Friday, September 5, 2014


(source of DOJ building/logo photo is Wikipedia commons)
(Jackson Twp logo from the township website)

The Stark County Political Report has learned from a number of sources that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) apparently has referred the matter of EEOC complaints filed by a number of Jackson Township's police force to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for investigation.

From what The Report has learned, the DOJ has or soon (within two weeks) will be setting up shop in Cleveland as the base from which its inquiry is to be undertaken.

The SCPR does not have confirmation from the DOJ itself that it has embarked on an investigation at the behest of the EEOC.

Nevertheless, The Report is persuaded that it is at a stage of proceedings that could lead to the federal government filing a lawsuit against Jackson Township.

In examining the EEOC complaint process published by the agency on the Internet and putting together pieces of the puzzle in the overall scheme of things, the SCPR believes the following has occurred since of at least one such complaint early in 2013:
    • that the EEOC has made, it appears, at the very least, a preliminary finding that one or more Jackson Police Department EEOC complainants have made out a prima facie (on the face of it) case of discrimination, and, 
      • that the EEOC has endeavored to reach a mediated/negotiated settlement with township officials, but that the efforts have been unavailing, and therefore it seems
        • that the EEOC has made a referral to the U.S. Department of Justice as to whether or not the EEOC proceeding(s) meet the criteria needed to be satisfied before the federal government files a lawsuit in any case of alleged employment discrimination.
          • A quote from the EEOC website:
            • EEOC files employment discrimination lawsuits in select cases. When deciding whether to file a lawsuit, we consider several factors, 
                • including the seriousness of the violation, 
                • the type of legal issues in the case, and 
                • the wider impact the lawsuit could have on our efforts to combat workplace discrimination. 
      On January 30, 2013, the SCPR wrote its first blog on the acrimony within the Jackson Township police department (JTPD).

      The SCPR is not going to rehash the material written in that blog and by this LINK (also, a second blog [June 5, 2013] LINK) refers readers that particular blog in order to get up to speed on the background that generated the complaints filed with the EEOC.

      Suffice it to say that Zink agreed in a Ohio attorney general brokered agreement to retire, to wit:

      Some may have thought that the Zink retirement was the end of the matter.

      The well known expression on "thoughts" is "a penny for your thoughts."

      Well, when all is said and done, it may turn out to be that those 'thoughts'" appear to be worth just that: $0.01!

      Undoubtedly, Jackson Township officials are bracing for what may be yet to come.

      And if being the subject of a EEOC lawsuit proves out to be the case, the SCPR thinks that township officials have nobody to blame but themselves in failing to deal effectively with what appears to have been a long festering problem.

      They are likely "hoping against hope" that nothing materializes between now and November 4th; this year's general election date.

      If the EEOC acts before November 4th, township officials have to be concerned as to what, if any, impact that such an action has on its police levy requests being voted upon by Jackson voters.

      The SCPR has written that The Report thinks that Jacksonians are getting a very bad value on township policing services.

      Not only have troubled police department employee relationships been problematical for township officials, which, of course, - one would think - has to spill over in one way or another in terms of deteriorating department morale and the effect of such on the providing of policing services to township residents; additionally, there is the very steep cost that Jacksonians pay for having their very own police department.

      The Jackson Police Department currently stands at some $7.5 million.

      By contrast, Plain Township (a larger population township [about 52,000] which probably has more crime than Jackson [about 37,000]) pays about $1.5 million, more or less, on policing services by contracting with the Stark County sheriff).

      The SCPR's calculation is that a mill of property tax brings in about $1.64 million dollars.  So multiplying 5.75 * $1.64 million, if the November 4th renewal and increase pass; it appears that the Jackson Police Department will have future operating budgets at about $9.5 million.

      Astonishing, no?

      We all know that Jackson is Stark's wealthiest community, but $9.5 million for what Plain gets for $1.5 million?

      An irony about this prospect is that when James N. Walters ran for Stark County commissioner in 2010, one of his big campaign items was "fiscal austerity."

      While the SCPR thinks that the man who defeated him (Thomas Bernabei) may be losing his fiscal bearings (along with fellow commissioners Janet Creighton and Richard Regula), witness their not exploring what appears to The Report to have been an opportunity to upgrade the county's 9-1-1 system for $1.5 million less than the commissioners approved in awarding a CAD contract; if Walters had been elected, one has to wonder - given his Jackson impact - about his actual commitment to "fiscal austerity."

      If Jackson voters approve the JPD renewal/increase levies, the department's budget will be - by the SCPR's calculation - increasing by 27%.

      Jackson Township's officials appear to the SCPR to be among the top fiscally irresponsible officials in Stark County.

      And their overall handling of police department matters put their management skills in serious question.

      With the EEOC's consideration seemingly ratcheting up; it may be that "the worse is yet to come?"

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