Tuesday, August 13, 2019

CCS BD MEMBERS APPROVE McKINLEY GRAND TAX ABATEMENT: 4 TO 1 (RESNICK: HELL, NO!)


CCS BOE MEMBER & VP ERIC RESNICK:  "A MIXED BAG!"

RESNICK VIDEO - THE GRILLING OF CRAWFORD

RESNICK VIDEO - EXTENDED REMARKS


On the one hand: one cannot but admire CCS board member & VP Eric Resnick for putting up a fight against the CCS agreeing to a 75%/15 yr Enterprise Zone property tax abatement which will likely end up depriving the CCS.

On the other hand:  Resnick came off as a "sore" loser as he went on and on and on (Bd president JR Rinaldi tried to cut him off) regarding the arguments made by national and state "Think Tanks" as referred to by Resnick in his comments before last night's vote.

On the positive side, Resnick was the ONLY board member to grill HOF representative and president Michael Crawford.  Rinaldi, Russ, Milligan came off as cheerleaders which should endear them to Repository publisher Jim Porter who is well known for his sycophantic ("the official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame") relationship all things HOF Village related project.

Here is Resnick in his "finest 'moment'" in grilling Crawford:



The Resnick/Crawford exchange is an object lesson for all members of deliberative bodies in Stark County political subdivisions (i.e. cities, villages, townships and boards of education) of the preparation that a council/board member ought to have engaged in prior to asking questions of the likes of a Micheal Crawford.

BUT he did "guild the lilly" and thereby detracted from his incisive questioning of Crawford.

Here is Resnick in  an "overkill" mode.



His seemingly unending diatribe may cost him re-election on November 5th as hoped for by The Rep's "powers that be!"

A Resnick loss will make Rich Derosiers and Jim Porter of the "official newspaper of the Pro Football Hall of Fame" very, very, very happy!

Encouraging a public official analytical, skeptical frame of mind is not a quality that these newspaper men will abide when it comes to HOF matters.

Likely because they perceive "all things HOF" as a last gasp as a last hope for reviving downtown Canton and they do not want anyone upsetting the apple cart.

All-in-all, CCS board member and VP Eric Resnick was "a mixed bag" last night.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

SCPR & CANTON REP EDITORIAL BOARD AGREE: RESNICK CONTINUING AS CCS BOARD MEMBER IS NOT A GOOD THING FOR THE SCHOOLS; NOTWITSTANDING HIS PASSION!



On Thursday, The Canton Repository Editorial Board (Executive Editor Rich Derosiers) wrote a scathing editorial on the unsuitability for Canton City Council member (currently, the vice president of the Board) to be re-elected to another term.

Be sure to read the editorial.  Here is a LINK.

The SCPR takes Resnick as to his word ("you be the judge" as repeated numerous times in Resnick's response, all of which is published immediately after these SCPR comments) and on the basis of having covered Resnick and his political activities and elected/appointed office record, sides with The Rep editorial board and its Thursday editorial.

Need this blogger say that the SCPR has taken exception to the management/editorial practice (i.e. "the official newspaper of the HOF"), style and substance since March 12, 2008?

No doubt there is something positive to be said about Resnick's passion.  But he has now become a distraction to sorely needed re-direction of the CCS to pull itself out of being one the very poorest performing school districts in Ohio and possibly in the nation.

Resnick, who has been on the board, on-and-off, for a good part of the past ten years (though only one of five board members) owns a share of not providing enough of effective leadership that the CCS has desperately needed to avoid the state the school system is currently in.

Long before The Rep recognized that Resnick and his passion and zeal for whatever comes out of his mind/mouth makes him, in an overall sense, a detriment to the effective functioning of any public board (elected or appointed);  SCPR blogs over the past eleven plus years has tracked Resnick's involvement in public matters.

