Tuesday, July 12, 2011


The Stark County Political Report has learned through a tip from a SCPR reader today that former Stark County Commissioner and former Canton Municipal Court Clerk of Court Tom Harmon was arrested by Canton Police at about 9:00 p.m. yesterday on charges of:
  • resisting arrest
  • disorderly conduct, and
  • criminal aggravated trespassing

He was taken to the Stark County Jail at about 10:45 p.m by Canton Police where he was booked and released on his own recognizance about 12:30 a.m today inasmuch as the charges are misdemeanors according to Stark County Chief Deputy Mike McDonald.

Reports of the actual incident are sketchy at the writing of this blog and will be amplified later.

What is known from official public reports is that the incident occurred at the Quarry Golf Club where Harmon has a home.  The Report has attempted to contact him via telephone, but there was no live answer.  A message was left for Harmon to contact The Report.

Harmon does have prior arrests on the Stark County Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS), confirmed by birth date, for the years 2006 and 1997.   The 2006 offense was a DUI (Refusal) plea bargained down to Reckless Operation and a Failure to Control.

The 1997 offense was a Failure to Control.

Harmon has as storied political history in Stark County. 

In the mid-1980s Harmon was elected Canton Municipal Court Clerk of Courts where he served until retiring some 23 years later.  In 2007 he was selected by the Stark County Democratic Central Committee to replace Gayle Jackson as county commissioner when she was hired by Democratic Governor Ted Strickland's administration to a position with the Ohio Lottery Commission.

Health problems (he had a triple bypass in mid-2009) and "tak[ing] one for the team were the primary motivating factors in Harmon's December 1, 2009 resignation as county commissioner.  (Stark County Commissioner Tom Harmon announces resignation, Kelli Young, The Repository, November 17, 2009)

Harmon, along fellow Democrat Todd Bosley and Republican Jane Vignos, voted to impose a 1/2 cent sales tax on Stark Countians in December, 2008 to fix the countywide 9-1-1 system and to replenish funds to the Stark County general fund.

The tax was repealed by Stark Countians by a wide margin in November, 2009 and Harmon got the message.  According to Young's article,  Harmon expounded on the imposed sales tax factor upon his resignation this way:
“There’s an element of voters that are so angry with the two current commissioners (Harmon and Todd Bosley) for imposing the tax that they will never let a board of commissioners, in which a majority of the board imposed the tax, to have additional money to appropriate.”
 Interesting enough, Harmon told Young:
“...But I would certainly not close the door to being involved in public service again. I’m only 55 years old.”
 And Harmon has been involved in public service.

He is working with a group trying to interest the Stark Development Board, the county commissioners and others interested in Stark County economic development to get behind a horse show arena at the Stark County Fairgrounds.

The SCPR does not believe that the arena is grand enough in vision to merit public support.  The fairgrounds right in the heart of Canton deserves a complete rework like the folks in Clark County, Ohio have done.  If done properly and with sufficient capital, it could be a economic development project that lifts Canton and Stark County up to possibility of achieving a real economic development and financial boon.

Given the incident at the Quarry Golf Club on Monday, it will be interesting to see whether or not Harmon continues to be a significant player in the public service sector and concomitant social circles that the former commissioner is used to running in.

The SCPR wishes Harmon well!

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