Tuesday, May 14, 2019

CANTON DEMOCRATS "LIKE" CHRISTINE SCHULMAN AS "COUNCILPERSON-AT-LARGE" BY A WIDE MARGIN!


A FOR SURE WINNER IN NOVEMBER!

WILL SHE BE HER OWN PERSON 
OR
BE PRIMARILY MINDFUL OF
"WHO BROUGHT HER TO THE DANCE?"

INSET SOURCE:  BOE

Folks (candidates, committeepersons, and members of the public) filed into Courtroom 5 of the Canton Municipal Court last evening right before 5:00 PM at which time Chairman Sam Ferruccio, Jr of the Stark County Democratic Party gaveled the "select a successor to resigned councilperson-at-large Corey Minor Smith as of  April 8, 2019.

Local Republicans are telling the SCPR that "organized" Democrats have "gamed the system" in terms of Corey Minor Smith after resigning staying on the primary election ballot of May 7th and winning a slot so as to preclude a Republican being elected in November.

The SCPR  thinks they have a point.  However, this blogger thinks that the likes of Republican chair Jeff Matthews would have counseled as it appears Dems chairman Sam Ferruccio, Jr appears to have done in order to look out for his political party's interest.

Both political parties, this blogger thinks, hold the political party interest over the public interest of having a politically competitive governance environment.

If the SCPR sees evidence re: the complaining Republicans, that they would do things differently than what it appears that Ferruccio and the Dems have done, which The Report hasn't, then this blogger would be duly impressed and herald the occasion.

But do not hold your breath!

All-in-all it only took a little over 28 minutes for the Stark County's largest urban Democrat fiefdom to select Christine Schulman (wife of recently deceased longtime Canton City Council president Allen Schulman) as recently resigned Councilperson-at-large Corey Minor Smith's replacement.

Here is the uncut, raw video of last night's proceeding:



While Schulman has no legislative experience as contrasted with candidates Slesnick and Kraus, she and Allen for years have been the cornerstone of organizing and hosting (at Allen's law office; the former Carnegie built Canton Library) many, many, many prominent local, state and even some national Democrats.

And they put their money where the mouths were in making numerous and substantial campaign finance contributions to Democratic candidates.

Schulman does bring with her a wealth of being a highly successful businesswoman.

The Stark County Political Report believed going in the last night's meeting that Schulman's chief rival would be former state Rep. Stephen Slesnick who surprised nearly everyone, including this blogger, when he became the Democratic nominee to replace Representative William J. Healy, II who opted to the leave the Ohio Legislature to run for and win the mayoralty of Canton in ousting Republican incumbent mayor Janet Weir Creighton.


Note that only 29% of voting registered Democrats support Slesnick; 71% preferred someone else.  Not exactly an overwhelming endorsement of the expectations that Democrats themselves had of what he would bring to government.

Of that group, only Rinaldi and West have qualities that equip them to be attentive, inclusive and transparent in relation to "all" of the district's citizens.

It appears to the SCPR that current representative Thomas West though being in a huge minority is doing much better than Slesnick did as a state representative.

Like most (e.g. Republican John Hagan) "once elected-now I am entitled to be elected to something, anything!" termed out public officials such as Slesnick was in 2018 from the Ohio House, Slesnick has run for county commissioner and last night sought to be appointed by local Democrats as Corey Minor Smith's replacement.


Once on the "public 'tit,' it is difficult for most to wean themselves off.

Stephen Slesnick, who, in the opinion of the SCPR was (as this blogger has written many times) a nearly worthless state representative perhaps rivaling former representative Mary Cirelli who Healy had ousted.

Readers of the SCPR hear this blogger harp incessantly about how  "sure to be elected" Democratic/Republican candidates for public office bring some very marginal at best elected public officials into our democratic/republican form of government.

Being a Canton councilperson-at-large candidate in highly Democratic Canton is almost guaranteed to be elected whether an incumbent or a first-term appointee.

Of course, Stark County Republicans engage in the same thing.  The Ohio Republican Party through its elected Ohio General Assembly (OGA) members have gerrymandered federal and state legislative offices so as to ensure whopping Republican majorities.

In Stark County, we have Scott Oelslager, Kirk Schuring and Reggie Stoltzfus in what are "impossible for Democrats" to compete in highly gerrymander seats.  District 49 (Democrat Tom West) is gerrymandered too.  For Republican lawmakers have more or less put as many registered Stark Democrats into the 49th to give the likes of Oelslager, Schuring, and Stoltzfus more "Republican" registered voter districts.

To boot, Oelslager and Schuring have circumvented the voters of Ohio expressed will that they be limited to eight consecutive years in the Ohio General Assembly by trading districts (between the Ohio House and Senate) when each is about to be term limited out of either the House or Senate.

While legal, it is an arrogant move that is the equivalent to an "in your face" to the voters of Ohio.

Moreover, what have they done for the well being of Stark County in their nearly combined 60 years in the OGA?

Undoubtedly, there are some things they have shepherded through the OGA but not nearly what it should have been in light of nearly everybody else being limited to eight years in the body as compared to their combined 60.

Tell me, how does "unaccountability" in terms of having "a safe seat" advance the cause of our democratic-republic.

To me, the politicos who support lopsidedness do a great deal to undermine the American system of government.

Despite her impressive Democratic credentials as outlined above and now that she is councilwoman-at-large, the SCPR trusts that she will endeavor to be the representative of "all the people of Canton" and not cater "to her base group" as to the detriment of America, the president of the United States is currently doing.

The SCPR trusts that Christine Schulman will be an exception to "the rule of staying with a partner who brought you to the dance."

Canton City Council, the Ohio General Assembly, and the Congress are not "dances."

