Wednesday, January 11, 2012


UPDATE:  01/11/2011 - 4:20 PM

Trustee Haws has contacted the SCPR and informed that he did not make the fence sitting comment attributed to him by The Repository.   He says the comment was made by Brewster Councilman Steven Tharp, Jr.  Here is a copy of The Rep's correction confirming Haws.  The correction was made hours after this blog was published.

Haws also asserts that at the meeting he supported the Plain Board of Education dismissal of Cugini at the meeting.  Taking Haws at his word, there no reference in The Rep article as to his support of the Cugini dismissal.

Obviously, in light of the misattributed Repository quote in the context of the Cugini removal, the SCPR's take that Haws' comments could be taken as an example of irresponsible partisanship as being mitigated.

But perhaps not.

The only part of the SCPR reference of Repository material not attributable to Haws is the "fence-sitting" language.

There was additional quotes of Haws which he does not say were not uttered by him, to wit:
“As an elected official, we are held to be an active official in our government,” he said. “It’s an honor and it comes at a high price ... “ Haws said.

But he chastised the board for taking action in public, and for coverage in The Repository. “This (session) should have been closed door,” he said.

These words in and of themselves connote (in the opinion of your's truly) a empathy/sympathy with Cugini and, by the SCRP's definition of responsible partisanship, do not measure up to the Harold example.

Moreover, The Report has been following Scott Haws from the time he was elected Plain trustee in 2009.  The Report's overall take (e.g. PLAs and fracking issues) on Haws is that he is unduly partisan.

Accordingly, the SCPR stands by the original blog admonition to Haws - going forward - that he would do well to mimic the Harold example which is in the vein of being responsibly partisan.


The drama a Monday night meeting of the Plain Local Schools Board of Education (Board) meeting was the removal by the Board of member Chris Cugini.

It seems to the SCPR that the board had plenty of justification for removing Cugini in that he has not participated in a formal school board meeting according to a newspaper report (Plain school board vacates seat, January 9th)  since August, 2011.

According to the Board, it acted pursuant to a provision in Ohio law empowering boards of education to remove a member who has missed 90 consecutive days of board proceedings.

What was, at least, equally significant to Plain Township and Stark County voters should be the reaction of certain public officials:   Plain Township Trustee Scott Haws (a Republican) and Stark County Auditor Alan Harold (who lives in Plain Township), also a Republican.

Cugini, according to Stark Board of Elections records, is a Republican.  He attracted attention of the media when as a graduated high schooler (2009) and embarking on a college trek at Mount Union he ran for and was elected to the Plain Local Board of Education.

Unfortunately, the SCPR believes, he was going to be elected because he was one of three candidates for three positions to be elected.

In hindsight, it seems apparent he did not have the maturity to be seeking public office.

Even as he knew that he was in jeopardy of being removed from the Board, he is reported to have asked for exceptional treatment and then, when his quest failed, dissed the remaining board members for never accepting him because he asked questions and he supported the teachers and students.

What anyone familiar with political partisanship would expect from officeholding partisans of either party is for such an official, again  Democrat or Republican, to make excuses for a fellow partisan when they experience troubles like Cugini did on Monday night.

In the case of  Scott Haws, the SCPR's expectations were met, to wit (from The Repository) :
Plain Township Trustee Scott Haws  Brewster Village Councilman Steven Tharp, Jr. (correction by The Rep - see above) said he was “on the fence” about the issue.
“As an elected official, we are held to be an active official in our government,” he said. “It’s an honor and it comes at a high price ... “ Haws said.

But he chastised the board for taking action in public, and for coverage in The Repository. “This (session) should have been closed door,” he said.
But Stark County Auditor Alan Harold did not follow suit.  Here is what he had to say in the comments section to The Rep's story:
As a Plain Twp. resident, I have followed this case closely since earlier this year.
This case is about choices and the opportunities and consequences that come as a result of these choices.
The facts are not in dispute, and Ohio law is very clear.
Contrary to many comments that have been made, I think the action of the Board sends a strong message to its students - if you make a commitment, you keep it and, further, serving in public office is a sacred duty. Cugini made a commitment to Plain Twp. when he ran, he made a choice to pursue other interests, and he now must deal with the consequence.
The Board made the right move.
The SCPR has no problem whatsoever with party partisanship so long has it is subservient to community interests.

It is refreshing and encouraging to see Auditor Harold exercising responsible partisanship.

Harold and Haws seem to be political if not personal friends.

Haws would do well for himself if he were to model after Harold.

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