Now Resnick's FB response:

I thought I had seen just about everything when the Repository editorial board seemed unhappy that my Board colleagues and I did our jobs too well, inferring that protecting the districts assets was "dangerously close to extortion" in its July 14 editorial. (Keep in mind that our negotiating opponent was Hall of Fame Village and the Repository is "the official newspaper" of the Hall of Fame.)
But today THEIR agenda, comes into clearer focus than it was then, and I suppose I can channel President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who asked Americans to "to judge me by the enemies I have made."
Today's editorial is case in that point.
I am a bit flattered that the editorial board has to take much out of context to do what they think will be a hit piece on me. Rest assured this won't be their last between now and the election.
You all saw the video of my comments to Canton City Council on Monday and can judge for yourselves.
I have posted my testimony each time I have testified at the statehouse, and those comments are part of the public record. I make no apologies for advocating for public education nor looking out for the Canton City School District. It goes along with the job. Again, judge for yourselves.
(The senate Education chair was a little unhappy that I called her out for hearing a graduation requirement proposal for the first time at 1:30 on the afternoon senate budget amendments were due at 4:00, and her fellow senator for saying in open hearing that the proposal would be "the only one in the budget." Of course that kind of sleazy backroom dealing behind the public's back should be called out, in my opinion. Again, you can judge that for yourselves.)
But perhaps the most telling display here by the editorial board is their objection to my objection that Canton City School District personnel (not merely "I") were not credited with our participation in the press conference opposing Academic Distress Commissions in their June 30 editorial, which followed my complaints that they had not covered the matter, which is of critical importance to this community, as news.
Note:  (Resnick "for you to judge" enlarged print and underline added for emphasis sake)
I post here, for you to judge, 
the very e-mail the editorial board objects to, 
and 
it is followed by Rich DeRosiers' response. Again, judge it for yourselves:
Good afternoon.
I can't let the day conclude without commenting on your editorial today.
I love the conclusion.
I have been one of the leaders among my peers fighting the academic distress commissions and state takeover.
I testified against Cupp-Patterson, exactly because it is so unfair to districts like ours, which you know because your sister paper to the north reported it.
I also testified twice against what they did with graduation requirements.
Again, I agree with your conclusion 100 percent.
I shared the editorial with my colleague and friend Mohamed Al-Hamdani of the Dayton school board, and I agree he was a star performer Wednesday.
My objection is around how hard you had to work to fail to mention the names of the Canton City School District people who were there, and who represented their community very well.
I was fortunate, when I worked in the newspaper business, to have worked for an editor was OCD, and one of the things he was obsessive about was drilling it into us that every article has to stand on its own. Every article has to be treated as if it is the only thing reported about something, and a person passing through, only reading one thing, should get the whole picture.
The Repository has yet to report on the effort to eliminate academic distress commissions as a news item. I have talked to Kelly twice about this, so I know you have the material. I don't understand the reluctance to go there. Jim and Rich signed the letter spearheaded by the Canton Professional Educators Association in opposition to academic distress commissions, so I know you know something about it.
You have ignored what Dr. Jeff Graham has been doing behind the scenes and out front last week, having the distinction as an expert on state takeovers because he lived it personally.
The Canton City School District joined the Youngstown City School District Board of Education in their suit against the state in the Ohio Supreme Court. We are the only school district to do so.
My point is, the Canton City School District has been leading and out front among Ohio school districts on this from the beginning, yet your readers would not know that from reading the Repository, and I find that unfortunate. You fail my former editor's test.
Our community, our stakeholders and employees deserve to know what those who represent them are doing in their name.
I am tired of talking about this around the community and being asked what we're doing about it. Your readers -- our stakeholders -- should already know. That should be your mission.
No school district had as many representatives at the event Wednesday that we did, and we were all there by invitation, because of the leadership we have shown.
No other school district had a teacher speak, and Mr. Geraghty really does represent the future of teachers in the Canton City School District, and does not deserve to be ignored.
CPEA's leadership on this has raised the bar among unions that represent Ohio's teachers. That's worth our community's awareness.
Instead, you worked real hard to avoid mentioning their names or what they have done.
Finally, if this is emblematic of your continued grudge against me, shame on you.
That's all.
ERIC
------------
To which DeRosier responded:
Mr. Resnick:
Thank you for your letter and your compliment.
It is not the newspaper’s position to print or not print news based on perceived “grudges.”
If academic distress commissions are abolished, due credit will be given to those involved.
Until then, a news story on the work behind the scenes does nothing to make a difference in Columbus. That’s a role for the Editorial Board at this time.
All things in due time, Mr. Resnick.
Go enjoy the sunshine.
Long emails on a day as glorious as today are a misuse of God’s gift to us today.
Rich D

Note:  Readers can refresh themselves on the Resnick/Rinaldi "Knock-Down, Drag-Out" 2013 head to head CCS BOE race at this LINK.

