Thursday, October 21, 2010


In August, the SCPR wrote about Alan Harold's (Harold is the Republican candidate for county auditor) charge that a State of Ohio Auditor (SOA) report showed the Stark County Auditor's office (run by Harold's Democratic opponent and incumbent officeholder Kim Perez) to be highly inefficient. 

Yesterday, the SCPR sat down with Perez and discussed Harold's charges with Perez.

Perez's defense is two-fold.

First, he says that the "peer group" developed by the SOA is not an apples-to-apples comparison.  A main substantiation of Perez's point is that whereas his peers farm out their appraisal function, Stark County does its six and three year appraisals (and ongoing adjustments) in-house thereby keeping the jobs in Stark County at a lesser cost to taxpayers.  Moreover, he says that Stark has a map department, a Bureau of Motor Vehicle operation and a geographic information system (GIS) to run as extra over and beyond what the peer group does.

Second, he says that his peers serve much larger populations and, therefore, by virtue of "economies of scale;" they would have more efficiency.

Watch (from last night's League of Women Voters [LWV] debate) Perez and Harold discuss the efficiencies of auditor office operations.

Somehow the SCPR does not believe that this campaign is being conducted on a rational plane. 

It seems to The Report that it is more about Perez emotionally defending his performance in the light of the recently revealed problems in the Stark treasury.

Moreover, from the Harold perspective it appears to be about his implementing a primary political strategy to tap into the Stark County public's disgust with the goings on in the Stark treasurer's office. Readers will recall that former Chief Deputy Vince Frustaci (according to federal Judge John Adams) made off with $2.96 million of Stark County taxpayer money and some blame Perez for failing to follow through on two occasions that his office spotted "balancing accounts" problems with treasury and failed to push hard enough to get an earlier detection of Frustaci's theft.

Here is Perez's opening statement at the LWV debate at Timken High School last night which provides Perez's overall take of his office's operations under his administration.

Interestingly, at the end of the video he uses former auditor Janet Creighton to exonerate him and his office from any responsibility for the failure to ferret out Frustaci.

Harold, in his opening statement,  focuses on changes he will make if elected auditor and deferring to later in the debate to address his perceived failure of Auditor Perez's stewardship of the auditor's office.

A question was presented by Moderator Dick Kuhn of the LWV, to wit:  "Given what happened in the treasurer's office, what policies or standards that could be implemented weren't, and what policies or statutes would you like to come in the future to prevent what happened?"

What follows is a video of the Harold/Perez responses.

With the election less than two weeks away, Stark Countians will be making a choice between a fresh face candidate and one who has pretty much spent most of his adult life as a public official.

Which way will county voters choose?

It is hard to say.  Perez is, in the opinion of the SCPR, the Democrats' most successful voter getter over the years.

If he does lose, then remaining Democratic countywide office holders had better brace themselves for more of the same come 2012!

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