Wednesday, January 8, 2014









(Maier Certification to be Challenged by Stark Co. Republican)





On November 6, 2013 the Ohio Supreme Court ousted George T. Maier as sheriff of Stark County in quo warranto brought by interim Stark County sheriff Tim Swanson on February 12, 2013.

On December 11th, 101 members of the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (SCDP-CC)  under the insistent leadership of Chairman Randy Gonzalez defied the clear finding of the high court (November 6th) that Maier is not qualified under the statutory law of Ohio to be sheriff.

Consequently,  the Stark County Political Report was told by Swanson's attorney Greg Beck (yesterday) that Swanson has decided - in fact - to, for a second time, file a quo warranto.  

And that the lawsuit will be filed "soon."

Of interest is that Beck also says that Swanson will file a lawsuit against the Stark County commissioners because they have refused to pay legal fees incurred in his successful first filed quo warranto.   

He will be asking a Stark County Court of Common Pleas to order the county to pay those fees and back wages

SCDP-CC members had illegally (according to the Supreme Court) appointed Maier on February 5th to replace Sheriff-elect Mike McDonald (November, 2012) who could not take office on January 7th because of what turned out to be a terminal illness and, in the November 6th Supreme Court decision were ordered to do a "re-do," hence the December 11th vote.
  •  SCPR Note:  The February 5th vote was 92 for Maier, 84 for Darrow.  Many of the 92 appear in the December 11th list, but not all.  Some of them switched over in December to vote for Darrow, but more switched over to vote for Maier.   Moreover, new (they had not voted in the February 5th vote) members account the remainder of the 101.
The SCPR was quick to write at the time that the February 5th appointment would likely result in Maier being removed by Ohio's "court of last resort."

In Swanson v. Maier (1), Ohio's august justices (5 to 2) found that Maier was not a full-time peace officer on February 5th when chosen by the central committee members.

It may be that he still does not qualify as a full-time peace officer.

But even if Maier gets over that hurdle, there are two others that he has to high-hurdle over if he is to remain on the job at 4500 Atlantic Boulevard, to wit:
Section  311.01(B)(9) [the Ohio Revised Code]:  The person meets at least one of the following conditions:

(a) Has at least two years of supervisory experience as a peace officer at the rank of corporal or above, or has been appointed pursuant to section 5503.01 of the Revised Code and served at the rank of sergeant or above, in the five-year period ending immediately prior to the qualification date;

(b) Has completed satisfactorily at least two years of post-secondary education or the equivalent in semester or quarter hours in a college or university authorized to confer degrees by the Ohio board of regents or the comparable agency of another state in which the college or university is located or in a school that holds a certificate of registration issued by the state board of career colleges and schools under Chapter 3332. of the Revised Code. 
 Apparently, Swanson and his attorney are:
  • unimpressed with Maier's transparent and perhaps (likely?) in-vain attempt to work from November 7th through his December 11th reappointment for his long time law enforcement pal Sheriff Ronald J. Myers of Harrison County, and/or
  • convinced that Maier cannot meet the criteria of ORC 311(B)(9)(a) and/or (b).
"Soon," in the thinking of The Report, is to say "in the immediate future," perhaps by Friday of this week.
  •  SCPR Note  There are reasons to suspect that Maier may not qualify as being a full-time peace officer in a second quo warranto notwithstanding his work in Harrison from sometime during the week of November 6th through the week of December 8th (including, perhaps, the 11th itself)
    • It could be that there is language in the contract between Harrison County and its deputies that define out a new employee as being full time for specified periods like probationary periods.  The Report understands that the contract language is being checked into by Beck.
    • Accordingly, all the focus on February 5th or December 5th (or thereabouts) as the "qualification date" might not be as significant as the Maier supporters think for the longevity of Maier as the Democrats' appointee.
      • If  February 6th proves to be "ironclad" as the "qualification date" as confirmed in a Supreme Court decision on the second quo warranto, and, Maier having been found by the court (November 6th) as not having been full-time, then the only person who benefits is Louis Darrow.  He is the only "realistic" person (the only other qualified candidate as of that date was Republican Larry Dordea) for the Dems to appoint if the February 6th dated is confirmed.
      • If the Maier side is correct that the November 6th ruling changed the qualification date and a December, 2013 date is validated by the court (in a 2nd quo warranto decision) as a "new" qualification date and even if he is deemed by the court to be qualified as a full-time peace officer as of the "new" date; he still has to meet one of the criteria of ORC 311.01(B)(9) cited above which statute a number of folks believe he cannot meet.
Initial reports surfacing about noon yesterday (from a source other than Beck) were that a second Swanson quo warranto would be filed on Friday and, of course, that could prove to be the case but Beck has not confirmed a specific filing date with The Report.

While the SCPR believes that a second Supreme Court quo warranto will be decided much sooner than the nine (9) months it took the court to determine Maier to be unqualified the first time; a decision will not likely come down before the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) has to determine whether or not to certify Maier as a qualified "sheriff" (i.e. the criteria of ORC chapter 311 in addition to whether or not his petitions are in order).

The petitions have to be filed by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 5th.

Hmm?  February 5th?  Isn't that co-incidental?

Let's see, wasn't it February 5, 2013 when the SCDP-CC illegally appointed Maier sheriff the first time?

