Friday, March 14, 2014













In a surprise move to the SCPR, George T. Maier showed up yesterday at the Stark County commissioners' special called meeting to consider whether or not to appoint "special counsel" for the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE, Board).

So what was Maier up to?

"I object to anybody from the Stark County prosecutor's office being allowed into the executive session because of conflict in interest problems" (paraphrase)

And, indeed, Ferrero does have a conflict.

Back on February 5th he filed an affidavit with the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (SCDP-CC) saying that as prosecutor he had come to the conclusion that the SCDP brass's choice candidate for appointment; namely, George T. Maier was not qualified under Ohio Revised Code Section 311.01 to be sheriff.

The Dems were selecting a replacement for Sheriff-elect Mike McDonald who was unable to take office on January 7, 2013 as scheduled because of an illness which cost him is life on February 22, 2013.

It would be unreal for Ferrero (the buck stops with him on representation strategy) to having anything whatsoever to do with representing George Maier's interest before any court anywhere.

With Secretary of State Jon Husted  having broken a February 21, 2013 tie-vote between Republican BOE members Curt Braden and William Cline (saying Maier was not qualified) and Democratic members Deametrious St. John and Sam Ferruccio, Jr (saying Maier was qualified) in favor the the Democrats, a question arose as to whether or not Stark County taxpayers should pay for the Maier interest to be represented in a Writ of Prohibition action filed this past Tuesday with the Ohio Supreme Court asking that the court prohibit the BOE from placing Maier's name on the May primary election ballot.

On February 11th, Massillon Ward 2A Democratic Central Committeewoman filed a protest with the Board on the Maier candidacy.

Aside from the affidavit, there is a lot of political bad blood between Ferrero and the Maiers.

The SCPR had thought that the animus between Ferrero and the Maiers was not so much George or others in the Maiers' political entourage but rather at Ferrero successor as Stark County Democratic chairman (2003) and George T. Maier brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

But now it appears that George has adopted Johnnie's seeming hatred of "all things Ferrero" as The Report believe this video of yesterday's objection indicates.

Included in yesterday's Maier supporters was Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez was at his "whining" best.

When the SCPR or likely anyone in the media sees things differently than Gonzalez, he, above any other Stark County public official goes into a snit of bellyaching.

It must work for him in some circles, but it does not with The Report.

The Report sees Gonzalez much in the same light as this writer does Canton mayor William J. Healy, II.

Healy is generally known in the Stark County political community for being a political spin artist whereas Gonzalez has generally evaded that tag - except - with the SCPR.

Gonzalez is more disarming with it than Healy.

The Report suspects that Gonzalez bobs and weaves, omits important details and otherwise massages situations every bit the equal of Healy.

On another measure of the two men, the SCPR thinks that Healy is not nearly the whiner that Gonzalez is.

One has to wonder why Gonzalez was at yesterday's meeting.  If it was to put pressure - by his mere presence - on Republican commissioners Janet Creighton and Richard Regula to give Maier interests the attorney they wanted at a cost of 8,000 Stark County taxpayer dollars, he may as well stayed in Jackson Township where he is the township's fiscal officer.

On another note, the SCPR hears that Stark County Democratic Party officials (presumably including Gonzalez) are accusing John Ferrero of destroying the Stark County "organized" Democratic Party.

Go Figure!

The very folks who thought they could steamroller an unqualified (reference, Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto, November 6, 2013 Ohio Supreme Court decision) now want to blame a man who stood tall for "the rule of law" as being a political traitor.

Gonzalez yesterday as we waited for the commissioners to come out of executive session went into a rant of sorts about being sick and tired of all the talk about "the rule of law."

Now isn't that interesting?

It wasn't long after the Gonzalez diatribe that the commissioners reconvened.

In the following video, Commissioners Creighton and Regula are seen as refusing to second Democratic commissioner Thomas Bernabei's motion/resolution to hire Tigue, a so-called elections law expert located in Columbus.

