Monday, August 1, 2011


Last week at a Stark County commissioner work session designed to hear the input of county officials on what amount of new sales tax (1/4, 1/2 or 1 percent) for what period of time (1, 5, 8 years or permanently) that the commissioners should present to the Stark County voters in November of this year.

The SCPR believes that the commissioners had pretty much decided to propose a 1/2 cent increase for from five to eight years.

But Stark County Sheriff Chief Deputy Mike McDonald (Democrat) may have changed the commissioners plans with his dire description of dangerous conditions at the Stark County jail currently let alone the continuation of a "no new sales taxes" that will result in the county sheriff's department being reduced to about a $8.5 million budget come 2012.

Hear/see McDonald again.

Within hours of McDonald making his shocking statement, the commissioners decided to postpone their expected  Wednesday July 27, 2011 regular meeting resolution placing a 1/2 cent proposed sales tax increase on the ballot.

Was McDonald and his Tuesday statement "straw that broke the camel's back?

Stark Countians will likely find out this coming Wednesday as the August 10th filing deadline looms close  much like the federal debt ceiling issue (August 2nd) at the national level.  Commissioner Bernabei did tell The Report today that the decision could slip to the 10th, the actual due date for the commissioners' decision.

No one has stepped forward from county officialdom to suggest to the commissioners that calamity might not be the order of the day for county government operations should they offer a 1/2 cent option that voters pass or - God forbid - voters opt not to pass any increase.

The SCPR went looking for someone who might be willing to face up to the possibility if not the probability that in 2012 many county officials will be operating their departments of government at 40.7% less than their 2011 appropriations.

And The Report did find someone who was will the to discuss the "what if."

Republican Alliance Councilman Larry Dordea (also Hartville chief of police and former Alliance chief of police) took the question head on from the Stark County Political Report.

Dordea ran against Sheriff Swanson in 2008 and may run against Mike McDonald in 2012.  However, he says that he needs first to run his re-election campaign for Alliance councilman-at-large and then ponder whether or not to run for sheriff.   The Ohio legislature has changed the Ohio primary to May, 2011 and so Dordea has plenty time to mull the matter over.

This is what he had to say in terms of being willing to accept the challenge of running EVEN IF the voters reject the sales tax initiative that commissioners will be offering this fall:
  • Sheriff Swanson still has high paid employees on staff that need to have their salaries cut,
  • "he (Swanson) has a big staff of people" which can be cut,
  • Stark County could use the state of Ohio crime lab if the Stark County crime lab is lost because of state cuts in local government funding (which Dordea said "would be a terrible thing").  
  • Stark County government official, during the financial austere times, have to put up with inconveniences such as having to deal with BCI (the state crime lab) at its regional location in Richfied, Ohio and the several day delay when compared to the response capability of a local crime lab,
  • Swanson and his top people want for nothing and that the cuts are on lower eschelon employees.  Dordea believes it should be the reverse,
  • The county does need the 1% asked for by Swanson and Ferrero, but the county must find someone other than Swanson as a publicly visible proponent of the increase,
  • If he runs for sheriff and is elected and faces running the department on an $8.5 million budget that he:
    • would welcome the challenge,
    • it would be very difficult,
    • maybe the department could not run well on $8 million but $18 million is not needed
  • Sheriff's office should not be a landing place for one's political friends and supporters,
  • Sheriff's office (because of long term Democrat control) stranglehold has become a "culture of inefficiency"
  • If the department goes down to a $8 million or so budget, then there is an opportunity to rebuild it from scratch with a lot more efficiency and effectiveness,
  • Rebuilder needs to risk being a "one term sheriff" as a consequence of creating a "no-frills" Stark County sheriff's operation,
  • Stark County needs a stand up,  "think out of the box" leader to surface who can lead an effort to reconstruct Stark County government so as to restore Stark to a pre-eminent position as one of Ohio's premier examples of efficient and effective government.
Should Dordea decide to run, it will be interesting to see how Mike McDonald responds to Dordea's "bring it on!" mindset when it comes to the challenge of running an austere Stark County sheriff's department.

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