To provide readers with "in-depth" background on the SCPR's assessment of Resnick as a political figure, elected and appointed public official, here is an encore rendition of a January 19, 2019 blog:

Now turning The Report's attention to Mister Resnick as the SCPR's latest addition to "The Bottom 10 List!

Congratulations, Eric.  Resnick is a former CCS BOE member having been elected in 2009 to fill the unexpired term of John Rinaldi (how ironic is that) who abruptly resigned earlier in the year.



Canton City Schools have had quite a lot of negative publicity over the past year and a good part of the negativity came from Resnick as he seems to the SCPR as having been the lead in opposition to the successful effort by school officials with BOE approval of the merger of Resnick's alma mater Timken High School with McKinley with the McKinley name surviving the consolidation.









If Superintendent Adrian Allison thinks having Resnick as an "outside-the-beltway" opponent was a bad trip; having him working his Machiavellian politics from the inside will likely the outright nightmare for the Super.

The SCPR is prone to be supportive of folks like Resnick because of their willingness "to shake the trees" of establishment political and government circles.

But yours truly finds it hard to abide him for his utter arrogance and vitrolic ways. Undoubtedly, does some good in a Devils' advocate role.  But in the end, The Report thinks he does more harm than good in an official capacity.

He seems to like to present himself as the paragon of righteousness in his functioning as a public official.  But The Report for one questions whether or not he adequately protected Canton Joint Recreation Board (CJRB) taxpayers during his stint on its board and in particular as the board's president.

The Report has done some blog work re:  Resnick when he was a member of the CJRD, the legitimacy of which was brought into question by some when he continued on in that capacity as an appointee of the Canton BOE even after he lost his place on the BOE, but is not done with that matter just yet.

It had to be a huge disappointment to the likes of John Rinaldi (current vice president of the Canton BOE) and the highly regarded Richard Milligan and perhaps relatively new member Will Grimsley (a fellow union member with Rinaldi) to see the results of election night November 3, 2015.



It has been tough enough for the Board in Resnick's absence from BOE officialdom over the past four years, for example (in part):
  • Convincing CCS constituents of the viability of implementing the system's Brighter Tomorrow program
  • The merger of Timken and McKinley High School (which Resnick opposed in his capacity as a citizen and alumni of Timken),
  • Financial uncertainty,
  • Substandard (as compared to other Stark County school districts) academic performance,
  • The controversy between the CCS treasurer and the Stark County Educational Service Center (of which yours truly is a member) over reimbursement to the SCESC of payments made by the Center to Alison's wife working at the CCS as a SCESC employee, and
  • The resignation of board president Ryan Brahler over some controversial remarks directed towards game officials he made at a McKinley girls basketball game,
November 5th was not tough to exiting board members from the standpoint of the election of Corey Minor Smith.  Optimism abounds that she will be a productive board member.

Resnick's narrow victory in light of his past board member performance had to be troubling going forward.

A mere 27 votes separated Canton having a totally productive board to one in which The Report thinks that there will be acrimony generated by mostly by highly emotional Resnick.



Two years ago, Rinaldi handily defeated Resnick in a knock-down, drag-out political fight (LINK) in which Resnick in the opinion of The Report placed himself in the political gutter.



What a reprieve for the Canton City Schools, no?

Resnick originally as indicated above was elected to the CCS BOE in 2009 but could not get his gathering petition signatures act together in order to qualify for a place on the ballot in 2011.



Resnick, who the SCPR thinks fancies himself as being smarter than everybody else in the room failed to get the required 150 signatures to qualify for the ballot in his quest to be re-elected in the November, 2011 general election.

He submitted 197 signatures, but 50 did not qualify as registered voters.

Amazing, truly amazing!  Of his submitted signatures, 26% of them didn't qualify as valid signatures.

A guy who once ran for the United States Congress.  Wow!

