Wednesday, June 6, 2012


UPDATE:  06/06/2012 AT 4:00 PM

Larry Dordea (Hartville chief of police and Republican Alliance city councilman-at-large) has brought to the SCPR's attention that he believes that this blog's statement as to his position (on the basis of prior conversations between The Report and Dordea) on the Stark County Crime Lab does not adequately convey his strong support for the lab.  He agrees with those who point out that if Stark County did not have the crime lab, Stark County law enforcement agencies would be greatly disadvantaged if they had to rely on the state of Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

As is always the case with The Report, subjects of the blog get a full and complete opportunity to respond to yours truly's take on them as public figures and/or positions on issues discussed in the Stark County Political Report.

As for the Dordea/McDonald match up, the SCPR believes this race is akin to that between Republican Alex Zumbar and Democrat Ken Koher for Stark County treasurer in November, 2010.

Stark Countians will benefit, no matter who among the two is victorious in November of this year.


Watching and listening to the Stark County Council of Governments (SCOG) monthly meeting yesterday was a sobering experience as it became apparent that "the chickens are coming home to roost" in terms of real world consequences coming to Stark because the Republican dominated Ohio General Assembly voted last year to dramatically cut the state Local Government Fund (LGF) allocations to Ohio's cities, villages and townships for the biennium 2012-2013 fiscal years.

It appears to the SCPR that the cuts could undermine law enforcement efforts in Stark County.

Yesterday, the membership of SCOG voted to eliminate some $160,000 plus in annual payments to the Stark County Metropolitan Narcotics unit. While Sheriff Swanson said that the department would continue operating the unit, it is hard to believe that the loss of the SCOG funding will not diminish the units effectiveness.

Here is a sampling of SCOG's discussion of the issue featuring SCOG Chairman and Canton Safety Director Thomas Ream, Stark County Sheriff Tim Swanson and Stark Narcotics head Sgt. John Oliver.

And here is the videotaped statement of Chief Deputy Sheriff (Jail Division) Mike McDonald who is also a candidate for sheriff in November against Hartville police chief and Republican Alliance city councilman-at-large Larry Dordea:

CLICK HERE to link with the Stark County Sheriff's website which explains the history, mission and composition of the unit.

SCOG members also discussed the future for SCOG's pride and joy project - the Stark County Crime Lab.  There was a whole lot of concern of where they are going to find the funding for it  beyond 2013.

So it seems to The Report that Stark County is going to have its law enforcement and criminal justice system adversely affected by the state cuts  notwithstanding the fact that Stark Countians voted to approve a 0.5% sales tax in November, 2011 in order to solve a financial crisis that county government was experiencing.

The levy was sold to the public on the basis of being used to used to undo severe cuts in the law enforcement and justice system of Stark County made in 2011.

And the Stark County commissioners have been good to their word and have begun restoring affected departments of county government to their 2010 levels.

Republican members of the Stark County delegation (Christina Hagan - the 50th House District, Scott Oelslager * - the 29th Senate District and Kirk Schuring - the 51st House District) voted for the budget bill (HB 153) and for ending the Ohio Estate Tax (beginning January 1, 2013).

Notice that there is an asterisk by Oelslager.  The asterisk is next to his name because he originally voted for HB 153 but then voted against it in the final vote.  One would think that by voting "no" on the final bill, he should be given credit  for being against cuts in local government funding, no?


Why not?

Because he gave as the reason in a Repository report for voting "no" on the bill as being that: 
[h]e opposed the conference committee inserting provisions into the bill related to merit pay and performance standards for teachers.
 Accordingly, he does not deserve credit for looking out for local government funding.

A key action by SCOG yesterday was authorizing Canton Law Director Joseph Martuccio to prepare a resolution asking the "Stark County delegation" to the Ohio General Assembly to support HB 471 which would restore some of the cuts to local government funding.

Here is a video of the discussion of  SCOG board members including Martuccio and Stark County Chief Administrator Mike Hanke.

As pointed out on the McDonald videotape, McDonald sheriff opponent Larry Dordea has told the SCPR that while it is convenient and helpful to have a local crime lab, if it was lost because of the evaporation of funding, that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) would do just fine.

Other officials beg to differ.  An example was given to The Report that BCI reports can take up to two to three months in the making whereas Stark County Crime Lab reports are generally available within two weeks.  

Moreover, it is said that reliance on the BCI could cause a delay in the administration of justice.

It seems to the SCPR that Representatives Hagan and Schuring as well as state Senator Oelslager have some explaining to do to Stark County voters.

Democrat state Rep. Stephen Slesnick (the 52nd House District) has consistently opposed Governor Kasich's cuts of local government funding.

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