Monday, January 24, 2011


As steady readers of the Stark County Political Report know, yours truly goes "where angels fear to tread."

While all Stark Countians should appreciate the efforts of the Stark County Review Committee (Committee), its work and report could have been so much more than it turned out to be in terms of being one of a number of bases on which Stark Countians could begin to think about having more confidence in Stark County government.

One such basis is that the Stark County Board of Commissioners appear, with the addition of Commissioners Bernbei and Creighton, to be more transparent and accountable oriented than recent boards which included the likes of Tom Harmon, Steve Meeks, Todd Bosley and Jane Vignos.

Another basis, is the work that the Stark County Democratic Party (Koher - for Stark treasurer) and the Stark GOP (Zumbar - for Stark treasurer) demonstrated they can do in coming up with quality candidates for the Stark County office.  Both Koher and Zumbar were amply qualified in terms of credentials and leadership qualities to be nominated.  If the parties were to pay more attention to the qualification of their respective candidates for Stark County department of government heads, then this incipient basis could mature into something more substantial.

The Report's take on the Committee's work and report is that it was not thorough enough, did not include enough "everyday" Stark County citizens in its make-up and had very little, if any, vision in its prescriptions for what ails Stark County government.

How Stark Countians can take this well-intended work and report as a marker against which to measure future performance of Stark's departments of government is beyond The Report.

There was far too much Committee commiseration with Stark's department heads on their resource shortages (i.e. tax dollars to work with), and there too many "pats on the back" for department heads who finally, when the looming county financial crisis became more than speculation, instituted measures that should have been done a long time ago.  Moreover, it is apparent to The Report that there was a lot of superficiality in the Committee's report.

The Report believes that the team leaders (Perry [Pro Football Hall of Fame], Schervish [Stark Management Inc.], Manse [Brunner-Cox LLP], Provo [former Hoover Company executive] and Roth [Aultman CEO]) failed to shepherd a incisive (i.e. turn over every rock) look at the operations of Stark's government.  Accordingly, The Report believes that the report is a perfunctory examination that picks the low hanging fruit and is therefore is not deserving of much clout with Stark County taxpayers and, moreover, does not qualify as a basis for Stark Countians to think that Stark County government "is getting it" and that a bright new day in county government administration is about to break out.

Obviously, these men mean well, and have demonstrated in the private sector that they can do the hard analysis to successfully run private enterprises.  But, for whatever reason, they have been unable to deliver for Stark Countians in their review of Stark's departments of government.

In future blogs, yours truly will do a more specific analysis of the Committee's report.

Here is the take of each of Stark's county commissioners on the Committee's report which is obviously more cheerful than The Report's:

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