Monday, April 28, 2014


 UPDATE 04/29/2014

Auditor Harold made of point of contacting the SCPR today say that he had no prior acquaintance with Ms. Sweeney prior to her being hired in her present capacity.

The Report has since checked prior blogs done on the employees of the Auditor's office  (LINK) and finds that Ms. Sweeney was listed as being an employee (CAUV coordinator) as the date (in 2013) of that blog.


The Stark County Political Report began a new series last Monday with Volume 1 with an examination of "the commissioners office," "the Stark County treasury" and "the recorder's office."

Today, the series continues with an examination of the auditor's officer and the prosecutor's office.

The prompt for engaging this series was an article which appeared in the Dayton Daily News on April 19th wherein "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 ... ."

The Report has received plaudits from female county workers for having delved into this examination.

Also part of The Report's analysis along the way is whether or not the elected office holders are engaging in what appears to be patently political (male or female) employment practices.
On this latter point, The Report observed last week that Stark treasurer and Republican Alex Zumbar (ironically, a recipient of "non-partisan" Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee [SCDP-CC] action in becoming county treasurer) does not seem to be filtering politics out in his selection of new employees.

Recently, he has hired the daughter of Republican Stark County Probate Court judge Dixie Park and the daughter of Alliance (Zumbar's political base) Republican Alliance councilman-at-large Roger Rhome.

The Report recalls Rhome - several years ago, on being questioned about the strength of his Republican Party ties in Alliance, as minimizing those ties.


What's the saying?

"Actions speak louder than words?"

Anyhow, the charts produced last week seem to indicate that there is a male bias in the hiring of "the top jobs" with the Stark County commissioners, the Stark County auditor and the Stark County recorder.

Moreover, to the SCPR, there is more than a tinge of political bias in hiring practices.

On the gender factor, the national and Ohio Democratic Party operatives are attempting to paint office holding Republicans as being in favor of paying women less than men, which, of course, is a violation of law.

A violation of law?

So why isn't it dealt with in the legal arena?

Because it is extremely difficult to prove in a given case alleging same.

All kinds of legal differentiations are bought to bear by the putative violators as to why in specific case a violation of law has not occurred.

But when one looks at "the gestalt" of what the charts in an overall sense clearly show, it appears that top positions in government "from the White House to the local court house" are weighted towards men.

And Stark County appears - so far in the SCPR's examination - to be no different.

Taking a look at the Stark County auditor's office:

Aren't color contrasts wonderful?

In the auditor's office, think maybe the bottom pay ranks are dominated by "the pink" whereas the top pay ranks are dominated by "the blue?"


It could be that Republican auditor Alan Harold inheritled the bias towards men inasmuch he has not been auditor all that long.

He ousted Democrat Kim Perez in November, 2010 probably as a consequence of Perez being perceived by the Stark County voting public has having been "politically" too close to former Stark County treasurer Gary D. Zeigler who The Report thinks the public blames him for not having had administrative practices, procedures, polices and secure facilities in place so as to have prevented his former chief deputy treasurer Vince Frustaci from having stolen perhaps as much as upwards of $3 million in Stark County taxpayer money.

But he has been auditor for the better part of four years and there comes a point in time that a new officeholder is responsible for correct inequities if they exist.

Harold can crow about the highly talented and accomplished Anita Henderson as his top paid official.

However, the above-chart shows she is clearly "the exception rather than the rule."

Of the top 20 auditor employees, only 3 are females.


What could there possibly be about doing administrative real property appraisal work that men have a special talent for, especially in "the top pay" categories?

That is a tough one to sell to the general public, no?

One more thing about Harold.

In hiring former Republican Canton mayorality candidate A.R. "Chip" Conde (by the way; a favorite of the SCPR in his race against Democrat William J. Healy, II in their 2011 general election standoff), the SCPR thinks that it did not hurt Conde in the slightest (The Report being just a tad sarcastic) that he is a top Stark County Republican.

Here is an email the SCPR received after last week's blog:


Here is what the auditor's office database shows on Zustin and Sweeney:

During the six plus years that the SCPR has been in existence, most of the fire from The Report on what is suspected to have been on the basis of a political party ID litmus test has been focused on county Democratic officeholders.

Now why would that be?

How about:  most countywide and to a certain degree city (i.e. Canton and Massillon) government offices have been controlled by Democrats?

Does anybody believe that Republicans, as they reverse things, will be any different?

The SCPR certainly doesn't think so and early returns (Zumbar and Harold) suggest that The Report's skepticism is well-founded, no?

Although they both evidence being well-up-to-it to do their jobs, The Report believes there was a political element to Republicans Brant Luther (February, 2013) and Chris Nichols (June, 2013) being hired as county administrators [budget director].

Turning now to the Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero's office.

The Report has been both highly critical of how Ferrero has run his office and laudatory with the latter coming in how he stood up in heroic fashion with former sheriff Tim Swanson to get in the way of the Massillon Maier political machine in its ongoing drive to make George T. Maier something other than the SCDP-CC appointed sheriff.

Here is what the Ferrero-led office chart looks like:

Pretty impressive along gender lines, no?

While the top four of five positions are held by men; of the top 30 the numbers are nearly 50/50 on the gender factor.

For the most part, these are "professional level" (i.e. lawyers) employees.

Nothing against John Kurtzman, Dennis Barr and Ross Rhodes, (The Report is not familiar with Caldwell), but for the SCPR's money Ferrero's "top gun prosecutor" is Chryssa Hartnett.

For that matter, it is beyond the SCPR how she gets bested by some $12,000 by Michelle Cordova. Two more years (Cordova's "adjusted" longevity) and she gets $12,000 more?

And from what the SCPR hears from the numerous Stark County lawyers that The Report is acquainted with, Hartnett is Ferrero's best litigator.


On the political front there are a couple of notable matters to discuss.

First, what is the role of John Kurtzman?

The Kurtzman factor seems to come up quite a lot in The Report's dialogues with members of the Stark County Bar.

The SCPR hears that there is a political bond between Ferrero and Kurtzman that goes back to Ferrero's Massillon days (law director, January, 1988 to February, 2003)

Kurtzman's critics are not that local lawyers do not like him, but they question "the value added" in terms of the prosecutor's office being a "lean and mean" prosecuting machine.  Often the SCPR hears that the $84,414 could be better used in the trenches of prosecuting Stark's "bad guys and gals."

Also interesting is the presence of Vivianne Duffrin on the Ferrero payroll.

Because she was of the opinion as of February 5, 2013 (as least former sheriff Tim Swanson says so) that George T. Maier was not qualified under Ohio Revised Code Section 311.01 to be Stark County sheriff, she was let go by Maier in October, 2013.

So where does she surface?

With her former employer (1992 through the date of her shifting to the sheriff's office) and fellow Democrat John D. Ferrero.

Ferrero rehired her shortly after she resigned (on December 11th) after the SCDP-CC reappointed Maier on the 11th after he had been ousted on November 6th by the Ohio Supreme Court (Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto).  On Maier's ouster, Swanson had brought her back from the 6th through December 11th).

Was bringing political ally Duffrin back really the most efficient and productive thing Ferrero could have done with the $55,805?


There you have it folks!

Volume 2 of the SCPR's analysis of the gender/political pay/hire mix in the Stark County departments of government.

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