Wednesday, April 2, 2014






$628,600 ANNUALLY!

UPDATE:  5:45 PM

Here is a follow up e-mail from Massillon Councilman Milan Chovan on the situation of Michael Maier.

From:  Milan Chovan   (Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 5:25 PM)

To:  Martin Olson

Hi, Martin. 

I read the update to your blog that was made after my voicemail this morning.  I'd like to explain further to clear up a few things that I might not have made clear in the voicemail.

First of all, the city ordinance regarding staffing levels sets the number of sergeants at 6, not 7.  Rogers would have been number 7 without the retirement of an existing sergeant.  In that case, it would appear that Maier would have had to have been demoted, according to the city's Codified Ordinances. 

Earlier today, I found out that there might be another issue regarding Maier. As I understand it, if two officers pass the sergeant's test as did Maier and Rogers, the results are good for one year.  So, if the more senior sergeant candidate that passed the test is promoted, then another sergeant opening occurs within one year from the test date,  the junior officer could be promoted without retaking the test. I was informed today that, if Rogers would have been promoted when Maier was, well over a year ago, Maier's previous test results would now be expired.  The contention is that Maier should not have been made a sergeant  when he was and, therefore, does not have a valid test result to allow him to be a sergeant now, even though there would only be 6 sergeants on the department.  

In effect, right now, there should only be 5 sergeants with Rogers as one of them and an opening for a 6th sergeant that should be filled after a new test is administered to any officer qualified to take it.  If another officer with more seniority than Maier passes the test, he would be promoted before Maier.  At least that's what I was told. Confusing isn't it?

Thanks for the follow up Milan. 

It is confusing and that's why I wanted SCPR readers to hear from you in your capacity as chairman of Massillon City Council's Police and Fire Committee.

UPDATE:  9:15 AM

Republican Councilman-at-Large Milan Chovan (chairman of Massillon City Council's Police & Fire Committee) this morning in response to a SCPR inquiry as to whether or not Massillon's Fifth District Court of Appeals loss on the Rogers case is likely to result in Michael Maier being demoted said that he does not think so.

He explained that Massillon very recently had its full ordinance authorized seven sergeants on staff and that until the very recent retirement of one of the sergeants, a promotion of Thomas Rogers to sergeant would have put Massillon over the seven sergeant authorization.  Accordingly, it appears that Maier will be remaining a sergeant.

Chovan did say that the matter of retroactive pay to Rogers at the grade of sergeant is something else and he believes that it is an issue that Massillon government will have to deal with.


The Stark County Political Report thinks that if you had asked Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (executive vice chair of the Stark County Democratic Party) in January, 2013 if the family fortunes were flying high in terms of being dominant factors in Stark County police work (also Ohio:  2007 - 2011, George T. Maier, assistant director/director [for a few days] of the Department of Public Safety),  he most likely would have had ONE BIG SMILE on his face.

The Report's take on this former chairman of the Stark Dems is that he is a firm believer that "might makes right" and he has what it takes to play the political bully to take himself and his political allies to the apex of Stark County politics and government.

Maier, Jr learned power politics from one of Ohio's all time masters.

But these days, Johnnie might have a more sober look on his face.

Yesterday, the Fifth District Court of Appeals (5DCOA) came down with a decision which might result in his nephew Massillon policeman Michael Maier (George's son) losing his rank of sergeant in the Massillon Police Department (MPD).

Here's how Rogers attorney (Conley) put the significance of the 5DCOA ruling:

Yesterday, the Fifth District Court of Appeals issued its Opinion in the above-referenced cause affirming the Trial Court's (Judge Haas) reversal of the City of Massillon Civil Service Commission's decision denying Massillon Police Officer Rogers' promotion to Sergeant.

Accordingly, barring an unlikely successful appeal to' the Ohio Supreme Court, the City of Massillon is now obliged to retroactively promote Officer Rogers to Sergeant and to pay him back wages and fringe benefits therefor.

Ironically enough, the Massillon Police Officer unlawfully appointed sergeant in Officer Rogers' stead was George T. Maier's son, Michael Maier, noting that the younger Maier's promotion was effectuated while his father was the Massillon Safety Service Director.

To get a full appreciation of the full background on this story, readers of this SCPR blog should click on this LINK to access a blog published by The Report on April 29, 2013 providing quite a bit of background own how Micheal came to be promoted sergeant at the MPD by Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry over one Thomas Rogers even though the Stark Court of Common Pleas (Judge John Haas) and now the 5DCOA has found "as a matter of law" that Rogers has more seniority than Maier.

Originally the Massillon Civil Service Commission disregarded Rogers seniority factor (3 to 0) in coming to a decision as to recommend to Mayor Catazaro-Perry whom to promote.

And the SCPR believes that the commission was not politically motivated but was merely misinformed as to what the operative law was at the time of its determination.

