Thursday, October 25, 2012



From 1951 - 1959 and then again from 1967 - 1970 a popular television police detective show Dragnet starring Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday.

One of the most erroneously quoted lines from the series was "Just the facts, Ma'am."

Actually, according to Wikipedia (LINK), the line was:  "All we want are the facts."

So what does devotion to the "facts" have to do with the Stark County sheriff's race?

On Wednesday the SCPR received a copy of a "Letter to the Editor" being sent out by Derrick Loy which purports to lay out the facts on certain work of Stark County sheriff Republican candidate Larry Dordea (currently, Hartville police chief and Alliance councilman-at-large) when he was chief of police for Alliance.

Anyone who knows anything about Stark County politics knows that Dordea is engaged in a highly contested race with Stark County Sheriff Department Chief Deputy (Jail Division) Mike McDonald as to whom is going to succeed long time sheriff Tim Swanson who is stepping down.

This is Dordea's second run for sheriff.  He made a respectable showing in 2008 in facing off against Swanson.

Loy is president of the Alliance Area Democratic Club.

He tells The Report that although he is a Democrat whereas Dordea is a Republican that partisan politics is not the primary reason he is taking on Dordea.

He says the extended Loy family has law enforcement aspect to it and that he feels it is important to alert Stark Countians on the Dordea deficiencies in terms of his ability to handle the responsibilities of being Stark County's next sheriff.

The Report is told that Loy has been seen out on the campaign trail for Mike McDonald.

The SCPR contacted McDonald to inquire as to whether or not Loy was acting as a surrogate for him.

McDonald denied that such was the case, but did admit to discussing several of the fact allegations in the letter with Loy.

Loy himself denied that he, in writing the letter to nearly every media outlet located in Stark County plus some in nearby Summit, was acting as a McDonald stand-in.

What follows is a copy of his letter:
Letter to the Editor; 
The FACTS About Larry Dordea’s Record

FACT: As an Alliance City Councilman, shortly after the November 8, 2011 election, Larry Dordea voted to hand out a whopping 30% pay raise to a part-time city employee in Alliance. Who was the employee? None other than the brother of Mr. Dordea's campaign treasurer [Law Director Andrew Zumbar, Stark County treasurer and Dordea campaign treasurer Alex Zumbar]. Do the taxpayers want fiscal irresponsibility, political paybacks and cronyism in the Sheriff’s office? 
FACT: As the Alliance police chief, Larry Dordea wasted over $1 million dollars in taxpayer money on bloated and excessive overtime. Stark County can’t afford another fiscal gamble. 
FACT: As the Alliance police chief, Larry Dordea helped himself to a luxury Mercedes-Benz SUV that his own police had confiscated. Mr. Dordea called it “My Company Car,” but the taxpayers were footing the bill for his gas guzzler. 
FACT: As a candidate for Alliance City Council Larry Dordea promised that he would implement a “best practice” by holding monthly committee meetings. But Mr. Dordea immediately broke his promise and failed to hold even one meeting for 22 straight months. The people of Stark County deserve integrity in the Sheriff’s office, not broken promises. 
Larry Dordea says he wants to run on his experience. The facts above show Stark County can’t afford this type of experience!

Elect a lifetime law enforcement officer, a man that has been endorsed by his peers in law enforcement.
Elect Michael McDonald Sheriff! 
Derrick Loy
Alliance, Ohio

As readers of the SCPR have come to expect, yours truly goes a step or two or three further than your typical newspaper in covering material such as Loy's letter.

One such step was to pass the letter by Dordea (who otherwise was not aware of the letter) for his reaction.

Here is what Dordea has to say about the alleged facts:

The first listed alleged fact.

Mr. Loy is referring to the actions described in the following Alliance Review article.  I guess the readers will have to decide if this bipartisan legislation was an irresponsible political payback, I completely disagree.

Alliance elected officials to see pay increase
Stephanie Ujhelyi Published: December 28, 2011.

Due to space limitations, the SCPR provides the following excerpts as being descriptive of Dordea's point:

It took two decades, but Alliance's elected officials finally are seeing pay increases.
Council passed an amended version of retiring city Safety-Service Director John Blaser's proposal to increase those salaries based on average annual Consumer Price Index statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. 
However, Councilman Lawrence Dordea, R-at large, added a twist.
Dordea and Councilman Roy Clunk, D-3, introduced changes, which would pay $45,920 each to the auditor and law director -- defined as the identical salary of the city's mayor, while establishing a 3-percent ceiling on increases associated for the salaries paid to council members, including council president and the city treasurer, who won't see pay bumps until Jan. 1, 2014.
The law director was making $31,961.73 and the auditor $41,803.70 prior to Wednesday's vote. 
The second listed alleged fact. 

Mr. Loy is very unclear here,   I  compensated employees in accordance with employment contracts and labor laws.  The employees earned overtime for a variety of reasons including manpower shortages, court appearances, being held over (beyond normal working hours) with a prisoner, working protracted investigations and criminal cases and in some cases, training.  What Mr. Loy fails to mention that employee the time that the writer is referring to, violent crime was reduced by more than 50% and we took very bad people off of our streets.  It should also be noted that during this time, we seized assets and drugs, the value of which I am sure exceeded the overtime cost and  the money from the sale of the forfeited assets was placed back into the police department’s budget.

  The third listed alleged fact.

