Saturday, December 11, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, residents from Nimishillen Township appeared at a Stark County commissioners meeting to complain about noise emanating from a bar as a relevant factor on whether or not commissioners should vacate a street that intersected the bar property.

In the course of the dialog between the commissioners and the residents, it came out that the commissioners were told by the residents that Stark County Chief Deputy Rick Perez told them that the sheriff's department would not be responding to future noise complaints.

Why not?

Because of 16% in budgetary cuts which is forcing Sheriff Swanson to cut 41 deputies.  The cuts have already begun with 26 layoffs notices being published this week.

Stark Countians can expect a dramatic cut in the quality and quantity of services coming from Swanson's department.

Just what kind of cuts?

Well, the SCPR obtained a copy of a letter generated by Swanson through his right hand man Rick Perez on December 8th which contains indicators of what Stark Countians can expect.

The core of the letter is to the effect that fire officials who show up on the scene of a fire/medical emergency and come upon a fatality are to make an on-the-spot determination as to how the person died.  If from natural causes, no call to the sheriff.  If from other causes, a call needs to be made to the sheriff.

So, for example, it appears that the fire department chief of let's say from Greentown, (inasmuch as Greentown serves entirely within the police jurisdiction of the Stark County Sheriff's department) will have the Swanson-assigned responsibility to determine if a "victim" dead person was truly a victim or suffered a natural calamity merely on looking at the body.

Swanson's directive does not apply to areas in Stark County which has policing units other than the sheriff's office within fire jurisdictions (and, presumably, in areas [e.g. Plain Township] in which Sheriff Swanson's office has supplemental policing contracts with).

While the Stark County Political Report understands the budgetary pressures that Swanson is under, the "do not report natural cause deaths" directive is downright silly and has all the earmarks of being some sort of an outlandish publicity gambit about it.

What fire chief in Stark County is going to take Swanson's letter seriously?

Answer:  none!

What fire chief would want to risk being wrong?  One mistake and the offending fire chief likely would be an ex-fire-chief in a hurry!!!

So this is another instance in which Sheriff Swanson needs to grow up as an elected official and get real in his prescriptions for what ails the finances of county government and forget the absurd, vindictive-esque stuff that he allows to be put out in his name.

Will he?

Not likely, so says the SCPR.

Remember, back when commissioners imposed tax (late December, 2008) and Swanson appearing at a meeting with an attitude (that's healthy; a sheriff with an attitude) articulating his "poop on the public" response to citizen protests to his double-dipping on pension benefits?

The Stark County Political Report does not believe that Swanson and his temperament is the right person to manage the downsizing of county operations.

Though he has the right to remain through December 31, 2011 as he fills out his term as an elected official, wouldn't it be better for him (in the sense of stress relief) and for Stark Countians that he resign, and for Stark County Democratic officials to pursue the appointment of a Ken Koher-esque (re:  Stark County treasury) as his replacement?

The SCPR has had numerous reports that Swanson will not be filling out his term.

Let's hope that these persistent reports proves true in the near future and Swanson does the right thing for himself and for Stark Contians and steps aside as the tough decision making gets underway.

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