Monday, April 21, 2014


Update #1

Oops!  The SCPR, a source says, missed another "suspiciously partisan-based" appointment by Republican Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar.

The Source says that Karli Rhome is the daughter of  Republican member of Alliance City Council Roger Rhome (councilman-at-large).

It appears that Republican Zumbar may be trying to play catch up with various Democratic Stark County political subdivision elected officials who seem to have a penchant for rewarding political loyalists at the expense of Stark Countians at large.

The SCPR is not impressed!


Update #2

Among revelations in the Bishoff Dayton Daily News article (referred to in today's blog; not included in the original blog) were certain moves within the Ohio Treasurer's office (administered by Republican Josh Mandel) which some think are an examples of discrimination against women getting equal pay for equal work in the public sector.

Mandel opponent and Democrat Connie Pillich has issued the following press release:


CONTACT: Jake Strassberger (513) 580-8444,
Connie Pillich Statement On Josh Mandel’s Hiring Practices As Treasurer

As Treasurer, Mandel Oversaw a Sizable Exodus of Female Employees, Created A Pay Gap Where One Didn't Exist

CINCINNATI – In response to yesterday’s Dayton Daily News investigative report detailing (1) the 35-person exodus of women at the Treasurer’s office during Josh Mandel’s tenure and (2) his creation of a pay gap that didn't exist when he took office, State Representative Connie Pillich issued the following statement:

“It’s disappointing to hear that Ohio’s Treasurer of State would shortchange families this way,” said State Representative Connie Pillich.  “This is a major problem in Ohio and around the country, and that anyone would underpay and under-hire women doesn’t just hurt them: it hurts their families.  This shouldn’t be happening in any office—public or private—and it especially shouldn’t be happening in the State Treasurer’s office.”

Equal Work, Equal Pay
Stark County  
(In the Public Sector)

Yesterday, as the Stark County Political Report was browsing the Internet, The Report came across in "investigative journalism" piece published by the Dayton Daily News (LINK) Gender pay gaps widen in statewide offices; Kasich, FitzGerald both have high pay gaps between men and women (Laura A. Bischoff - Columbus bureau, April 19, 2014).

Among the important findings by Bishoff (in language take directly from her article):
  • The average pay gap between men and women in the offices of four of Ohio’s five elected statewide officials has grown as high as nearly $10 an hour, while across state government the gap has shrunk to an average of 86 cents an hour ... .
  • Women working in Gov. John Kasich’s office earn on average $9.81 an hour less than the men — the highest gender pay gap among the state’s five elected statewide officeholders, according to data from the Ohio Department of Administrative Services,
    • The gap is more than twice the $3.99 an hour inequity under former Gov. Ted Strickland in 2010
    • Kasich’s likely Democratic opponent in the November election, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, has a gender pay gap of $7.02 an hour between men and women in his office, which is high when compared to the offices of the state auditor, secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general
  • Across state employment, the pay gap has averaged $1.09 over the past seven years and most recently was 86 cents an hour
Women being worked over is nothing new in America.  All one has to do is to give a thorough reading to Gail Collins' America's Women to grasp the shocking details of the guff women of the "land of opportunity" (for some) have suffered going back to 1607.  (LINK:  NY Times review)

Certainly the Collins' work is a gestalt of the treatment that American women have been meted out.  The inspiring part of her treatise are her multiple examples of how women have taken adversity and turned a "sow's ear into silk."

Of course, many of us have had first hand anecdotal observational experience of the discrimination that women have had to endure.  As the father of three highly accomplished daughters, I have stood side-by-side with them fighting the good fight in combating the  "just because you are a woman" part of American culture.

Earlier this month (April 8th) America marked "Equal Work, Equal Pay Day," and it appears that the Democratic Party was out in full force on the eighth (LINK) with President Obama in the lead on the issue.

Republicans bristle at the notion that the Democrats have the high ground on the issue (LINK) and are out to show that they are every bit the proponents of equal pay for equal work.