They are about attentive, inclusive, transparent governance.

To the degree that political parties incorporate the foregoing democratic-republican values, terrific!

To the degree organized political parties undermine core democratic-republican values, "a pox on both their houses."

Sunday, May 12, 2019

WHY SHOULD "EVERYDAY" STARK COUNTIANS CARE ABOUT STARK COUNTY'S E-FILING IMPLEMENTATION?



VIDEO: JUDGE TARYN HEATH
"EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT E-FILE"

CLICK ON GRAPHIC TO ENLARGE

As shown in the graphic above, the implementation of an Electronic Filing System (E-file) with the Stark County court system might not be a matter of interest on the part of the Stark County general public in that it most directly affects the courts themselves, attorneys who file cases with the courts and Stark County general agencies of government who interact with the courts.

So why should a typical reader of The Stark County Political Report (SCPR) linger on and read and view (the video of Judge Heath's Q&A with the SCPR) this blog?

First and foremost is the projected longer-term overall cost savings which in one form or another (e.g. less clerk of employees and other court-connected employees being needed) filter through to Stark County users of the courts and ultimately to Stark County taxpayers.

Secondly, the savings in time and concomitant expense (for their attorneys which should filter through to clients) with the potential promise of less need to physically travel to the courts for those Stark Countians who have legal matters to be brought before the courts in terms of a civil or criminal matter.

Thirdly, to understand the thoroughness with which Judge Taryn Heath (e-file liaison judge) is proceeding (since 2011) to make sure that the final implementation of e-file in Stark County is the best that it can be if it rolls out in December 2019 or whenever it gets implemented and published.

There are other reasons in terms of more efficient government agency integration with the court system which though largely unseen by the typical Stark County citizen definitely benefit citizens in cost and convenience.

Here is the video of the SCPR's May 1, 2019 interview with Judge Heath that explores the entire time span (late 2011 through December 2019 or later) on the evolvement of the e-filing project.

This video is about 30 minutes long and is an example of a straight-talking, transparent elected official candidly answering all the SCPR's questions.

A MUST SEE for any reader who cares about transparency and candor in local government!



It has taken way too long for Stark County to get e-filing and its attendant e-filing system up and running.  It has been in process since late 2011 and (keep your fingers crossed) might be up and running by December 2019.

Here is a graphic of the financial progression of e-filing in Stark County going back to 2011 as prepared by Dwaine Hemphill who is the court's chief administrator.

CLICK ON GRAPHIC TO MAKE LARGER

So why the delay?

The initial contract with Tybera was signed in 2015.  (See exhibits 1 & 2 in the appendix to this blog).

Almost immediately upon Tybera getting its contract with Stark County government, it became apparent that the county's case management computer system was so adequated under the watch of the likes of Stark County former clerks of court Phil Giavasis, Nancy Reinbold and currently Louis Giavasis that it has had to be rebuilt.

NOTE:  The foregoing assessment is NOT that of Judge Heath but completely and totally the assessment of this blogger.

Judge Heath as seen in the video DID NOT point fingers at anyone working in Stark County government as being the cause of the delay in implementing e-file.


As readers of the SCPR know, this blogger has never been shy about naming names that The Report thinks is responsible for this or that thing in local government this blog's quest to hold Stark County government officials accountable for their actions and/or inaction.



This blogger is fully aware of Sheriff George T. Maier's admonition recently, to wit:  "Martin, you know you have a lot of enemies [in Stark County government].  

It is a little bit unnerving to have Stark County's chief law enforcement person to make such a statement, joking or not.

Whichever it was, an attempt at intimidation or joking, it was totally inappropriate for the county sheriff to have made such a statement.

A part of the out-of-date factor of the case management system has been the inability of the clerk's office to hire and maintain technical personnel needed to restructure the case management system.  Prior technical employees left county employment because the county was not competitive in the salary range which, of course, is a determination made by the elected clerk of courts.

Anita Henderson one of the Stark County auditor's top Internet Technology (IT) experts has helped the clerk of courts IT to resolve the deficiency in the office's case management software.

The SCPR has written that the Stark County clerk of courts office appears to be highly politicized in terms of the selection of the clerk him or herself and some of the key employees of the office that perhaps the office is not getting the very best from the general employment market that have the skills with which to avoid situations like an adequated case management system.

It is tempting to think that it "six of one and a half a dozen of another" when it comes to government employees.  The SCPR is not one to accept that kind of thinking.

Though politically connected employees might we be "workman-esque" performers, The Report thinks that to make political connections a factor in who gets hired and who does not even have the opportunity may prove very costly to particular elected officials.

Former Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler told this blogger on April 1, 2009 that all he knew about then chief deputy of the treasury Vince Frustaci is that "he was just some guy out on the golf course."

Think about that statement.

If true and Zeigler had not thoroughly vetted him which resulted in unknowingly getting an employee that turned out the way Frustaci did was indeed costly to Stark County taxpayers and to Zeigler in his individual capacity.

If not true and Zeigler hired Frustaci merely because of political considerations what difference is there in terms of inviting potential consequences of having made such a hire.

None of us know the full story of the adverse and detrimental to Stark Countians (in both quality of government service and a poor, if not a devastating, taxpayer financial consequences [e.g. Frustaci]) improperly vetted and/or politically connected hirings!

Though certainly quite different than the treasury situation, the SCPR believes that for years the clerk of courts office has been a haven for the politically connected to get a preference in obtaining local government jobs.

And there are other county offices that "persons in a position to know" tell the SCPR are rampant with employees who likely were and continued to be hired because of their political connections which obviously make the hirings "a crapshoot" as to whether or not the hire is in the best interest of the service and value  Stark Countians receive at the hand of local government offices.