Bernabei says that he came up with Donald McTigue on the recommendation of Maier attorney Thomas L. Rosenberg and Stark Dem BOE member Sam Ferruccio, Jr.  He denied that Gonzalez had any input on the matter.

The SCPR also captured the commissioners addressing the influence or lack thereof the series of letters sent to them by Balas-Bratton's attorney (Conley) on their decision to appoint David Bridenstine rather than Donald McTigue.

While the commissioners were in executive session,  Gonzalez was whining (if The Report may use that term again) to a reporter about the commissioners' expected commissioners' denial of McTigue as the Stark Dems BOE members' legal counsel at taxpayer expense.

Commissioners Creighton and Regula both said that they could not see paying a cap of $8,000 to McTigue when they had available highly respected and former prosecuting attorney (civil division) David Bridenstine to do the work.

Bridenstine, recently retired, spent many, many years in the prosecutor's office.  

He was hired last year on an annual cap of $65,000 to perform various and sundry legal work for the commissioners and other departments of Stark County government (e.g. the sanitary engineer). For non-county-commissioner work, Stark County commission financial guru Chris Nichols says there is a charge back.  However, he confirmed yesterday that Bridenstine, is, in fact, a general fund employee.

The cost to Stark County taxpayers will likely not be an additional taxpayer outlay for legal work (i.e. equivalent to paying McTigue $8,000) but in opportunity cost.

Opportunity cost?


To the degree Bridenstine works on for the Maier/Stark BOE Dems interests, he is not available to work on other Stark County government projects.

The SCPR can hear Gonzalez bellyaching about how Bridenstine has a conflict because he once worked for Ferrero.

What an insult!

But Gonzalez is quite adept at handing out insults in a back handed non-confrontation way that does not get him the negative press that Healy experiences.

Balas-Bratton attorney Craig T. Conley put a lot of pressure on the commissioners "not to hire" anybody to advocate in the Ohio Supreme Court for the Maier/Stark Dems interests on the theory that tie-breaker Husted in already represented by Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine's office.

Conley's position makes sense to the SCPR.

But if the commissioners were to do anything in terms of providing the Maier/Stark Dems interests, the Bridenstine choice is excellent in terms of the quality of attorney he is and saving most of if not all of the $8,000 it would have taken to hire McTigue.

Maier and the Stark Dems may end up thanking Commissioners Creighton and Regula for the Bridenstine choice.

The SCPR was totally unimpressed with the McTigue legal opinion letter read by Ohio Democratic Party representative Bill DeMora at the second appointment of George T. Maier, to wit:  (from the SCPR 12/12/2013 blog)
A key piece in the orchestrated "dog and pony show" performance by Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez was the obtaining of and reading of a "legal opinion" by Ohio Democratic Party attorney Don McTigue.

This little ditty (i.e. the McTigue letter) apparently was designed to overwhelm the non-attorney segment of the gathering of SCDP-CC members.

As expert as McTigue supposedly is, he didn't even do enough research to know (see motion to hear Beck video below) that the original qualification date was February 6th (30 days from the January 7th McDonald failure to take office date). 
See/hear McTigue for yourself.

As for Maier, he once again demonstrated to the SCPR yesterday that he is not ready for "prime time" as Stark County sheriff.

As before, when the press gathers around him to ask questions, he stops answering questions when the SCPR approaches and acts the role of a two-year-old in throwing a fit at the prospect of having to answer really tough questions.

And this guy thinks he's ready to be sheriff of "all the people."

No, he is only prepared to be the sheriff of people prepared to kiss his posterior.

When Tim Swanson was sheriff, the SCPR wrote many critical blogs about some aspects of his handling of the sheriff's department and his elevation (e.g. Rick Perez) as key members of his administration.

Nevertheless, Swanson always answered The Report's questions.

Some people think that George T. Maier is vastly superior to Timothy Swanson.