The SCPR can say for sure from direct experience that getting nearly all if not all of one's signatures to be signed by validly registered voters is a very, very, very simple and an on-the-spot (called "walking-lists") verifiable process.

And he thinks he is the smartest guy in the room?  Running for the Board of Education?

In any event, the CCS were spared having him on its board.

The only significant productive thing the SCPR thinks Resnick has done on the CCS BOE is to push for a sorely needed tax issue on the 2011 ballot.  And to his credit, he took the pro-levy stance in his campaign to be elected to the board in 2009.



It passed and was critical to CCS staying financially solvent.

Other than that, the SCPR sees Resnick as nothing but trouble and look for him to get ugly with any on the board as presently constituted who have the audacity to differ with him on a controversial matter.

Allison and his fellow board members have to be bracing themselves for what they suspect is about to come.

Some readers might think it is unfair to place Resnick on "The Bottom 10 List" on his having just begun his term.

But this guy in no novice to politics and government.

The Report thinks that enough is known about Resnick from how he has handled himself in the public arena (including his abbreviated two year plus on the board previously) that justifies his #10 ranking coming out of the gate.

Had he been successful in running for the board in 2011 and/or 2013, The Report thinks he would have made a place for himself higher up on the list when it first got rolling and before the November, 2015 election.

For The Stark County Political Report blog, having Resnick in an elected position in a Stark County Political Subdivision is a godsend.

Hopefully, for the sake of the well being of the CCS, he proves The Report wrong in having highly negative expectations for him as a board member going forward.

Regrettably, the SCPR thinks such is not going to be the case.

The person who makes #1 on the list in this periodic update ought to be looking over his/her shoulder because it could be that Eric Resnick will some how manage to challenge for being the SCPR's Stark County absolutely worst elected official sooner than one might think, no?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

IS IT LEGAL FOR A CANDIDATE TO RESCIND A WITHDRAWAL FROM AN ELECTION IN OHIO?

UPDATED:  09:20 AM

HAVE STARK GOP CHAIRMAN/EXECUTIVE DIR OF THE STARK BOE
JEFF MATTHEWS
IN CONJUNCTION WITH
REPUBLICAN OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE FRANK LaROSE'S OFFICE
CREATED NEW ELECTION LAW/POLICY?


First of all, let it be said that this blog is not about the candidate.

Nancy Halter has been and continues to be a superlative public service asset to the city of Massillon.  She has been listed by The Stark County Political Report as one of the top officials in Stark County political subdivision government in terms of performance.

It appears that she will be selected on Monday by the Massillon members of the Stark County Republican Party Central Committee to replace recently deceased Milan Chovan as a Massillon councilperson-at-large through December 31, 2019  And that is A GOOD THING for Massillon.  Nobody in Massillon has the credentials that Halter does in having renedered public service to the city of Massillon.


However, it is about the manner in which Stark County Board of Elections executive director Jeff Matthews (chairman of the Stark County Republican Party)  has dealt with, in conjunction with the legal counsel for Republican Ohio secretary of state Frank LaRose, regarding the resignation/rescission of resignation letters of former Councilwoman Halter in reference to her off/on again Massillon council-at-large candidacy for the November 5, 2019 election.

Readers of the SCPR know that it is immaterial whether or this blogger personally likes or dislikes a Stark  County political subdivision (county, city, township and boards of education, etc), officials in analyzing the processes of government and scrutinizing whether or not a subject official(s) is/are in compliance with the rule of law.

This blogger does not believe that Matthews and derivatively (as "the buck stops here" accountable officials, the BOE board members) are in compliance with Ohio law.

And if the SCPR's belief is unmerited, hopefully, Matthews, the secretary of state's office or (if accessed by the BOE, the Stark County prosecutor's office will come up with credible legal bases upon which Halter should be allowed on the November, 2019 ballot.

To repeat, on a qualitative basis, Halter is exactly the personification of a person who should be on the ballot among the choices that voters have in deciding who their elected officials will be.

On May 31th (received at the BOE on June 3rd), Nancy penned a letter to the Stark County Board of elections, to wit:



Her withdrawal left Massillon Republicans with two candidates for "council-at-large" positions in Massillon city government.