The Stark County commissioners have made a step in the right director in trying to ensure that availability of county jobs is broadcast generally so as to enhance the field of candidates and thereby improve the chances that the county hires highly productive employees.

However, the created Stark County Human Resources (SCHR) appears to be little used by independent of the commissioners elected county officials.

Recently, the SCPR has done on the hiring practices of Stark County clerk of courts Louis Giavasis.  Giavasis told this blogger he has used SCHR only once in his nearly four years of being the elected clerk of courts.

The SCPR is gathering additional material on other local government elected officials who do not have in place structures of employment that enhance the likelihood of obtaining the most creative, efficient and productive workers that the general employment market can provide.

As regular readers of the SCPR, this blogger generally provides much more information on any given topic that the local mainstream media does.

And the e-file project is no exception.

For those readers who like to dig into the interstices of data, here are documents that should make for an interesting read.

APPENDIX

INITIAL CONTRACT WITH TYBERA



FOLLOW UP CONTRACT WITH TYBERA



TYBERA'S PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL



RECEIPTS DETAILS



EXPENDITURE DETAILS



Wednesday, May 8, 2019

STARK CO. COMMISSIONERS ACT TO MAKE COUNTY SAFER WITH ADVANCED 911 SYSTEM.



The Stark County commissioners earlier today at their regular Wednesday meeting (1:30 p.m.) at the Stark County Office building approved on the recommendation of Stark County Emergency Management Agency (SCEMA) and endorsement of Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier passed a resolution authorizing the implementation by Stark County-based dispatch centers a state-of-the-art "enhanced" 911 call system.

Here is a 17-minute video (raw footage) of the entire meeting from beginning to end.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

SEE STARK CO POLITICAL REPORT "POST-ELECTION" ANALYSIS TWEETS

LINK

The Stark County Political Report, Stark County's premier governance/political opinion supported by facts blog!

Friday, May 3, 2019

WHO WILL LAKE VOTERS AGREE WITH? TRUSTEES OR OPPOSITION. LAKE 2.0 MILL MIDWAY PARK LEVY

UPDATED:  7:15 A.M. 05/05  

ISSUE 3 AUDIO INTERVIEW WITH ISSUE 3 OPPONENT EVE MORGAN


6:19 PM - AUDIO INTERVIEW WITH ISSUE 3 PROPONENT SETH MARANA


9:21 AM -  PRO ISSUE 3 PRE-PRIMARY CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS
(SEE IN APPENDIX)

LAKE ISSUE #3 - GOING DOWN TO DEFEAT?

SEE SCPR VIDEO INTERVIEW OF TRUSTEE JEREMY YODER SUPPORTIN LEVY

ALSO, VIDEO OF OPPONENTS AT COMMUNITY MEETING


Recently, this blogger was into a local barber shop and, of course, anyone who has ever been to a barbershop know that it "pulse of the community central."

A Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) visit to a local barber who the SCPR thinks knows the Lake community politics better than anyone else living in the township:

Question:  Is the proposed 2.0 mill Midway Park levy going to pass?

Answer:  "I don't think so."

If the barber is correct, then the folks  (about two dozen of them, likely near all of them against the levy) who showed up at the Uniontown Fire Department (FD) on April 18, 2019 for an informational meeting, will be cheered up.

Here is a SCPR video sampling of some of those folks who had specific objections to the levy.





The Report has not gotten the impression from Lake Township trustee Jeremy Yoder that the issue is obviously destined for failure.

He appears to the SCPR to be mildly optimistic that Lake voters will approve the ambitious Midway Park plan which will come at an average cost of $100 a year or so for an average-valued home owned by Lake Township residents.

The levy is for 10 years and likely, according to Stark County auditor Alan Harold, raise about $15/16 million.

Here is a LINK to a video that shows the design concept of the proposed Issue 3 project.

A few weeks ago, the SCPR did a videotaped interview with Trustee Yoder.

Here is that video.



As a matter of disclaimer, this blogger  (a Lake resident) favors the levy.

But, as Trustee Yoder said at the Uniontown FD informational meeting, Lake residents who vote on May 7th will decide the issue for all.  The vote on this issue is an example of Democracy at work.

Those gathered at the FD on April 18th made an interesting rejoinder to Trustee Yoder when he opined that Lake lags Jackson and North Canton in park development which draws many people to a community and therefore Lake suffers from a lesser commerce factor which in turn makes Lake one of Stark's most expensive real property tax communities.

The rejoinder?

"We do not want to be like Jackson and North Canton!"

Here is a letter which underscores the foregoing point:


As a follow up to the foregoing letter, the SCPR via telephone interviewed Ms. Morgan on Saturday, May 4, 2019:



However, there are those like this blogger want to see the Midway project pass for several reasons.

First and foremost is that it is likely a facility that will get heavy use by nearly all age groups.

Heavy promotion of using the facility should be made to the youth of Lake in hopes that involvement with the use of the park will be a healthy diversion from the youth engaging in unhealthy activities.

Next, it will be an economic plus and long term property tax relief for Lake which is primarily a "bedroom community" and therefore has to have high property tax rates.

Here is an audio interview with a proponent of Issue 3; namely, Seth Marana of Uniontown:



The Lake citizens who oppose the issue are making terrific points in that it appears that the Lake trustees and other "on board" community leaders have not thought out well enough.

For instance, one resident at the FD meeting guffawed at the notion that a couple of employees could maintain and manage the park.

The SCPR agrees and, if passed, the trustees need to get real and make sure that along the course of construction and develop that there is an adequate proportion of the $15/16 million set aside for the operational side of the facility.

There were other salient points made by the objectors.