Nevertheless Republicans seem to have "a cross to bear" on the issue inasmuch as on April 9th, all Republican United States senators vote "no" (LINK) to allow the matter (Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014) to come up for a vote.  Sixty votes are needed in the Senate for a matter to get an "up or down vote."

What did Ohio Republican senator Rob Portman have to say about his "no" vote on the bill:
I think it’s really important that Republicans say strongly, we’re against discrimination, we acknowledge that on any number of fronts there is still a problem out there, and that’s why we need good strong laws, but we don’t want laws that would discourage work.
So it is against this background (the Bishoff investigation, the Obama "equal work, equal pay" factor, and the US Senate inaction) that the Stark County Political Report has decided to examine Stark County political subdivision records.

Of course, those readers who have become accustomed to the "inquiring mind" of the SCPR, (to the consternation and dismay of many Stark County elected officials) have to know that the referenced background items would perk up the interest of The Report as to whether or not the findings of the outstanding work Bischoff would correlate at all within Stark County government.

Accordingly, The Report obtained a dabatabase listing of Stark County employees as of April 17th to do analysis of how Stark County departments of government do in terms of male/female differentiation, if any.

For this Volume One of this SCPR planned series of  - over time - examining the payrolls of the villages, cities and township governments to determine which local governments are doing well or not doing so well in the matter of equal pay for equal work on the basis of gender.

Today, Report has decided to begin the series with an examination of the payrolls of the Stark County commissioners' office, the Stark County treasury and the Stark County recorders' office.


Interesting, no?

Four of the top five employees are?

You've got it!


And two of the men (Luther and Nicholson) have been on the job for a little over a year whereas some of the veteran female employees have been on the job since 1990, 1998 and 2004.

Only one of three has cracked the top five pay grade spots and that puts her (Young) only and in the number four (#4) spot.


Probably the most damning factor of the commissioners' office listing (in terms of not having a female among the "very top" of the list) is that they have hired their top three (hourly pay rate-wise) employees since January, 2013.

It could be that the SCPR's memory is faulty, but The Report does not recall that a female was among the finalists when the commissioners' selected Brant Luther to be their chief administrator.

Moreover, when the commissioners hired Chris Nichols as budget director, they merely picked him (he finished second to Luther in the chief administrator hunt) without posting the position to the general public.

Think maybe just maybe a highly qualified female might have applied for that position?

Could have been, no?

This is a case-in-point that, to say the least, it disappoints the SCPR when Stark County elected officials make appointments without having posted the position.

The SCPR is on repetitive blog-record of thinking the world of Chris Nichols and his performance as budget director.

So this blog is hardly a blight on him.

Rather it is a knock on the commissioners for having circumvented "due diligence procedures" to ensure that Nichols was the very best candidate available.

The Report thinks they dis-served Nichols, themselves and Stark Countians in aborting the employment process in making the budget director hiring decision.

Also curious is how Marsha Cimadevilla (hired in 1998) is paid less on an hourly basis than Rick Flory.  They are both managers.  Moreover, it may be that since Mike Hanke left as chief county administrator and the commissioners hired Nichols to do the budgeting that Flory does not have the responsibilities (less or no work on budget matters as he had under Hanke) that he once had.

Could gender fairness indicate that Cimadevilla deserves a pay raise?


Five of the top seven treasury positions are held by men in the Stark County treasury.

However, it is hard to make a gender discrimination assessment of any degree when the number one and four employees (pay wise) are females.

More troublesome to the SCPR about Zumbar is maybe an emerging picture of political bias in how he pays his employees.

Rota Cutter was the chief cashier for former treasurer Gary D. Zeigler (a Democrat).  She is a Democrat according to Secretary of State Jon Husted's records.

That she works for a Republican at all in one his top positions would seem to belie that political bias might be a factor in pay differential.  However, Cutter has been an employee of the treasury since 2000 thereby giving her more than seven (7) years seniority over the Republican Allbritain.

Undoubtedly, Zumbar has qualitative factors he would point out as justifying Allbritain's nearly $5 per hour higher pay grade than Cutter, no?

