Saturday, December 19, 2009


Apparently, Prosecutor John Ferrero has his supporters and his detractors among Stark County's police chiefs.

As reported by the SCPR in October, Ferrero got "very" angry and stomped out of the "Amish Door Restaurant" (inadvertenly, not paying his check) when there was some dissent among the chiefs as to whether or not their association was going to support the Stark County commissioner "imposed" sales/use tax that was up on referendum in the November-just passed election.

The chiefs decided not to take a position.

Why was Ferrero so angry?

For two reasons:

First, a whopping 70% of the general fund side of the revenues to be raised by the 0.50 of a percent tax was to go to law enforcement.

Second, Ferrero's campaign committee had made a sizeable contribution ($750) to the "Vote Yes to Retain the Tax" forces.

If the tax issue was to go down, Ferrero would be a double loser:  he might have to make cuts in staff at the prosecutor's office and he's out $750 to spend on his next election to remain Stark County's prosecutor.

Yours truly has learned that the normal agenda for the Stark County Police Chiefs Association's November meeting was scrapped so that the chiefs could scold SCPR sources for letting the Ferrero temper tantrum get out into the public.

There appears to be a definite division of opinion among Stark County law enforcement types as to whether or not John Ferrero is an effective prosecutor.  All think well of "most" of Ferrero's staff (with, perhaps, chief criminal prosecutor Dennis Barr being the exception in the assessment of some).

Moreover, many Stark County police officials have very little confidence in the administration of  justice capabilities of Sheriff Tim "poop on them [the general Stark County public] Swanson.  The Report has written frequently about the disaffections which center on Swanson and chief deputies Rick Perez and Mike McDonald.

The SCPR has never been much of a fan of John Ferrero.


Because The Report believes he has been too deeply tied to partisan politics to inspire public confidence in his ability to (in the police, prosecutor and court triad)  impartially administer justice from his aspect of the triad.

He is a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman who got his initial appointment when now deceased prosecutor Bob Horowitz decided to run (and ran successfully) for the vacant Stark County Probate Court judgeship on the untimely passing of Judge Reuben Z. Wise.

The SCPR believes that Ferrero's political connections and past may have been present in the indictment that was brought against Marlboro Township police chief Ron Devies.  Ferrero's out is this:  that the "grand jury" indicted Devies and his son on 5th degree felonies and that he (Ferrero) did not authorize the prosecutions in his prosecutorial discretion.  However, even the general public understands the adage that "any prosecutor could have a grand jury indict a ham sandwich."

Because of the potential political dynamics lurking in the background of the Devies matter, it would have been far better for Ferrero to have brought in a prosecutor from outside Stark County to deal with it.  Someone who was not acquainted with any of the principals. 

The Report is not buying Prosecutor Ferrero's implication by his "grand jury" approach; nor should Stark Countians, that he was not a deciding factor in the decision to prosecute the Devies family members.

The voting public should have long memories and toss Ferrero from office when he comes up for re-election in 2012.  The SCPR lamented that the anemic Stark County Republican Party could not find a candidate to run against Ferrero in 2008, well before the Devies matter surfaced in January, 2009.

So, the SCPR has had misgivings about Ferrero as prosecutor for some years now.

The Devies matter was, in the opinion of The Report, an administration of justice disaster waiting to happen.

From the get-go the prosecutor's office was handing out advice to the Marlboro trustee who brought, what the SCPR thinks was nothing more than an internal to the Marlboro Township office communications problem, to Ferrero.   The miscommunication should have been quickly identified as such by Ferrero's office and Swanson's department.

Or better yet, as pointed out above, brought someone in from outside Stark County to evaluate.

But it wasn't and he didn't and the Devies family (and there but for the "grace of God" we could all end up), got put through the police/prosecutorial wringer.

Just think of the time and expense involved in this matter from both sides.

Unbelieveable to the SCPR!

The SCPR predicted from the very beginning that the Devies prosecution was going nowhere.  And what happened, Judge Lee Sinclair did dispense justice and directed out the prosecution's case (prosecuted by chief prosecutor Dennis Barr - highly unusual for a 5th degree felony).

Ferrero must have realized the "dead-ender" this case was as it progressed towards trial.  He was trying to get the Devies father and son to plead to misdemeanors.

This was nothing but a face-savings, unmitigated gall maneuver by Ferreo et al.

There was never any chance that the Devies would accept the offer.

Neither Ferrero nor Barr apologized to the Devies family nor to the general Stark County public what the SCPR believes was a gross miscarriage of justice.

Accordingly, the SCPR will not allow the Stark County public to forget John Ferrero's egregious failure in his public duties.  Such is obviously what Ferrero is banking on come the election of 2012. 

The only question is:  Will the Stark County Republican Party under deficient chairman Jeff Matthews give Ferrero another pass?

Ferrero may think that all he has to do is throw a fit and everyone will scatter n fright.  But not yours truly, Mr. Prosecutor. 

The Report was talking with former Stark County commissioner Tom Harmon during a break in the commissioners' meeting and the topic of the race for prosecutor when the highly respected Jim Unger moved on to become a Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge in the early 1980s.

The conversation centered on the attorney-community and public perception that both Horowitz and Kettler were highly qualified and either would make an outstanding Stark County prosecutor.

Horowitz won a very tight race and, did, indeed go on to be a very high caliber prosecutor.

Kettler went on to become a distinguished jurist (Massilon Municipal Court); only retiring very recently.

In the opinion of the SCPR John Ferrero (who, ironically, is from Massiilon) would do well to emulate either Horowitz or Kettler.

One other point.

The Stark County judges have apparently decided to make Ferrero the front guy on trying to bring diverse Stark County political factors together on the best way (in terms of what the public will support) to get additional revenues for the Stark County general fund.  The SCPR agrees with the judges that if a way is not found, then Stark County will be in desperate financial straits come 2011.

But The Report respectfully disagrees with the judges that Ferrero is the correct person for the job.

A better choice would be Canton law director Joe Martuccio.  He does have the public's confidence.  He is level-headed.

The SCPR believes he would be much more effective than John Ferrero!

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