Hopefully, Trustee Yoder heard them and will be a force for addressing their concerns.

APPENDIX

Pro Issue 3 Campaign contributors
(No report filed by anti-Issue 3 group; likely because less than $1,000 was raised)




For those readers who want to dig deeper into the makeup of Lake Township, see the YMCA commissioned report which follows:


Sunday, April 28, 2019

STARK CONSTRUCTION (TRADE) UNIONS TO JOE MARTUCCIO:


WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR [US] LATELY?


Updated:  Monday, April 29th at 6:42 a.m.
(Added material on "the Bernabei factor")

When it came to light at the late council president Allen Schulman, Jr. was not well, political jockeying started as to whom was going to succeed him in Canton council government.

Shortly after Schulman's death, the jockeying broke out into a full-blown competition between retired longtime law director Joe Martuccio and one of Stark County's premier unionist in William V. Sherer, II.

Martuccio says that initially, he was promised by prominently placed Stark County Democratic leadership the support of the Canton branch of the Stark County Democratic Party in his quest to be appointed to replace Schulman.

And it would be the duty of the Canton members of the Stark County Central Committee to choose Schulman's successor.

But that promise of support evaporated when Sherer decided he wanted to come out from being the puppeteer of all things union-related re: Canton government, to being the chief puppet of union interests and ensuring that union interests became official policy and the program/pragmatic stance of Canton's government wherever Stark unionists under the cloak of the East Central Ohio Construction Trades Council thinks there is an organized construction labor interest at play.

Sherer's union home base is Local 550, Ironworkers.


Martuccio, being the "class act" he is, bowed out of the Democratic Party process to select a Schulman successor, saying that:
  • he would not be the cause of Democratic Party discord, and, moreover, that
  • he would take his case to registered Canton Democrats in the May 7, 2019 primary election.
Little did he know at the time that Sherer would be playing the "political 'power'" card that unions have with nearly every Stark County political subdivision candidate/officeholder in that the candidates/officeholders as candidates rely heavily on union campaign finance contributions and workers for their respective campaigns.

Sherer started his trek out of the shadows of backroom Stark County Democratic politics on being appointed as one of two Democratic members of the Stark County Democratic Party effective March 1, 2014, a position he held through March 1, 2017.

His dad, popularly known in Democratic circles as being Billy Sherer, was "the union" (said to be a right within the "organized Stark County Democratic Party) member of the Stark County Board of Elections until he was unceremoniously removed at the initiative Dems chair Johnnie A. Maier, Jr who said at the time he was acting on the imperative of then Democrat Ohio secretary of state Jennifer Bruner, who, herself denied Maier's attribution.

So the SCPR thinks that Sherer's political "coming out" started with his selection as the Dems' Board of Elections appointee.

William V. Sherer, II has never been elected to any public office.  Joe Martuccio has won in many elections over the last 20 years or so.

For as long as the SCPR can remember, Stark County unions have been "the tail wagging the dog" of Stark County Democratic Party operating and political candidate aspirations.

And Sherer, the second, the SCPR believes, at least by implication is trying to power his way into being "elected" Canton city council president.

As president, Sherer has very little "official" power.  For instance, the president only gets a vote if the body of council is deadlocked on an issue. 

However, the "union political contribution factor" regarding Democratic candidates makes Sherer as president a much more powerful in a "de facto" 
sense.

Evidence of that power is the recent action of the Stark County Democratic Party leadership under Chairman Sam Ferruccio to pass a party generated resolution (outright endorsement no allowed by current bylaws) supporting the Sherer candidacy.

There is a move afoot within the Stark Dems to change the rule of the party endorsing in local races.  Reminds The Report of then chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr engineering a change of policy of non-endorsement in any race involving Democrat against Democrat when he got the local party to endorse Ted Strickland in his 2006 successful race for governor.  Not only was the Strickland endorsement made, but it was the very first county political party endorsement for him in that race.

This blogger believes that Maier, Jr. and his favored local political associates personally benefited from the 2006 Stark County Democratic Party endorsement of Strickland.

Canton mayor Thomas Bernabei, who became mayor as a political independent, recently returned to the Democratic fold (a disappointment to his blogger).

One has to think that as his opponents charged at the time, Bernabei's switch from being a lifelong registered Democrat to being a "political independent" was an opportunistic move (not an authentic move of "a pox on both political parties)  so that he could run in the 2015 general election against incumbent Democratic mayor William J. Healy, II who was running for a third term.


The redeeming thing about Bernabei from this blogger's perspective is a belief that when "push comes to shove," his independence of action will spring forth again if unions and or the party ask to do something that he deems not to be in the interest of the bulk of Canton's citizens.

In short, one should not doubt for a nanosecond that Bernabei is a Democrat.  He clearly is and at heart has always been.

But he appears to the SCPR to be an independent-minded Democrat.  And that plus, perhaps, a little backroom political dealing to avoid having a Democrat (Stark County clerk of courts Louis Giavasis) run against him in the November, 2019 general election seem to be the reasons why he has changed his registration back to being a Democrat.

A convincing reason he might have publicly thrown his support to Sherer might be the belief by some that organized labor has a stranglehold on Canton government and if he is going to be successful in pulling Canton out of its current depressed state connecting with the unions is a top priority.

Evidence of union power also shows in collective thousands of dollars contributed to the Sherer side of the campaign by elected Stark County political subdivision Democrats as part of the $60,000 plus of Sherer political war chest as compared to Martuccio's $2,800.  Martuccio tells the SCPR that he did not hold one single fundraiser.

Bernabei was one of the Sherer contributors ($250) and tells the SCPR that it was in effect an announcement that he is supporting Sherer over his (Bernabei's) former Canton law department protege Joe Martuccio, whom Bernabei helped become law director as his successor.

