Thursday, November 7, 2013



 UPDATED:  10:30 AM

There are two questions on the mind of many Stark Countians today.

First:  Why did it take the Ohio Supreme Court nearly nine (9) months to decide that George T. Maier is was not (as of the qualification date - February 6, 2013) not qualified to be Stark County sheriff?

Second:  Are the taxpayers of Stark County entitled to be reimbursed by Maier for certain Stark County taxpayer expenditures made during his time of "illegally" being in office?


Commissioner Janet Creighton said it best at yesterday at the Stark County commissioners regular weekly meeting.

... Everytime we [Stark County government] have taken three steps forward, we take five steps back, it seems.  The county, I thought, was on a roll.  We had a great team in place.  

The Public I hope understands that this [George Maier's ouster by the Ohio Supreme Court as Stark County sheriff] is out of our control. 

... We will abide by the court's decision.  But I feel that it's another set back for the county.

I do appreciate the service he [George Maier] has given.  

I think he has gained respect from both sides of the aisle [Creighton is a leading Stark County Republican; Maier is a Democrat].  I think that's a high compliment to anyone.

The "steps back" that Creighton refers to is a reference to the extreme turmoil that Stark County went through went it was revealed in April, 2009 that the-then chief deputy of the Stark County treasurer Vince Frustaci had stolen upwards of $3 million in taxpayer dollars.

Ultimately, in October, 2011 (2-1/2 years later) the-then treasurer Gary D. Zeigler (2000 - 2011) retired/resigned as treasurer amid allegations that he did not adequately safeguard taxpayer funds with appropriate polices, practices and facilities.  

Zeigler has never been implicated in the Frustaci theft and had denied that he was in any way remiss in the administration of this office.

A lead person in attempting to protect Stark County taxpayer interests in recovering insurance, bonds and civilly "responsible persons" (according to Ohio statutory law) to the greatest extent possible was local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley.

He appears again in this blog via a videotaped interview below in addressing his intent to pursue taxpayer interests in recovering monies that may have been illegally paid to or on behalf of Maier.


At the time county prosecutor John Ferrero (himself a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman) challenged current chairman Randy Gonzalez on the appropriateness of the Maier candidacy on the question of whether or not Maier is qualified by the statutory law of Ohio to be a sheriff.

In the view of the SCPR, Gonzalez and Maier's brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (a former Stark County chairman and currently an executive vice president) spearheaded a move in the SCDCC proceeding to ramrod George Maier through the process and into the appointment as sheriff.

With all that political firepower at his command, George Maier narrowly bested Stark County sheriff's captain Lou Darrow for the appointment.  Maier got 92 votes; Darrow 84 and Republican Larry Dordea received 1 vote.

To The Report, the closeness of the vote is evidence that "at the time" there was a sense among the precinct committee persons that there was a legitimate question about Maier's qualifications.

There is no doubt, the SCPR thinks, that there were a lot of politics involved (e.g. Ferrero's historic competition with the Maiers for political supremacy within the Massillon Democratic Party) in the contest.

However, to emphasize the point, Maier's qualification was a major "bone of contention" and in my view Chairman Gonzalez and his ally Johnnie A. Maier, Jr simply brushed it aside with a cursory and almost laughable appeal to several lawyers among the SCDCC members to opine [which a few did] affirming their "opinion" that Maier was qualified.


Today, Stark County is paying the price for the Gonzalez/Maier "brush-off" of the huge importance of ensuring that the Dems appointee was "as a matter of law" qualified.

Gonzalez and Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and their political allies should be apologizing profusely to Stark Countians for the disruption in safety services that we Stark Countians are experiencing as the sheriff's department transitions once again to new leadership.

The Report believes that Gonzalez as party chairman should have proceeded with much more caution in entertaining the Maier application for the appointment.

Because of the "rush to appointment," the SCPR thinks that Commissioner Creighton is "right on the mark" in saying that the Maier ouster is a blow to the stability of Stark County government.

And, of course, the Ohio Supreme Court justices and the court's administrators should have expedited proceedings.

Do they not understand that it is not a good thing to have an "unqualified" person as the county sheriff for the better part of nine (9) months while they sort things out?

Ohio's political parties can file litigation with the high court over questions like redistricting and get the "almost immediate attention" of the court.  Everything else gets put on back-burner.  

So what's the message Madamme Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor?  Counties and the stability of their government operations are not as important as the stakes of political parties?

Beyond the unsettling part of the Maier ouster that Commissioner Creighton address in her comments yesterday, questions arose immediately as to the consequences of Maier's having served illegally.

For an opinion of an answer to some of these questions, the SCPR turned to local attorney and civic activist Craig T. Conley.

In this 10 minute interview, Conley touches on many questions that have to be gracing the minds of many Stark Countians in terms of the continuing fallout that may be in the offing as a consequence of the Maier ouster.

Among his concerns is whether or not there will be moves by Stark County defense attorneys to challenge the validity of arrests by George T. Maier appointed and sworn-in deputies.

But true to past form, he says he is intent on recovering to the benefit of Stark County taxpayers any monies paid to Maier as employment compensation while he staffed the position of county sheriff.

The SCPR thinks that a new "twisting in the wind" is about to envelope Stark County government.

There are concerns in addition to those expressed by Conley.

Many of personnel who are in place at the Stark County sheriff's department have been under both Maier and Swanson.

Unfortunately, some of them have taken sides in the Swanson/Maier dispute and who but the utterly political naive will believe that there will not be ramifications.

And there is likely to be a huge fight break out within the Stark County Democratic Party.

The Report is told by someone very close to Prosecutor John Ferrero that he intends to hold Gonzalez et al politically accountable for the consequences of the Stark Dems' illegally done appointment of Maier.

At the meeting of the Stark Dems on February 5, 2013, The Report believes that Gonzalez humiliated Ferrero in the manner in which he singled him out as being a sort of "fly in the ointment" on the qualification issue.

And anybody who knows John Ferrero knows that he has intense and long memory (warranted or not) when he thinks he has been shown up.

As in the case of the Frustaci matter, the SCPR will be your prime source for in-depth coverage of the nuances, the twists, and the turns, and surprises that are likely to flow from the "after-the-Maier-ouster" in terms of further ramifications and consequences.


The Ohio Supreme Court took care of the immediate situation as to whom is sheriff in yesterday's order reinstating Tim Swanson in a "he was never "not" sheriff" import of its decision (here is a LINK to the "entire" decision).

Beyond Swanson's return, the SCPR takes the position that Chairman Gonzalez should call the SCDCC into session and ask them to appoint Lou Darrow or Larry Dordea (Mike McDonald's Republican opponent in 2012) as Stark's new sheriff.

And he should do it immediately!

It is reported that Darrow's attorney (Darrow filed a Writ of Prohibition against Gonzalez as party chairman on February 4, 2013) plans to ask the Supreme Court to order an immediate appointment if Gonzalez delays unduly.

Again, Gonzalez should act immediately!

Stark County needs a "for the duration (i.e. until December 31, 2014)" sheriff appointed now!

SCDCC members should be besieging Gonzalez with calls for him to call a meeting for that purpose NOW!

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