Helped himself?  This vehicle was a trophy vehicle well known to a portion of the criminal element of Alliance.  The vehicle was lawfully seized and the option was available to sell it or to use it.  I, with the input from many, decided to keep the vehicle as a visible reminder to those who were flashing their illegally earned wealth with fancy cars and the like may be next.  Also as a seized asset, it would have been auctioned to the highest bidder and brought in only a portion of its retail value.  Given it was in good condition it would hold up for years as a non-emergency vehicle and reduce the departmental needs to buy a new car at the time. When we were deciding how to use the vehicle, the officers who worked the case that led to the seizure of the vehicle were offered the opportunity to utilize it as an “unmarked“ cruiser but they declined because they felt it would be targeted in the field and they pushed for me to use it.  I did so reluctantly at first but when I received feedback that the former owner had stated that seeing me drive his vehicle was like a slap in the face, I knew we were sending out a very strong crime deterrent message.  Additionally, this vehicle was never used outside of legitimate law enforcement duties.  

The fourth alleged fact.

Once I was elected I was assigned the chairmanship of the Property and Lands Committee of city council.  This was the least active committee on council and I did not hold meeting just for the sake of holding meetings.  There were no broken promises, just responsible government.

Mr. Olson,

This is a letter littered with inflammatory accusations and filled with half truths.   Mr. Loy is an interesting person who [is] very politicized and is quite the sensationalist. I have learned not to take very seriously.  Thank you for your inquiry into is assertions. 

Larry Dordea

As the second step beyond what readers usually get in the "main stream media" on "letters to the editor," the SCPR contacted Mike McDonald for his input.
For his part, Mike McDonald would only vouch for the "excessive overtime" as being a fact.   McDonald:  "He [Dordea as Alliance police chief] had lieutenants making $108,000 a year .... and that was four years ago."

However, McDonald could not and would not say that the "excessive overtime" amounted to $1 million. Moreover, he says he has auditor records proving same.

McDonald said that Dordea as chief in Alliance had detectives making $77,000 annually (including overtime which McDonald says was several times the base salary).

He also says that the Stark County sheriff pays nowhere near the Dordea/Alliance level of overtime.

He says that Dordea's response in a recent joint appearance on Ron Ponder's Points to Ponder  (WHBC1450) "Well, its expensive to solve crime." is not realistic given the budgetary problems at the Stark County sheriff's department and that Dordea as sheriff could mean a revisitation of financial problems at the department.

MoDonald would not say "point-blank" that Dordea was "fiscally irresponsible" on the overtime matter while in charge of the Alliance PD, he certainly and clearly implied such.

So what does the SCPR make of all this discussion described above?

What started off as sort of a "gentlemen's campaign" has gotten heated.

It is obvious to The Report that Mr. Loy has mostly made opinion-ladened allegations and a few facts of what Dordea has done as councilman and police chief (Alliance) which appear to have questionable relevance as to how he would function as sheriff.

As already indicated, Mike McDonald denies having a hand in Loy writing his letter.  And the SCPR takes him at his word.

But on his own, McDonald has gone out and developed documented evidence (from the auditor's office) which he says shows that Dordea excessively used overtime in paying some of his lieutenants and detectives during his last four years as Alliance police chief.

Stark Countians should pay attention to Dordea's fiscal record as the head of the Alliance PD for about 9-1/2 years.

A main Dordea campaign theme has been that as sheriff he would more efficiently use what manpower and financial resources the department has coupled with what he describes as being his innovative ideas to make the Stark County sheriff's office more efficient and more effective.

The Report remembers that when Sheriff Swanson was challenged by Dordea back in 2008, he had nothing negative to say about his adversary to the SCPR and, in fact, said positive things about Dordea for having largely cleaned up the crime/drug problem in the carnation city.

The SCPR knows both McDonald and Dordea pretty well.

Either, if elected, The Report thinks will do a good job for Stark Countians.

The Report believes that the Loy letter is more an example of opinionated "attack politics" and not the fact-filled sheet suggested by the format:  FACT, FACT, FACT, FACT that provides a wealth of objective information for voters to consider.

Nevertheless, the letter is what it is and is on the table for Stark Countians to consider as a factor among many in coming to a decision between what The Report believes is a field of two qualified candidates.

A productive thing about the Loy letter is that the SCPR has used it as a basis for Dordea to respond to rather than having to deal with rumors being floated by his political adversaries.

The Report  shared the letter with Mike McDonald so that he could weigh in.  And he has done so in a responsible way.

Stark Countians should listen to the Ponder interview of the 15th,  look up the multiple SCPR blogs on both Dordea and McDonald,  and peruse area newspaper articles on the candidates' positions and ideas and decide which of the two provides answers and ideas that make sense.

Yesterday, yours truly spoke with a long time Stark County safety forces official who had some interesting observations about McDonald and Dordea, to wit:
  • McDonald:   "Does his being in charge of the Stark County jail for a number of years qualify for the top job?"
  • Dordea:  "He will make massive changes at the Stark County Sheriff Department."
The Report inferred from the observations that the official has strong reservations about McDonald's ability to step up to being the sheriff and that a Dordea win might result in an "unsettling" (the SCPR's word not the officials) of the operations of the sheriff's department.

Considering the volumes of material published about the Dordea/McDonald race, at the end of the day, the SCPR believes that this is a "no lose" election for Stark Countians.

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