Many if not most of Canton city council members are among the contributors to the Sherer campaign.

For his part, Martuccio says he "understands" the rush of prominent Canton Democrats to financially support Sherer inasmuch as Sherer is the incumbent (by political appointment) council president of council.

This Martuccio "understanding" is generous from the SCPR's point of view.  It would be one thing if Sherer had been elected in a Canton election context to the presidency.  But the fact of the matter is that Sherer is a "politically" appointed president of council.  

On the Republican side of politics and governance, it is the corporations, business interest in general and business supporting organizations (e.g. chambers of commerce) that weigh in pretty much universally for Republican candidates.

It is only when one party or the other gains commanding control of any level of government, does the union/versus/business factor gets abused.

At the state of Ohio level, it is the Republican Party which seems to abuse its political power in favor of corporate/business interests.

Canton, and likely other major Ohio cities, on the other hand under Democratic Party control seem to abuse their power in favor of union interests.

It is a little crazy the Stark County Democratic Party would come out overwhelming for Sherer in the Sherer/Martuccio face off come May 7th.

As law director, Joe Martuccio drafted the ordinance for Canton City Council whereby it became "government policy" to insist that any and all contracts with the public but mainly "private sector" be the subject of what is known as being "Project Labor Agreements" (PLAs).

PLAs are the "sacred cow" of construction trades priorities.

So the difference between Sherer as council president and Martuccio as council president would not be general support of unions as evidenced by PLAs.

What is it, then?

Martuccio would not have nor want to have "the whip of future union 'campaign contributions'" as a cudgel to get any "off-the-reservation" Democrats on any given issue in line with the will of Stark County Democratic Party leadership.

Martuccio, while a solid Democrat who generally supportive of Democratic Party positions, has not been and will not be a "jam this down your throat" elected official, as so many elected legislative Republicans and Democrats are when they have supermajority control.

Joe Martuccio is a "come let us reason together" Democrat.

The SCPR has ties to the Sherers in that:
  • Billy Sherer served as an advisor to the  Martin Olson for state representative candidate (2002, 2004), and
    • who worked to enhance union financial support for the campaign
Philosophically, this blogger likes the contribution of unionists to the common cause the major contribution of which is the historical building up of the middle class.

The decline of unions have been a major factor in the decline of America's middle class since unionism high water mark in the mid to late 1970s.



However, the SCPR abhors blatant power politics (achieved in a noncompetitive political environment such as Canton's city council and the Ohio General Assembly) and will speak out against its expression wherever it comes from; friend or foe, unions or from the business sector, Democrat or Republican organizations.

The reckless and "power equals right" attitude (a la GOP chairperson and Stark Countian Jane Timken in supporting gerrymandering to take political party competitiveness out of Ohio's elections) does more than anything else to undermine public support for our system of government.

The power mongers are looking out for selfish/organization/political party interests and do not stop to think that a power grab and exercise might not be in and probably is no in the "overall" public interest.

Here and there, the two may be the same.

But we all know from life experience that parochial interests generally come at the expense of the public interest being abused which gives birth to a cynicism that all of government is suspected of being corrupt and, which, secondarily causes many citizens to "opt out" as participative citizens (e.g. voting, citizen activism, and the like) which over the long term puts our system of government at risk.

It is the Joe Martuccios of the world who encourage every day, day-in, day-out citizens to be a part of government processes designed to solve problems of our life together.

The May 7th Democratic primary will be a face-off between a proven oft-elected public official (Martuccio) and an ambitious political neophyte (Sherer) who one has to suspect is primarily interested in enhancing union interests under the cloak of Canton government.

It will be interesting to see which pathway Canton's voting Democrats go down on May 7, 2019.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

HOT OFF THE "SCPR" PRESSES:" A DETAILED INTERVIEW WITH CANTON MAYOR TOM BERNABEI & PLANNING DIRECTOR DON ANGUS ON THE CURRENT STATUS OF CANTON'S "CENTENNIAL PLAZA" PROJECT



What follows is a one hour, 22 minute, 26 seconds interview done by The Stark County Political Report with Canton mayor Thomas M. Bernabei and Direct of Planning Don Angus yesterday, April 24, 2019.

As far as the SCPR is concerned, Mayor Bernabei is "the very best" that Stark County has to offer in leadership style and effectiveness.

Of course, the mayor and this blogger do have different perspectives which shows up in the video.

Mayor Bernabei is one a very few Stark County political subdivision officials who has the maturity to take on challenging questions, endeavoring to answer them "head-on" (i.e. not trying to change the subject as ever so many public officials do to answer the question they want to answer) and, demonstrates his political/governance maturity in not (as many officials do) visiting future inaccessibility to the likes of the SCPR as a message:  "do not ask me tough questions."

Normally, after putting 5 minute or less segment in the body of any given blog, the SCPR does place "the entire video" of any SCPR videotaped interview or event in the blog.  However, "the entire version" is usually placed at the end of any given blog in the appendix section.

However, this particular video is so, so, so important for Cantonians/Stark Countians to view in order to understand the origin, development, the current status and the future of downtown Canton development which could over time tremendously benefit all Stark Countians.

In the appendix of this video is a copy of an April 17, 2019 letter to Canton City Council members which provides a written "thumbnail" sketch of the development of the entire Centennial Plaza project.

Excised from a letter in its separate file is a sheet which details the "broken down" to aspects of the project which is to be viewed as a "cost sheet."

For those readers who absolutely refuse to view the entire version video (or any part thereof), the SCPR which be publishing snippets of video in 45 second segments (the maximum allowable on Twitter.  (Here is a LINK to the first such snippet but without a video attached).

The video.