How did that happen?

Well, that is a good question which the SCPR does not have an answer for.

Perhaps it is that there is something in the water in certain parts of Massillon?

But the disconnect between the law as it is - and how the Maiers and others think it is - seems to be common phenomenon at play when it comes to Michael and father George qualifying for public policing positions.

The erroneous Massillon Civil Service Commissioner interpretation of the law (at least at the Stark Common Pleas and 5DCOA levels) was rendered on November 27, 2012.

A couple months or so later, Michael's father George, after guaranteeing Stark Countians that if he applied to succeed November, 2012 Sheriff-elect Mike McDonald (who, due to illness, could not take office on January 7, 2013) he would be qualified, was proved to be wrong (after being appointed sheriff on February 5, 2013 by the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee) when on November 6, 2013 the Ohio Supreme Court (Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto) said he failed to meet the criteria of Ohio Revised Code Section 311.01(B)(8)(a) or (b).

Now George is under challenge once again in the Ohio Supreme Court as to whether or not he is qualified to be the Stark County Democratic Party's candidate for sheriff in the upcoming May 6, 2014 primary election.  (Balas-Bratton v. Maier, Writ of Prohibition, filed March 11, 2014)

The main point of this blog is to examine the financial implications to Massillon City finances in what appears to the SCPR to have been too hasty of a decision on the part of Mayor Catazaro-Perry to exercising her executive power to do so in promoting Michael to sergeant given the legal challenge that was surely to follow.

Presumably readers know about the dire financial condition that the city of Massillon is in these days.

Even before she took office as mayor (elected in November, 2011), Catazaro-Perry was trying to get the State of Ohio Auditor's (SOA) office to making an official finding that Massillon was in some sort of financial condition.

But the SOA rejected her overture.

If Catazaro-Perry has anything going for her, it is her doggedness.  And that could come from her political protege and sponsor Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

Finally, she did persuade the SOA in 2013 to declare Massillon to be in fiscal emergency.  On May 13, 2013 she wrote SOA David Yost and on October 8th, he accommodated her.

Ironically, yesterday the SOA came out with the requested audit and here is its recommendation "savings" list:


$628,600 in "Annual Cost Savings/Revenue Enhancements."

Interestingly enough, the mayor is reported be saying that Massillon may not implement all the SOA's recommendations.


Who asked for the audit?

Of course, even if Massillon were to implement all the SOA recommendations, the savings will have to be reduced by the amount of money the Catazaro-Perry administration will likely have to pay Thomas Rogers.

And it has been one big merry-go-round and she (as the SCPR sees it) has chosen to lock horns with Massillon City Council over coming up with a plan to present to the Massillon Financial Planning Commission (set up as part of the SOA declaring Massillon to be in fiscal emergency) for its approval.

The Report hears that the mayor convinced her fellows on the commission to disapprove council's plan submitted to the commission recently.

Which in light of the recommendations of the SOA yesterday and the "miraculous" reduction in the deficit from $2.6 million to $1.1 million reported recently makes one wonder whether or not a declaration fiscal emergency was merited in the first place.

Nevertheless Catazaro-Perry and council are at loggerheads and who knows if, when and how the stand off will end.

The Report is told by a knowledgeable source that the State of Ohio member of the commission (having met with council at a work session on Monday night) may be changing her view of council's plan.

With all the financial hubbub going on, it cannot be good news that it is looking pretty certain (the 5DCOA decision is susceptible of being appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court) that Massillon will now have to promote Thomas Rogers to sergeant with retroactive pay and benefits.

In light of Massillon's financial problems, it will be interesting to see how much Massillon will be set back because of Catazaro-Perry's premature action on the sergeant promotion.

And, the SCPR is told, that it may be that Massillon's code of ordinances does not allow both Rogers and Maier to be sergeants.  (See UPDATE above).

If such proves to be the case, it appears that Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry (one would think under the advice of Maier, Jr [who is Massillon's clerk of courts] and his appendage and deputy clerk R. Shane Jackson) has made a real mess of things in Massillon.

While Johnnie, Jr and his political friends and allies may think that they can muscle their way through every situation; maybe, just maybe, political power has it limits.

If things have gotten worse for Johnnie, Jr and his political pals with the adverse 5DCOA decision - so what - might be the response. They only getting what they deserve.

And that may be.

But what should not be acceptable to the voters in Massillon and across Stark County (i.e. the sheriff thing) is for political power mongers to drag all of us into the consequences of losing the political power game.

There is yet a chance that the exercise of executive and political power may in the end prevail.

If they do or do not succeed, the play of ill-advised executive action and power politics will have markedly damaged Massillon (re:  its safety forces) and Stark County (the sheriff's situation) in terms of the public perception of the priorities of interests.

Which is prevailing, the public must be saying:  the public interest or somebody's personal interest?

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