These are folks who buy into the "splash and dash" showman style of Maier, the former Ohio Highway Patrol officer.

When he was safety director of Massillon, the SCPR is told than Maier had his Highway Patrol uniform on a mannequin located in his office.

Isn't that just a tad strange?

Certainly Stark County can do better than this guy as our sheriff!

If Maier does survive to make it to the ballot, "let be written, let it be said" the SCPR will be pushing hard for Stark Countians to elect Larry Dordea as the county's next sheriff.

Larry has answered many tough SCPR questions and been the topic of criticism in these pages (e.g. most recently, his signing "secret ballots" as an Alliance city councilman).  But he manned up and answered them)

But he understands that it is not the role of media to ingratiate themselves to public officials.

This is a lesson that George T. Maier has yet to learn.

Yesterday he pulled out a line from his brother Johnnie and started ragging on bloggers.  As a BOE member back in 2010, Johnnie was part of a Board which tried to deny SCPR right to videotape BOE public meetings.  On that occasion, Johnnie in reference to the SCPR could be overheard mumbling the same line that George parroted yesterday.

The SCPR believes that Johnnie and his appendage Shane Jackson were behind the apparently now defunct Massillon Review.  Pre-SCPR they had tried (never a chance that was ever going to happen) get me to be a front guy for an anti-Stark-Republican Party political attack blog.

Nobody who knows quality blogging says the Stark County Political Report and the Massillon Review in the same breath.

But the Maiers know whereof they speak when they talk of a bad, bad blog.  From personal experience, no?

To show how-out-of-touch he is with anyone taking a close look at him, he made a point to tell me that he prays for me each and every morning.  Moreover, he respects the media, (except - impliedly) any that drill in on him.

The SCPR is flattered that Maier has made me such a big factor in his life.

But The Report takes the prayer thing as being about as  phony as a guy can get.

Pure and simple, the invoking of the pious is nothing more than defense mechanism to show in an obvious self-serving way what a long suffering, good guy George T. Maier is and that he is - to the extent he gets scrutinized - a media martyr. 

The more the SCPR gets to know George T. Maier, the more his warts start popping out plain as day.

That he is Stark County sheriff, even a politically appointed one, the SCPR thinks, is not good for the county.
In Larry Dodea, Stark County has someone who at a very minimum is the match of George T. Maier in policing and administrative ability.

The bonus with Dordea that he is truefully respective of all and understands that it is the role of a public official to have to answer to the public - all of the public - not just his friends.

One final note.

It is regrettable that Commissioner Tom Bernabei got roped into doing the Gonzalez/Maier/Ferruccio/St. John bidding.

The SCPR has enormous respect for Bernabei.

As a long time highly respected Canton Democratic office holder (law director, councilman and service director), he generally demonstrates to the satisfaction of The Report that politics is secondary to him and the well being of Stark Countians is his first priority.

In his referring (in the video) to putting another good man - David Bridenstine - into the political mess that Gonzalez, Maier et al have created, it is clear to the SCPR that Bernabei himself understands that he too has been made a victim of the sheriff appointment process.

While he undoubtedly would not lay it at the feet of Gonzalez and friends, the SCPR does.

Gonzalez, Maier and friends, have in the view of the SCPR, ganged up and mustered up all of the political power they can find in order to force George T. Maier in as sheriff.

Down the line, Commissioner Bernabei - the good man he is - needs to square up with understand who really has caused the mess that he and, indeed, all Stark Countians find themselves it.

And the culprits are not John Ferrero, Tim Swanson, Cynthia Balas-Bratton or Craig T. Conley.

If anything, they are heroic figures for the principle of the rule of law.

For the SCPR's money, it all goes back to George T. Maier brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and Stark Dems' political director Shane Jackson and their apparently misguided calculation that the could politically bully George into the digs at 4500 Atlantic Boulevard.

That is where Commissioner Bernabei ought be focusing his attention!

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