And, of course, there is the fact that he has Democrat Lem Green on the payroll.  Green, Stark County Political Report readers will recall, was a long term employee of Zeigler who left the embattled Zeigler's employment in July, 2010 saying some rather unkind things about Zeigler.

Interesting enough, Green, likely about 70 years old now, is listed as being an"intern."  Really?  Aren't interns high school and college students for the most part?

They are.

But in Stark County employment practice, county elected officials are known to re-employ former or retired former employees and designate them as being "interns."

Green is an example of such as the SCPR believes Wallace, Bolek, Prendes and Collins are.

That they are "not" novices, as their "latest" date of employment might lead one to believe, explains why their pay grade is higher than some "regular" employees of Stark's treasury.

Can't be anymore disingenuous than that, no?

The final factor which indicates to the SCPR that Zumbar pays attention to one's political connections is the hire of one Camilla Park.

She does fit the role of being a more traditional type of employee that fills an "intern" spot.

However, SCPR Internet research indicates that Camilla is the daughter of Stark County Probate Court judge Dixie Park (of Alliance [also Zumbar's home turf] and therefore is not as typical as one might think.


Wonder if that position was available to the sons and daughters of the Stark County taxpaying public.

The SCPR generally thinks well of Zumbar as evidenced in quite a number of blogs. However if The Report suspicions are correct on the Park hiring, it is a sad day for The Report in that such is not a distinguishing practice.

How ironic for Zumbar, who the SCPR thinks would not be Stark County treasurer but for the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (under pressure from the Stark County commissioners and generally perceived public support) appointing him on October 31, 2011 to invoke what seems to The Report to have been partisan political factors in making the Park hire.

To make matters worse, she is paid more than longer term interns.

The SCPR has learned "not to be surprised" about anything either Republican or Democratic elected officeholders do.

Because Republicans have not held many countywide offices over the last decade or so, they have not had the opportunity that the Democrats have had to give their political buddies jump starts at obtaining taxpayer funded jobs.

But with the Republicans having gained control of the auditor's office and the treasury, that picture is changing.  And the SCPR will be just as diligent in ferreting out Republican favoritism as that of the Democrats.

Before long and over a long stretch of time, the SCPR plans to take a detailed look at all Stark County political subdivision payrolls and tease out what appears to be employment based on what the SCPR thinks is primarily politically/connection based rather than merit based.

The SCPR suspects that political favoritism is far more prevalent as a primary factor in Stark County political subdivision government than anybody presently knows. 

Political favoritism layered over what may be some degree of gender bias is not a very pretty picture of the management by some elected officials of the Stark County political subdivision workforce.

And they wonder why the rest of us are growing more and more disillusioned with the governments they administer?


Surprisingly enough Stark Recorder Rick Campbell seems to come off better than either the commissioners or the Stark treasury on the gender pay factor.

However, before being too kind to Campbell, the SCPR reminds leaders that Campbell, he says - at his own initiative -  a number of years ago went out and snatched up Kody Gonzalez (the son of Stark County  Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez [also, at the chief deputy clerk of courts - Canton Municipal Court and the elected fiscal officer of Jackson Township]) to leapfrog over everybody else in the department in a position to become chief deputy (most likely, the SCPR thinks, to be a female) to become his "top-paid" chief deputy clerk.

Currently, the only question The Report has is why Dave Irwin has leapfrogged (promotion and pay-wise) over much longer serving female employees?

Could it be more a political factor than a gender factor, if either?


Irwin ran (unsuccessfully) as the Democratic candidate in Ward 2 for Massillon City Council Republican incumbent Nancy Halter in November, 2013.

Campbell and the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr wing of the Massillon Democratic Party were big time supporters of Irwin in the fight by the Maier forces (LINK) to gain a foothold in Massillon's council in order to get more council support for the programs, policies and practices of Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

The Maier political machine, the SCPR thinks, was the key reason why Catazaro-Perry defeated 28 year mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr.

There you have it folks.

The first in a ongoing series that the SCPR will be publishing in upcoming days (weeks) in a look at whether or not Stark County's elected officials put female employees on a lower rung "opportunity-wise" along the same lines that the Dayton Daily News article suggests.

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