Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Now that her successor has been elected and less that two months remain in her term, the question becomes: what will be the "Jane Vignos legacy as a county official?"

After Rick Campbell was elected Stark County recorder, Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. went to great pains to slam Jane Vignos (Campbell's predecessor in office) whenever he was called upon to introduce Campbell at a political event?

The slam?

As recorder, Vignos (if you believe Maier) nearly caused the destruction of recorded historical documents that bore the signature of the likes of Thomas Jefferson.

Who to the rescue? Need it be said? Of course, Rick Campbell.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has always been skeptical of Maier's assertion. Weren't these blasts just a matter of Maier's hamming it up to the Democratic base precisely in order to fire up the troops?

What The Report focuses on today is information to the effect that Jane Vignos is working against the combining of the Stark County Engineer/Sanitary Engineer even though Sanitary Engineer Armogida is apparently on board with the idea.

If true, this would not be a positive note on which Vignos ends her public office career.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has learned that Vignos opposes the merger of the County/Sanitary engineers because it will create a large base from which Stark County Engineer Mike Rehfus can raise mega bucks in political fundraising.

Such is a strange argument. First, Mike Rehfus does not need the money because he seems to always run unopposed (something The Report is not particularly fond of even though it appear Rehfus is a first-rate county official). In fact, he was just re-elected over, guess who? Unopposed. Second, Mike Rehfus has never been a big hitter in the Stark County Democratic Party. Probably because he has as many Repubiicans on his staff as Democrats. Refus tells The Report is only intested in hiring the best and does not screen perspective employees for their politics.

Also, some in the Stark County Democratic Party think that Rehfus and former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Roy Guitierrez and formerly a Rehfus employee as legal counsel worked together to put a candidate (who eventually switched to run opposite Mike Stevens) against former commissioner Gayle Jackson in the Democratic primary the last time Jackson ran.

Over the years The Report has been involved in Stark County politics, Vignos has been widely viewed (a view bought by The Report initially) as a high partisan whose strong suit was not policy making nor making Stark County more fiscally responsible but keeping the faith with Stark County Republican politics.

The Report's view begin the change on her with Vignos fanning out over the Stark County political entities advocating for a centralized 9-1-1. A little disturbing factor on the 9-1-1 matter though - as a sidenote - Vignos has been quiet on this matter lately. Is she changing her position on this issue?

Also impressive was her strong stance in support fellow Commissioner Todd Bosley's resolution opposing AEP's 52%/62% (residential/industrial) electric rate increase request.

This is just to highlight a couple of a number of noteworthy positions that Vignos has taken recently that The Report thinks speak for Stark County's well-being.

So The Report implores Commissioner Vignos: Say, this (fighting the combining) is not true. Why would the commissioner want to leave office tarnished by making this silly fight?

Refus says a msjor benefit of a merger (other than the obvious administrative savings) will be his ability to bring at least a million or two in grants (after the merger) to what used to be the Stark County Sanitary Engineer. This is new money which has not historically been and would be clearly beneficial to Stark Countians.

The Report has learned that a study is in progress and should be complete by the end of November. Refus believes that whether or not Vignos chooses to support the merger, it will become a reality; perhaps, by the end of 2008.

The question: If Vignos does, as The Report's source suggests, fight the combining of the Stark County Engineer/Sanitary Engineer, won't she be spoiling her legacy?

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