Monday, April 29, 2013


On April 17, 2013 Judge John Haas of the Stark Court of Common Pleas reversed the findings of the Massillon Civil Service Board (Board) that it would not count "the seniority factor" in favor of Massillon policeman Thomas Rogers in determining who had the most points to qualify for promotion to sergeant in the Massillon Police Department (MPD).  (see the Judge Haas' order at the end of this blog)


Well, let's play a little Jeopardy.

Answer:  "Seniority entitles a competitor extra points."

Question:  What was the Massillon Civil Service Board's ruling on the impact of superior seniority in the Board's determination of who scored highest in the competition between Keith Moser and Joe Herrick back in 2012?

The rest of the story is that under the rules in play Mayor Kathy Catazaro Perry (according to a source in a position to know) was obligated to appoint Keith Moser as Massillon police chief.  And she did so on June 7, 2012.


What does have to do with Tom Rogers getting or not getting promoted sergeant?

Maybe nothing.

But there are those who say that the cast of characters competing for the sergeant promotion may have had something to do with who got promoted.

Okay, let's go the next step.  Who was among several Massillon police officers competing with Rogers for the promotion?

Answer:  Officer Mike Maier of the MPD.


Well, he is son of current Stark County sheriff George T. Maier (service/safety directory at time of the promotion).  Also, he is the nephew of Massillon Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr who also a seasoned politician in that he was formerly chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party.

And get this.

Guess who sat in on the civil service hearing in which the Board determined that seniority points would not be added to Rogers total score?

Answer:  None other than George T. Maier (this is information provided the SCPR by the attorney [Craig T. Conley] for Rogers.



Well, he was service/safety director at the time and he had no input into the proceedings.

Nonetheless, some Massillonians feel that it was highly inappropriate for father to be present when the son was a subject of consideration.

And this seemingly is one of the fundaments of some in Massillon (including, the SCPR is told, a media type) who question whether or not the Board's initial decision passes "the smell test."

There is another factor which some suspect may have had an impact on the thinking on the Board's disparity in its seniority ruling.

Back in 2010 Officer Rogers was a player in a dispute between the-then Massillon police chief Robert Williams (he retired in January, 2012) and Judge Edward Elum of the Massillon Municipal Court.  (See Massillon municipal judge, police chief at war, Matt Rink, The Independent, March 5, 2010)

You got to be kidding, what does that have to do with anything?

Well, some Massillonians say that Judge Elum is a political ally of Clerk Maier and that Rogers' tete-tete with Elum in the context of the Williams/Elum tiff earned Rogers a special place on Johnnie Maier's "sh_t list?"

Undoubtedly and understandably that the Maiers would be supportive of and hopeful of  son and nephew Mike getting the promotion, but certainly one would think that a civil service board (which is devoted by its very nature to measure according to merit and objective criteria exclusively) would be impervious to considering as even as a scintilla a factor that a person with the surname Maier was a competitor for the promotion, no?

It is believable that it might be very important to the Maiers that Mike become a sergeant so that he can begin is climb to one day become Massillon's police chief. The family has a rich and deep history with the MPD and with Ohio policing in general.

So exactly what is wrong with the Maiers supporting a Maier, pray tell?

And consider this.

Members Walterhouse and Simpson were appointed to the Board by avowed Maier political enemy Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr.

One Massillonian keeps telling the SCPR that the supposed political feud between Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and Frank Cicchinelli going back to their political competition when they were both students at Kent - Stark is a ruse.

The Report thinks that is more than a stretch.

The Maier political machine with Kathy Catazaro-Perry as its candidate put Cicchinelli on the political sidelines in the 2011 Democratic Primary after having served as mayor for 28 years and even more in Massillon elective office and its all political theater?

Who is going to believe that one?

And to thicken the political thicket, get this.

Yes!  In the 2007 general election Democrat Catazaro-Perry takes out Republican Walterhouse in Massillon's Ward 3.  And, by a pretty considerable margin.

So Walterhouse is going to pay attention (even subconsciously) to the hopes and prayers of the Maiers and their political allies?

Not likely, huh?

A Maier political foe and SCPR source also speaks very highly of Board member Marcus Simpson who, at last report, is dean of students at Massillon Middle School.

Undoubtedly, those who suggest that the changed original decision of the Massillon Civil Service Board "does not pass the smell test" certainly know about all the disconnections/connections cited above in this blog, no?

So what is the world is going on with the suggestion:  "the Rogers denial of promotion to sergeant 'does not pass the smell test'?

The SCPR says it is hard to say.

Could be good ole fashion sour grapes, no?

But there is no doubt that Judge Haas' decision has caused a flare up of the political fires between those who think well of the Maiers and those who think that at least Johnnie is a out-and-out political opportunist who is relentless in his drive to see to it that his kin and political friends get taxpayer supported positions.

Some folks believe that he is the reason brother George became deputy director of the State of Ohio Department of Public Safety (and even director in the last few days of the Strickland administration in January, 2011).

Johnnie was the chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party when Ted Strickland ran for governor in 2006 against Republican Ken Blackwell.

Strickland has made it very plain (reference an appearance in Canal Fulton in behalf state Representative candidate Celeste DeHoff [October, 2008]) that he was highly appreciative to Johnnie for his having been the first party chairman in all of Ohio to have endorsed him during the 2006 Democratic primary season.

If memory serves correctly, The Report's recollection is that local parties taking sides in a intraparty gubernatorial contest was pretty much of an "no-no."  But one does what one has to do, no?

Johnnie did have good material to work with IF he did lobby Strickland to promote brother George.

George, as we have learned from selection by the Stark Dems to be Stark County sheriff (replacing Mike McDonald who could not as sheriff elect take office because of health reasons) on February 5th of this year, has impressive de facto policing credentials (George Maier may or may not have the de jure credentials to remain sheriff.  The Ohio Supreme Court will decide the matter).

But does anyone believe that the Johnnie Maier/Ted Strickland connection didn't have a great deal to do with brother George becoming a top official in the State of Ohio Department of Public Safety?

Probably darned few, if anybody, no?

Anyway, in reading Judge Haas' decision, it is apparent to the SCPR that there was a "color of law" argument advanced by Massillon Law Director Perry Stergious that state law did away with the requirement (per the contract between the Henderson Lodge of the Massillon Fraternal Order of Police [FOP]) and the city of Massillon) that seniority points be granted by the Board to the likes of Rogers.

But Judge Haas did not see it that way.

And the SCPR thinks his reasoning is sound.

Moreover, his reasons seem to The Report to cut through any distinction that may have been in the minds of Chapanar, Walterhouse, and Simpson between the Keith Moser and Thomas Rogers situations.

Moser's was based pre-July, 2012 whereas Rogers' was post-July, 2012 which may be the basis in the distinction in the Board's thinking.

The Report is told that Law Director Stergios has not decided whether or not he is going to appeal the Haas decision.

If there is no appeal and thereby a lack of a higher court decision that results in a vindication of the Board, does not the Massillon Civil Service Board have some "explainin" (a la Sarah Palin) to do?

"Explainin to do?"


How does seniority apply to the police chief competition but not to the sergeant competition?

Shouldn't the Board address this question head on in a direct comparison?

Because the way things stand now, there are those Massillonians who think that Rogers' failure to get those seniority points "stinks to high heavens" and that thinking will undoubtedly persist and likely will cast doubt on the processes and procedures of the Board.

And how that can be good for anybody is beyond the SCPR.

Here is the Judge John Haas decision.

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