Tragically and at a great loss to the Massillon community,  incumbent Republican councilman Milan Chovan passed away on June 24th.

The Chovan passing left Massillon with only one Republican councilperson-at-large candidacy; namely, incumbent Ed Lewis, IV.

It appears that Massillon/Stark County Republicans were caught flat-footed by Chovan's untimely death in the political sense of untimely.

Had Milan survived until November 5th (the date of this year's general election) and been re-elected; the Massillon Republican Party Central Committee (MRP) would by Ohio law appoint a successor to serve out his term.

But unfortunately he did not and consequently the MRP was only going to have only one candidate on the November 5th ballot which, of course, made it highly likely that Democrats were going to control council and, Massillon Regular Republicans, were going to be one, maybe, two or at the very most three in number come the 2020/2021 term of Massillon City Council.

Republican mayoral candidate James Haavisto has been pretty much read out of the Stark County/Massillon Republican party and he has encouraged maverick Republicans and independents loyal to him to run for council.

What to do?  Likely was the question racing through the mind of Chairman Matthews?

At least one Haavisto Republican (Mark Lombardi, Ward 1, unopposed) and, perhaps, two (Michael Snee - Ward 6) will serve on the 2020/2021 cycle of Massillon City Council.  There is also an "independent" running in Ward 2 (a seat currently held by Democrat David Irwin).

Regular Massillon Republicans had high hopes for Jim Thieret but the independent (Jack Moore, said to be put up to running by Haavisto) makes it likely that Democrat Irwin will win a second term.

That leaves only Regular Republican Mike Gregg (incumbent and unopposed, Ward 4) and fellow Regular Republican incumbent councilman-at-large Ed Lewis, IV as possible returning to council councilpersons.

Again, probably from Stark GOP chairman Jeff Matthews' perspective:  "What to do?"

It appears that his answer was to convince former distinguished councilperson (twice a councilperson) Nancy Halter to reconsider her withdrawal.

On June 26th, just two days after Milan Chovan's death, Halter filed this letter with the Stark County Board of Elections.




Some Massillonians, especially the three Democrats running for council, might be saying:  "WAIT A MINUTE!"

How can a person withdraw and then rescind the withdrawal?

It appears that Matthews and/or Republican BOE administrator Travis Secrest, once they received the Halter rescission, contacted Republican Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose's office with the question:  Will this fly?

Answer from Travis:  

July 8, 2019  2:20 p.m.

Martin,

We referred this question to the Secretary of State’s legal counsel and below is the response we received.

“Presuming the Board has not taken action in response to the withdrawal letter, we are not aware of any law or policy of the SOS that would prohibit the candidate from rescinding the request to withdraw.”

Travis

In order to get the foregoing response, this blogger had to press the matter beyond the first responsive Secrest e-mail as included hereinabove.

Here is the original SCPR e-mail to Secrest:

Sent: Monday, July 08, 2019 8:21 AM
To: Travis E. Secrest <tesecrest@starkcountyohio.gov>
Subject: Halter withdrawal/reinstatement

Travis,

As you obviously know Nancy Halter withdrew her candidacy for council-person-at-large for the Massillon City Council sometime between the 2019 primary election date and June 7th.

Now the BOE website is showing that she has been reinstated.

Please explain to the SCPR/Twitter a basis in Ohio law upon which this change was permitted?

Thank you,
Martin Olson

SCPR/Twitter

The first SCPR follow up:

From: Martin Olson [mailto:tramols@att.net] 
Sent: Monday, July 08, 2019 2:53 PM
To: Travis E. Secrest <tesecrest@starkcountyohio.gov>
Subject: Re: Halter withdrawal/reinstatement


When did the BOE receive Halter's letter of withdrawal (please send me an electronic copy).  When did she rescind the withdrawal (please send me an electronic copy)? What is the usual timetable for the BOE to act on candidacy withdrawals?  Where there in BOE meetings between the withdrawal letter and the rescission letter?  If so, what were the dates of those meetings?

To which responded by sending two attachments which were copies of Halter's resignation and subsequent attempt to rescind.