APPENDIX

Bernabei letter to Canton City Council members



Cost sheet for Centennial Plaza project






Sunday, April 21, 2019

IS STARK COUNTY CLERK OF COURTS LOU GIAVASIS "POLITICAL CRONYISM" PERSONIFIED?

UPDATED 11:27 P.M .

VOLUME 2



Only The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) has raised much of the fuss about suspicions of what appears to be, in essence, political hirings in much of Stark County political subdivision government.

From a November 8, 2010, SCPR blog this:
During the recent campaign in which Coons Restoration & Sealants ... chief of financial operations ran against Stark County Auditor Kim  Perez, one of the themes of the Harold campaign was that a number of the Perez's employees were political appointees who, when hired, had little or no qualifications other than being registered Democrats who, impliedly, would be primarily about politically servicing Perez in his quest remain auditor.
Singled out in the buzz among Republican partisans were David Maley, Jimmy Babcock, Gary Zeigler II (*) and Kevin Fisher and the like.
* NOTE:  Zeigler remains on the auditor's office payroll under Republican Harold who tells the SCPR that Zeigler has been an exemplary employee. 
Hmm?

Jimmy Babcock (the son of a former Canton mayor [Charles, 1958 to 1961], a long time Canton councilwoman [Mary, 1979 to 2005]) , surfaces again in recently being hired by Stark County Clerk of Courts Louis P. Giavasis in what some Stark Countians think is a repeat of the Perez situation.

By Giavasis' own words, Babcock (who has been a Canton city-councilman-at-large since January 1, 2012)  got a clerk of court office job with the job not having been posted and consequently, the general run of Stark County taxpayers did not have the opportunity to apply for it.


Giavasis and his fellow Democrats might be saying that this blogger is picking on the Dems.

For the SCPR has not only cited the foregoing as possibly getting their jobs because of political connections to Louis Giavasis, The Report has previously blogged about:
  • Kody Gonzalez being first employed by Stark County recorder Rick Campbell and consequently by Canton clerk of courts Phil Giavasis (where Kody holds the job of his father (Jackson Township fiscal officer Randy Gonzalez) all of which occurred without the jobs having been posted to the general public,
    • Note: Randy Gonzalez (a former chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party) denies that he had anything whatsoever to do with his son getting the recorder's office job or the Canton clerk of courts job.
  • the politically connected Lisa Campbell (daughter of former Stark County commissioner Gayle Jackson)
    • the following from the above-cited 2010 blog:
      • The SCPR [was in 2010} critical of the hiring of ... Lisa Jackson Campbell as Plain Township administrator because:
        • The Report is highly skeptical of two phone calls that were made relative to her hiring
          • .One by then Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. to Plain Township trustee Louis Giavasis (according to Lawrence Township trustee Mike Stevens - who was also vying for the job) to ensure that Lisa got "a fair chance" at the vacant Plain Township administrator's job.  Remember from previous blogs how the SCPR has spoken of the "family" atmosphere that exists between Maier and the Jackson (e.g. Shane Jackson is Maier'e chief deputy [Massillon clerk of courts]
          • A second one (the order may be reversed) by Campbell himself to Giavasis (this is a Giavasis account of the conversation)  to ask whether or not it was permissible for ... Lisa to apply for the Plain Township job.
  • Louis Giavasis himself gaining employment at the Stark County clerk of court office under the hand-picked successor to his brother (who had moved on to become Canton Municipal Court clerk of courts when Tom Harmon retired)
For those who propagate the notion that the SCPR is singling out Democrats out as offenders in seeming cronyism to the exclusion of Republicans, take a look at these blogs:
Dan Fonte, the former business manager of Local 94, Pipefitters and Plumbers Union said this about Martin Olson:

"Martin is an equal opportunity critic"

And so it is.

Much work needs to be done on ensuring the Stark County taxpaying public that "public jobs" are just that:  "available to the general "taxpaying" public.

The Stark County commissions have made a move in opening the hiring process to transparency in hiring  Michael Kimble as the county's Human Resources (HR) director on October 14, 2014.


But the move will only be as good as his/the county commissioners' ability to persuade independently elected county officials to use the county hiring resource.

Giavasis says he has used the county's HR services once in his nearly four years as county clerk of courts. That was in the hiring of a collections enforcer in February 2016.

Since he took office on August 1, 2015 (as the appointee of the Stark County Democratic Party on the retirement of Nancy Reinbold) and having been elected in his own right in November 2016, Giavasis has made 29 hires, to wit:


On the surface, it appears that about 1/3rd of Giavasis' hires were not "after being posted" hires.

But digging deeper, it further appears that most of the top jobs went to "unposted" (including rehires) positions.

Other than Babcock, the most conspicuous of suspected primarily "political" hires are the chief deputy (Flex) and former Stark County sheriff office employee Tim George title manager.

Flex is a defeated for re-election fiscal officer for Plain Township.

See a letter to the editor of The Canton Repository pre-election.


Al Leno (hired November 19, 2012, a Plain Township trustee who served alongside Giavasis when Giavasis was a township trustee) has the suspected earmarks of a Giavasis involvement.

At least one other name has been suggested to the SCPR as having an inside political connection to getting hired for a position that was posted.

The Stark County Political Report is not satisfied with the number of what appear to be politically connected hirings throughout Stark County elective office hirings.

Giavasis might be okay when it comes to second level positions at the county clerk's office, but to The Report the hirings of Babcock, Flex and George seem to smack of having a political crony aspect to them.

Readers should be putting pressure on all of Stark's countywide elected officials to avail themselves of the services of Stark County commissioners' appointed Michael Kimble NO MATTER WHAT LEVEL THE POSITION.

