Friday, February 25, 2011


A reader of the SCPR has e-mailed The Report with the claim that the Stark County Clerk of Courts has receivables of about $12 million.

Yours truly is highly skeptical of the reader's claim, but as The Report does, the obvious question was asked of Clerk Nancy Reinbold.

The response?  Dancing around the the direct question.

So after she appeared before the Stark County commissioners this past Tuesday to report on the activities of a Citizens Review Committee task force as its chairman, The Report revisited the topic with Clerk Reinbold.

The response?  Nobody really knows what the receivables are.


As readers of The Report know, yours truly is highly skeptical of the meaningfulness of the Citizens Review Committee (CRC) formed last year and staffed by some of Stark County's most powerful people from the private sector.

The SCPR does think the examination as far as it went is a good thing to be done.  It will produce more efficiency in Stark County government at "the nickel and dime level."  But tackling the "really" big deficiencies of Stark County government?  That it will not do and is not designed to do.

A good example of the limitations of the CRC is evident in its examination of the Stark County clerk of courts office, to wit:

The CRC noted a "failure to collect," but failed to recommend that the Clerk establish a definition of the amount of money owed Stark County taxpayers.

Reinbold told the SCPR that it she simply does not have the personnel to comb through all of the court's records (going back years) to determine how much taxpayers are owed.

The Report believes her.  However, there are alternatives.  How about asking civic organizations to provide volunteers to go through the records and gather data and compile it so that Stark Countians do know what we are owed?

Yours truly asked Reinbold why she could not set up a system beginning today (i.e. developing data from this day forward) to keep track of bills sent out, but which remain uncollected upon?  She should set a standard as to when a billing becomes "past due."

Answer:  she would need at least two computer programmers to develop a program to process such data.

How about the $10 per case technology fund assessed in each new case file?  Answer:  it's not enough.  She does say that there is some movement in the Ohio General Assembly to increase the fee to $20.

Well, why don't county officials put pressure on the likes of area legislators Slesnick, Schuring, Oelslager and Snitchler to get the increase done?

Moreover, why doesn't someone in Stark County government get creative in finding an effective way to collect the money we taxpayers are owed?

Idea?  Have a designated Stark County prosecutor (civil division) to do nothing but pursue the non-payers and give the prosecutor's office a percentage of the collections to pay for the dedicated position plus provide an amount over the position cost for the general operational cost of the prosecutor's office?

Cost cutting is all well and good.  But to make money, sometimes requires spending money.  Providing an incentive mechanism to collect what is owed Stark's taxpayers is something that county officials need to pursue.

But will they?

Probably not.  They seem so focused as does the CRC on saving nickles and dimes that the "elephant in the room" is being missed.

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