Would the Stark County Board of Elections in light of the ouster decision in Swanson v. Maier(1) quo warranto and the filing of Swanson v. Maier (2) quo warranto want to chance an illegally certifying (in the face of another Ohio Supreme Court challenge) Maier to be qualified?

It would not be surprising to see the two Democrats (Demeatrious St. John and Sam Ferruccio) vote for Maier certification notwithstanding the outcome of Swanson v. Maier(1) and the filing of Swanson v. Maier (2).

But the two Republicans (William Cline [an attorney] and Curt Braden [a former Stark County GOP chairman] are quite another matter.

And if they are reluctant to challenge Maier on their own, the SCPR has learned that they will have to deal with a demand from a Stark County Republican citizen who happens to be an attorney that they not vote to certify Maier.

A two to two vote on the Stark County Board of Elecltions brings Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted in as the tie-breaker.

Talk about a perfect situation for Republicans to achieve a Stark County Republican Party political objective (taking over the sheriff's office held most recently by the Democrats for nearly 30 years [Berens 1981-1984]) and be on the high ground of upholding "the rule of law" (i.e. Swanson v. Maier (1) in achieving that objective - the opportunity to deny certification is it - pure and simple.

Politicians dream of having the opportunity to do what is a beneficial thing for their political party under the imprimatur of doing the arguable if not the clear duty legal thing in support of "the rule of law."

Folks, it does not get any better than this for partisan board of elections members!

And if the BOE acts to disqualify Maier in the absence of any further direction from the Supreme Court, such could be "the end of the line" for the Dems' appointee.

Such a materialization could snowball into desperation time for the pro-Maier folks.

Could we see Maier filing a legal action against the BOE?

Another legal action?


Muddier legal/political waters, the could not be, no?

If George T. Maier is ruled off the ballot by the Board of Elections (with Secretary Husted as the tie-breaker) and there is no successful legal challenge by Maier, the Democrats appear to have no other choice but to name Lou Darrow as their candidate .  

Darrow, The Report thinks, lacks the political skills to wage a successful campaign.

Moreover, he would have the burden of representing a political party that rejected him twice as its sheriff appointee notwithstanding that he is clearly qualified whereas Maier's qualification have always been questioned.

The SCPR does not see Doug Smith as a viable contender for the Democratic nomination.

If Lou Darrow ends up appointed by the SCDP-CC to be the Dems' candidate, the SCPR is willing to say right now that Republican Larry Dordea will be the the next elected sheriff of Stark County.

The only solace that Maier would have should he win Swanson v. Maier(2) (if he has been ruled off the ballot by the BOE) would be to remain at 4500 Atlantic Boulevard through December 31, 2014.

As the SCPR sees it, that is the best that Maier can hope for.

Things are not looking good for George T. Maier remaining the "long-term" sheriff of Stark County.

Additionally, it could be that he will end up repaying the Stark County taxpayers about $130,000 for salary, benefits received by him for the period February 12, 2013 through November 6, 2013 and re-branding expenditures made by him while serving as the SCDP-CC appointed sheriff who was not legitimated by the Ohio Supreme Court.

And he may lose Swanson v. Maier (2).

Which, of course, might mean the repayment factor may go up.

Another consequence of Tim Swanson winning Swanson v. Maier(1) is that Stark County taxpayers may have to pay Swanson's $33,800 or so legal fees and tens of thousands in dollars in salary and benefits for the time that Maier is determined to have served illegally in place of the interim sheriff.

As written above, Greg Beck tells the SCPR that Swanson plans on filing a lawsuit against the Stark County commissioners to recover the legal fees and wages in the immediate future.

So is George T. Maier about to suffer "a double whammy" and turn out to be a "short-term" sheriff?

The SCPR thinks that is the likely ultimate outcome.

And if he has to repay any monies out as a result of possibly losing in Marcelli v. Maier, the "double whammy" could turn out to be a "triple whammy" if not more.

The SCPR believes that George T. Maier in political consultation with brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman), Dems' chairman Randy Gonzalez and perhaps others (Oh!  How could The Report forget Stark County Dems' political director R. Shane Jackson) in the high reaches of Stark County Democratic Party politics made a calculation that though they suspected George had qualifications problems, it was worth a go.

Worth a go?


Because who was going to raise the qualification problem in the courts if the SCDP-CC could be induced to appoint George?

Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero?  The Ohio attorney general?  Sheriff Tim Swanson?

And such a calculation seemed reasonable enough.


Ferrero has a political future in Stark County.  Would he want to jeopardize that by taking on the likes of Maier, Jr. and Gonzalez?


Swanson has a home and family in Florida.  Why would he want to have to be possibly "at the ready" to return to Ohio to serve as interim sheriff while the Democrats fight among themselves?


No way would a Republican attorney general who is up for re-election in 2014 want to create a Stark County firestorm for himself

To repeat, such a calculation seemed reasonable enough.

But ... but .... but ... but .... but!!!

As it turns out such a calculation - if, in fact, The SCPR surmise of  the calcualtion's existence is correct, was flawed.

Perhaps the Dem politicos forgot the adage:  Best laid plans mice and men oft go astray.

Astray they have gone in Stark County Democratic Party politics, no?

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