Finally, by the direct order (err demand) of Stark County Clerk of Courts Louis P. Giavasis (sarcasm folks! sarcasm) two pdf files are attached in the APPENDIX to this blog.

As regular readers know, it is a very rare occurrence that the SCPR does not publish "unredacted" the response(s) of "the other side of the story."

Louis Giavasis nor any other persons dictates to the SCPR the content and timing of this blog.

What Giavasis has not done is to answer the allegations of Claude "Skip" Shriver, his opponent in the 2016 election (see volume one for a Stark Co video of Shriver's allegations).

Giavasis has done what many other politicians do when the SCPR asked him about the Shriver allegations.

He tried to turn the question into an examination of Giavasis allegations of Shriver's conduct as a public official rather than deal directly with the question posed by the SCPR.

The fact of the matter is that Claude "Skip" Shriver is not the Stark County clerk of courts.


APPENDIX


DOCUMENT OF EMAIL EXCHANGES BETWEEN SCPR/GIAVASIS



SUPPLEMENT DOCUMENT SENT BY GIAVASIS


Thursday, April 18, 2019

SCPR ASKS COMMISSIONERS ABOUT HOF REQUEST FOR $500,000 ANNUAL/$15 MILLION OVER 30 YEARS FROM STARK LODGING AND BED TAX


Embedded in video is an excerpt of comments by Allyson Bussey 
of the Stark County Convention & Visitors Bureau to SCPR questions

See complete HOF request letter and entire Bussey comments in the appendix




APPENDIX

BAKER LETTER OF REQUEST



Q&A SCPR/CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU DIRECCTOR ALLYSON BUSSEY






Friday, April 12, 2019

YOUR LIFE COULD DEPEND ON STARK CO. ENHANCING ITS 9-1-1 EMERGENCY SERVICES SYSTEM!


The big surprise in The Stark County Political Report's exclusive "on-camera" interview with Stark County Emergency Management director Tim Warstler was his saying that Stark County could have "enhanced" 9-1-1 emergency (fire, police and EMT [emergency medical technician]) services by December 31, 2019.

The SCPR's video focuses on Warstler's "timeline" statement:



Although Stark's "traditional" system has been effective; " enhanced" 9-1-1 services will likely result in lives being saved of those with critical health issues, persons trapped in a fire/explosion dwelling and victims of crime getting police services which might resolve/mitigate the victimization and/or a more likely apprehension of perpetrators because of:
  • pinpoint location (for cellphone users),
  • accessibility to 9-1-1 dispatchers "real time" pictures of an emergency/disaster scene, and 
  • a likely quicker dispatch of emergency/security personnel with the proper equipment based on more information gained by dispatchers through the use of an "enhanced" 9-1-1 system.
In this SCPR/Warstler video interview segment, Director Warstler defines "enhanced" 9-1-1 and he discusses some of the ramifications of having "enhanced" 9-1-1 that maybe has not been given enough attention.



A universal emergency services number (now 9-1-1) was first conceived in 1957.  But it was 1968 before an actual system was up and running (Haleyville, AL).  Only 17% of the U.S. population was served by 9-1-1 in 1976.  Stark County first came onboard in 1989.  In 2019 about 96% of the national population is served by some form of 9-1-1.

The SCPR has followed the development of what Warstler names "traditional" 9-1-1 going all the way back to 2009 when local politicos were saying the system was broken, to wit:
But let bygones be bygones in that Stark County now has its "act together" with what Warstler calls a highly effective "traditional" 9-1-1.

The next big move, even with "enhanced" 9-1-1 appears to be in getting texting to work with all systems.

SOURCE:  LINK

There is a state of Ohio endeavor on creating a statewide 9-1-1 which has been underway for about five years.  However, Warstler says, it is anybody's guess as to when, if ever, a statewide system comes into being.


Warstler pointed out that there is a risk that the state will develop a system and mandate that local governments get on board which raises the possibility that Stark will have to scrap a "before the state got into it" system and spend additional money for a state-mandated system.

Ever since NBC broadcast a segment (LINK) on Smart911 (which is under consideration by Stark County) on July 21, 2018, this blogger has been inquiring of Warstler as to when Stark County might implement "smart/enhanced" 9-1-1, to wit:



NBC weighed in again on "enhanced" 9-1-1 on April 11, 2019 with regard to 911Eye (also under consideration by Stark County).  See the segment at this LINK.

In the SCPR/Warstler interview, he had this reaction to what seemed to be the arrival of help within 21 seconds.  No, said Warstler, more like 20 minutes, "if all the ducks are lined up in a row." (paraphrase)

Once again, the SCPR pounced on the NBC 911Eye segment to inquire of Warstler which lead to the interview of Thursday, April 11th which, of course, is the basis of this blog.

There is another system named Carbyne911 which is under consideration.  However, Warstler cautions that the race to market "enhanced" 9-1-1 systems is a dynamic, fast and furious paced competition with new products to be looked at on an almost daily basis.

Whatever is decided upon in terms of a recommendation to the Stark County commissioners when bids put out by the commissioners come back, it will be, Warstler says, a collective recommendation of himself, Deputy Director Woods, 9-1-1 Coordinator Julia Patterson and the chiefs of Stark's seven dispatch centers.

It is obvious that Warstler has a lot of respect for  Stark County dispatch centers' leadership.

So what is the annual cost of "enhanced" 9-1-1 likely to be?

Warstler says it could range as high as $250,000 a year.

Moreover, he says, that Stark County does have the financial resources to finance the enhancement.  The Stark County Emergency Agency has a little over $6 million is "unappropriated" available financial resources.

