Thursday, November 27, 2008


Stark County has had a number of local political figures step forward with a positive contribution to the well-being of our county in 2008.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) recognizes the following for their contributions to better government and/or making current officeholders more accountable.

TODD BOSLEY stands at the top of the list. Bosley is completing his second year as commissioner and is already demonstrating that he is a breath of fresh air in providing energized leadership that the county has not experienced in some time.

Highlights during Bosley's first two years include his work to make 9-1-1 more effective and efficient. Also, he has been effective for the commissioners to avoid a showdown with the Stark County Veterans Commission over funding, spearheading economic development efforts for the county (e.g. working to get Fiat to take a look at Stark County) including his role in getting $5 million for North Canton so that "the dogwood city" can regain its economic legs after loosing the Hoover operation. Bosley led the move by the commissioners to protest the excessive rate increase asked by AEP of the Public Utilities of Ohio on Stark County residents, commercial enterprises and industries.

MIKE REHFUS (Stark County Engineer) showed courageous leadership in pushing for an increased license plate fee so that the county can construct new roads and rehabilitate roads and bridges greatly in need of repairs. He convinced Commissioners Bosley and Vignos to support imposition of the fee over Commissioner Gayle Jackson's objection. Rehfus is the quintessential county official for streamlining operations and thereby doing more with less in terms of personnel. Lastly, he is working hard with Commissioners Bosley and Harmon to effectuate a merger between the engineer's operations with that of the Stark County Sanitary Engineer which will prove to be highly beneficial for Stark County taxpayers who will enjoy more performance for less money because of the merger.

LARRY DORDEA took on a popular sheriff in the recent election and raised an number of issues that Sheriff Swanson will have to pay attention to and consider reforms in line with Dordea-advanced proposals. Dordea's suggestion of ways to use deputization program to provide more law enforcement coverage in Stark County is particularly compelling as a low cost way to overcome so staffing deficiencies at the sheriff's department. Sheriff Swanson would also be wise to make more effective use of forfeiture as a way to gain assets used in criminal activity as additional resources to curtail that activity.

FRANCIS CICCHINELLI who as mayor of Massillon has done the best job of all the mayors of Stark County in providing municipal leadership. In an economy that is bad all over Stark County, the mayor has worked hard and effectively to keep Massillon head and shoulders above other Stark County cities in bringing in new business and industry and maintaining much of Massillon's economic base in an environment in which doing so is very difficult indeed.

TRAVIS SECREST never really had a chance to unseat sitting Commissioner Tom Harmon because, deservedly or underservedly, Harmon is somewhat of a political icon in Stark County. But Secrest did put the heat on Harmon to be a more active and accountable commissioner. The Report, for one, has recorded Secrest's ideas for bettering Stark County and will be holding them up before Harmon as food for thought and action.

JANE VIGNOS. Though she is retiring at year's end, 2008 is Vignos's best year as commissioner. Her work pushing a centralized 9-1-1 is probably her most important contribution to the future well-being of Stark. Her support of the Bosley initiative on the license plate fee increase was courageous and important for the enhancement and repair of Stark County's infrastructure.

JOHN BOOCIERI is a Obama-esque "hope for change" figure. Middle income and working class folks will be looking to Boccieri to deliver attention to their needs and futures. It has been since 1948 that Stark County has had a congressman who has everyday people at the forefront of his concerns.

DARYL REVOLDT offers leadership that just might rescue North Canton from the economic doldrums after the collapse of Hoover operations. No one in North Canton is better prepared to provide the leadership that the city needs if it is to rebound from the economic devastation wrought by the Hoover plant demise. Revoldt, a council member (past and present - now as president of council), a member of Governor Taft's economic development team and a former North Canton mayor, has all the credentials to lead North Canton out of its economic morass. His most significant contribution in this regard is the leading of a series of townhall meetings to solicit, listen to and consider asking council to implement the ideas of North Canton citizens.

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