challenge Bosley's apparent to the SCPR "divide and conquer" for my selfish interest strategy and become solution providers rather than aiders and abettors to countywide political/governance discord and concomitant community disruption.

One consequence of the pre-Bernabei/Creighton era of the Board of Stark County Commissioners was the "deemed necessary" dissolution, in the view of the Bernabei/Creighton led board, of the Stark County Dog Advisory Council.

Commissioner Bernabei since his election in November, 2010 has moved on to tackling the gargantuan aesthetic (i.e. the neighborhoods)/financial problems of city of Canton governance (elected in November, 2015) that have been accumulating mostly unchecked since the 1960s/1970s.

Most impressively, he abandoned his lifelong association with the "organized" Stark County Democratic Party to become an "independent" so that he could take on two-term seeking a third term incumbent Democratic mayor William J. Healy, II.

Along with "solving" the Stark County Dog Pound problem:
  • Bernabei teamed up with Creighton to solve the diminution of "trust" in county government as a consequence of what local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley termed as being "Zeiglergate," 
    • which many believe led to (in conjunction with with former commissioners Bosley, Harmon and Vignos having in December, 2008 "imposed" a 1/2 cent county sales tax) to a county government financial crisis.
In November, 2011, due to "restorative-of-a-measure-of 'trust-in-county-government'" in large part due the the work of Commissioners Bernabei and Creighton, Stark Countians placed county government in a position to recover financially/fiscally which it has done largely under the watchful eye of county finance director Chris Nichols (also a Canton Township trustee) with his implementation of a "financial sustainability" standard of county budgeting and appropriation with the unmitigated support of the Board of Stark County Commissioners.

The SCPR could cite other examples of commissioner led restarts/reforms that have resulted in politicians running out government solving problems rather than creating them.

The point of this blog is that political change in terms of whom we elect can work to bring quality performance to governance when quality politicians step forward to run for office and voters are informed enough to vote them into office.

The SCPR worried when Bernabei moved on to become mayor of Canton that we could not find a quality person to fill his shoes.

With former Canton Township trustee, it appears that in Bill Smith voters did pick someone who though different in style from Bernabei appears to be up-to-the-job in a qualitative manner.

So it should be no surprise that he is in league with Commissioners Creighton and Regula in the commissioners' continuing quest to improve facilities and operations at the Stark County Dog Pound.

According to Statista, dog ownership continues to rise.  According to Warden Barber, Humane Society formulas indicate that Stark County probably has upwards of 70,000 citizen owned dogs.

Stark County dog lovers (by the way, this blogger is not and has not been a dog owner going back to the 1980s.  However, all three adult daughters with families of their own are) should be thoroughly impressed and pleased with the work that has been done by county officials (i.e. the commissioners and Warden Jon Barber) to revamp the Pound and make it a high quality operation.

Below is SCPR video of Barber making his presentation to commissioners on the 27th for approval of the county to take funds from the county's capital budget (coupled with about $200,000 in private sector (citizens and businesses) to undertake a renovation of the Stark County Dog Pound.  (Note:  see follow up video below SCPR One-on-One with Warden Barber for details of the renovation financing details)

The Barber to Stark commissioners video:  (6 min, 28 sec)

Links to county commissioners' website and Pound Facebook page.

Photos from Facebook page:

As a follow up to his presentation to commissioners, the SCPR sat down with Warden Barber (who has been warden for about five years) immediately after the June 27th commissioner session and interviewed him on the history (of difficulties at the Pound), current operations and the prospects going forward.  (12 min, 50 sec)

(Note:  Due to a recording glitch part of the interview was lost and therefore is picked up mid-interview, The Report apologizes)

Ohio/Stark County dog owners should be come aware of the legal obligations of dog ownership as a matter of state law.  The Ohio State Bar Association has published a guide to Ohio dog ownership which can be seen at this LINK.

While The Stark County Political Report's main emphasis is to present to readers stories about problems in governance in Ohio's Stark County political subdivisions (county, city, village, township and board of education et cetera), and, of course, in state government relations with our local government;  the most gratifying part of writing the SCRP is sharing with readers serendipitous examples of successes of our local governors in tackling and solving problems.

The "rebirth" of the Stark County Dog Pound is a prime example of what can be achieved when our leaders look for a work at solutions rather than looking to unsettle and confuse in a quest for political self interest.

A SCPR "hat's off!" to the commissioners and Warden Barber and the many, many, many Stark County citizen-volunteers who have worked together with government to solve a long festering care of animals problem!!!

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