Stark County's 9-1-1 is financed by a state levied telephone bill excise tax and Stark Countian have agreed to an additional levy as a purely local financial resource.  The local levy is 0.1 mill which produces slightly more than $650,000 annually and which passed in 2017 with a 75% approval rate.

The levy is a terrific value for individual property owners in that the cost at the family home level is about $3 per year for most Stark County property owners.

The SCPR has hit the highlights of the discussion of "enhanced 9-1-1 with Director Warstler.

However, as is the normal course of things with the SCPR, here is the "entire" interview with Warstler, Wood and Patterson.

For Stark Countians who want to be fully informed on the development and implementation of "enhanced" 9-1-1, the following 35-minute SCPR/Stark County Emergency Agency interview is priceless.



Wednesday, April 10, 2019

IS CLERK OF COURTS LOU GIAVASIS "CRONYISM" PERSONIFIED?

Updated April 10th at 4:00 p.m to include Giavasis complaint about this blog & the SCPR's response (see right before the text of today's blog begins).

VOLUME 1 IN A SERIES

AMENDED TO SHARE GIAVASIS COMPLAINT BOUT THIS BLOG

SCPR response to Giavasis' complaining e-mail.  (immediately followed by the complaining e-mail)

Martin Olson <tramols@att.net>
To:  Louis Giavasis Apr 10 at 3:50 PM

The SCPR plans to publish your email response in its entirety. Today's blog was the first of a series. So you are incorrect in surmising that Giavasis email response is not in the SCPR's publishing plan.

Today's blog will be amended to include (not the material of your vacation in Mexico)  the core of today's Giavasis complaining e-mail being responded to today's by this SCPR response.   Of course, it is pointed out herein that you are incorrect in presuming there is no plan to publish your email response to my email questions.  

As The Report recalls, you were asked on camera after the LWV candidates' forum event of September, 2016 for a response to Shriver's allegations.  For whatever reason, you declined. 

Since you seem to know so much about Mr. Shriver and others' hiring practices,  perhaps, you will provide me with the specifics of your allegations.

As you should know by now, nobody tells the SCPR how to structure The Report's blogs and the timing of the publication of particular parts of the material.  Such is in the sole decretion of this blogger.

I am interested in all the hiring practices of Stark County political subdivisions which, of course, includes the clerk of courts office.

On April 24th I have an appointment to interview, "on camera," Director Kimble of the Stark County Human Resources office.

You should be embarrassed as a Stark County elected public official in assuming that your email response to SCPR questions on the clerk of courts hiring practices is not planned to be published as a part of the series.

Should The Report say that it is no surprise that Stark County Clerk of Courts Louis Giavasis would jump to unwarranted conclusions?

Perhaps, in the future, you should ask about the timing of publication plans of matter like your full email response to the questions posed.

Martin Olson/SCPR

Giavasis' email

Louis Giavasis <LPGiavasis@starkcountyohio.gov>
To: Martin Olson Apr 10 at 1:25 PM

Martin, ...

I cannot say I am surprised by your blog this morning.

 You asked me for I formation and that is what you post?  

You told me that you would publish my entire email, I can only assume that you did not because the facts of my hiring practices do not have with your predetermined opinions. 

Maybe you should go back and look at Mr. Shrivers past hires as a trustee. Vince Marion Twp. Administrator and former executive director of the Stark GOP, Richard Kuhn law director and down the line. 

I sent you all the public postings of my hires and political affiliations of those hires and you post that and exalt Claude Shriver? I am laughing all the way from ... . 

Publish my email. 

Louis P. Giavasis

ORIGINAL BLOG

If the lead question in the title of this block were asked of Claude "Skip" Shriver (a former Plain Township trustee/fiscal officer), the answer?

YES, YES & YES some more.

Here is Shriver at the Canton League of Women Voters candidates forum on September 27, 2016 in his own words.  (2 min, 59 sec)



Shriver is hardly a political pop-off.  He is one of Canton/Stark County's most respected citizens.

The Stark County Political Report (SCPR, The Report) has never seen a Shriver-esque "public" statement going back to 1974 in the annals of Stark County politics.

Despite his efforts to defeat Giavasis in November, 2016 and implement his promise to end political cronyism in the Stark County clerk of courts office, he was unsuccessful.


Had he been successful, he could have "bet his bottom dollar" on SCPR scrutiny of his hiring practices.

This blog has a rich history in examining whether or not Stark County elected officials are into hiring based on personal/political connections and thereby cutting the taxpaying general public out of the opportunity of seeking to be hired.


And, add Stark County Probate Court judge Dixie Park to the parade of subjects of prior blogs pointing out what clearly seemed to be political-based hirings.

Why anyone (even a personally, politically connected person) would want to work for Park is a mystery.

Folks (not necessarily political based hires) who have been worked over by Judge Parks in an employment context have come to

Anyone who regularly reads the SCPR will recall the numerous blogs written about what appeared to The Report to be examples of Lou Giavasis and brother Phil Giavasis cronyism going back years within the 11 years that this blog has been published.

A few links:
Of course, the use of political patronage in Stark County government/politics is nothing new.

On April 3, 2009, two days after the revelation that there was a theft by an employee in the Stark County treasurer's office. the SCPR wrote this blog:


This blogger believes that the employee (Vince Frustaci) was politically connected to Zeigler or the greater Stark County Democratic Party when he got a job with the treasury in the early 2000s.

Zeigler denied that Frustaci got the job as a recipient of political patronage ii saying that all he knew about Vince Frustaci that "he was just a guy out on the golf course."

Even if Zeigler's explanation for hiring Frustaci is true, what does that say for the hiring processes within a Stark County government unit?

In this series, the SCPR will be delving into the hiring practices not only the Stark County clerk of court but also of Stark County political subdivision entities across the county.