Travis E. Secrest <tesecrest@starkcountyohio.gov>
To:  Martin Olson

Jul 8 at 3:01 PM

Attached are the documents you requested. The time stamp on the first letter is hard to read in the scan, it is 6/3/19.


Travis

To which, the SCPR responded thusly:

Martin Olson <tramols@att.net>
To:  Travis E. Secrest

Jul 8 at 3:52 PM

Am I going to get answers to my questions?

Secrest's response:

Travis E. Secrest <tesecrest@starkcountyohio.gov>
To: Martin Olson

Jul 8 at 3:56 PM

I believe you are asking if there were any board meetings between the dates of these letters.


There were none.

The SCPR's follow up:

Martin Olson <tramols@att.net>
To: Travis E. Secrest

Jul 8 at 4:10 PM

Another question you have not answered.

 "What is the usual timetable for the BOE to act on candidacy withdrawals? "  


An additional question:   Why would the BOE publish in its November list of candidates on about June 7th that Halter had withdrawn if the BOE "presumably" (the word used by the OH SOS legal counsel) the BOE had not acted on the request to withdraw?

As of the publication of this blog, no response to the 4:10 p.m. SCPR follow-up.

And, likely, there will not be.

For it appears to the SCPR that Director Matthews does not want to be forthcoming about how he has dealt with the Halter matter.

It is obvious to this blogger that it is going to be like "pulling teeth" to get at the "heart of the matter" as to what Matthews and or Secrest were doing to deal with the Halter try to rescind her withdrawal.

To cover all bases, the SCPR has sent this e-mail to the Ohio secretary of state office:



Three days later, NO RESPONSE!


The SCPR is beginning to think there might be a public official Matthews/Secrest"cover-up" in process and to make matters worse on a government ethics plane, Matthews might not be rightly dividing his job as Stark County Republican Party chairman and that of being executive director of the Stark County Board of Elections.

Frank LaRose and his legal counsel at the Ohio secretary of state office ought to be doing a thoroughgoing review of the exchanges between his office and Matthews/Secrest and provide a "real" legal analysis to the Stark County/Massillon public!

Though this blogger would like to see Halter on the November ballot and trust that Massillonians would be wise enough to elect her, the SCPR is skeptical of the SOS legal counsel's response is in accord with Ohio election law, to wit:

Take a look at Ohio Revised Code Section 3513.30:

3513.30 Death or withdrawal of candidate before a primary election.

(D) Any person nominated in a primary election or by nominating petition as a candidate for election at the next general election may withdraw as such candidate at any time prior to the general election. Such withdrawal may be effected by the filing of a written statement by such candidate announcing the candidate's withdrawal and requesting that the candidate's name not be printed on the ballots.  ... .

Focus on the statutory language  "[s]uch withdrawal may be EFFECTED (emphasis added) by the filing of a written statement by such candidate [Halter, in this case] ANNOUNCING (emphasis added) the candidate's withdrawal ... ."

Now take a look at the SOS legal counsel's words:  "[p]resuming the Board has NOT (emphasis added) taken action in response to the withdrawal letter ... ."

In this journalist's take of ORC Section 3513.30(D) there is NO PROVISION FOR THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS TO TAKE RESPONSIVE ACTION!

The submission of the May 31st Halter letter seems to this writer to be "self-executing" under the language of 3513.30(D) and that anyone submitting such a letter to an Ohio Board of Elections should be very, very, very sure that withdrawal is what she/he wants to do.  

The SCPR does not believe (reference SOS:  "presuming the Board has not taken any action ... ") is a bona fide legal analysis but one designed to help the Stark County Republican Party to salvage the candidacy of Republican Nancy Halter in the November 5, 2019 general election.

To say it again, the problem is not Nancy Halter and her superlative qualities as a candidate; it appears to the SCPR to be, perhaps, the political zeal of GOP chair/BOE executive director Jeff Matthews, perhaps, unchecked by the Ohio secretary of state's office.

Undoubtedly, being the quality "the rules are the rules" person she is;  had Matthews/Secrest/the Ohio secretary of state office (through Matthews and Secrest) not accepted the rescission, he would have been good with that.

And, it could be that there is a much stronger legal position than:

“Presuming the Board has not taken action in response to the withdrawal letter, we are not aware of any law or policy of the SOS that would prohibit the candidate from rescinding the request to withdraw.”

In additional e-mail exchanges with Secret, it appears that THERE IS NO FORMAL "NOT HAVING TAKEN ACTION" being implemented at the Stark County BOE and, likely, not anywhere else in Ohio in that there seems to be no authorizing legislation for the creation of such a process.

In light of the flimsiness (i.e. "presuming") the legal advice Matthews in apparently relying on,  the secretary of state's office needs to take up the SCPR's request for a thoroughgoing legal analysis.

Take a look at this e-mail from legal counsel for the Ohio SOS on two questions presented by Director Matthews (through Secrest) on the Massillon situation:  

(NOTE:  As is to be seen in the e-mail below, Secrest contacted the SOS office via telephone on June 26th, the date Halter wrote her attempt to rescind letter.  The SCPR does not believe that Halter had anything to do with what appears to The Report to be "political maneuvering" at the direction of Matthews.  Rather, this blogger thinks she was doing what any citizen should do and that is relying on election law experts to provide her with a "solid" legal footing upon which to seek to rescind her withdrawal.  The SCPR thinks that Matthews and the SOS did not deliver.)




Had the SOS's Hobday ruminated on ORC 3513.30(D), then one could take his opinion more seriously.

If the secretary revisits and/or the Stark County prosecutor provides a plausible legal justification for the BOE's acceptance of the Halter attempted rescission, of course, this blogger is willing "to eat crow."

The SCPR did ask Secrest whether or not the Stark BOE had engaged the Stark prosecutor's office.

So far:  NO RESPONSE!

As it stands, the response should be recognized for what it seems to be.  A feeble legal-esque response.  No analysis of ORC 3513.30(D).  Are you kidding me?!?!!!

Matthews in his public official position as executive director of the Stark County Board of Elections needs to be totally transparent on what contacts were made to the secretary of state office and the "total" substance thereof on this matter.

And if he will not provide it, then the secretary of state's office needs to.

This blog is about public office holder accountability and transparency in ensuring that candidacies are scrutinized on the basis of a thorough vetting of the law of Ohio.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

"A FIELD OF DREAMS?" STARK COMMISSIONERS' HUMAN RESOURCES.


STARK COMMISSIONERS' HAVE HAD A HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT FOR ABOUT FIVE YEARS
BUT THE SCPR THINKS IT IS "HUGELY UNDERUTILIZED!"

A SCPR VIDEO INTERVIEW
MICHAEL KIMBLE
DIRECTOR OF STARK CO COMMISSIONERS' HR DEPT

Thursday, May 23, 2019

AN AMAZING VIDEO: STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS DEAL WITH SCPR HUMAN RESOURCE DEPARTMENT QUESTIONS


COMMISSIONER JANET WEIR CREIGHTON, IN PARTICULAR, 
DEALS SOMEWHAT CHAPTER AND VERSE ON SOME HISTORICAL FACTORS 
RE:  CERTAIN COUNTY GOV'T HIRING PRACTICES

SOME OF THE STARK GOV'T OFFICIALS DISCUSSED:

Current Stark Co  clerk of courts Louis Giavasis

Former Stark County auditor Kim Perez 

Former Stark County treasurer Gary Zeigler

Former Boards of Stark County Commissioners



A persuasive case has been made that the creation of the commissioners' HR department in not an increase. Also, the current annual cost of the commissioners is not $425,000 as cited in the video but rather about $360,000.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

BREAKING NEWS: SCPR JUST LEARNED THAT HOF FOLKS HAVE NOT PAID MINORITY CONTRACTOR ABOUT $40,000!



See tweet on Twitter at this LINK which contains a link to a September 1, 2018 blog on the matter.

This blogger happened upon a Stark County official late this afternoon who shared that the official had a conversation with a person absolutely in a position to know that minority-owned Quality Care Construction was still owed money for work done on the new parking lot completed in time for the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement activities. 

The SCPR has confirmed this information with the owner of Quality Care.

He says about $40,000 is owed his company.

He was not willing to say that he definitely knew his company was going to get paid-in-full.


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.