Friday, June 5, 2015



There is not a hint in the Lee Plakas legal brief of what may become a major issue of contention in his clients' (the Stark County/Oho Democratic Parties) quest to keep Thomas Bernabei off-the-ballot as a independent candidate for mayor of Canton against two term sitting Democratic mayor William J. Healy, II.

The Stark County Political Report has learned that there may be a move afoot by Bernabei-supporting Stark County Republicans to challenge the right of the Stark County Democratic Party Board of Elections (BOE members William V. Sherer, II and Sam Ferruccio) to sit in judgment of the Bernabei candidacy protest.

Such a challenge would be, if it materializes, somewhat like the one mounted against Deametrious St. John in February, 2014 during the protest to Geoge T. Maier's right to be on the ballot as a candidate for sheriff in November, 2014.

The issues are a little bit different in that St. John was alleged to have pre-determined - prior to a BOE required as a matter of law hearing on the matter - that Maier was qualified.

Here is a summation how local civic activist and attorney Craig T. Conley put it to the BOE in February, 2014:

In the Bernabei matter, the point is that both Sherer and Ferruccio as members of the Stark County Executive Committee and as such - whether or not they actually voted on the filing of the protest in the name of the Stark County Democratic Party - are thereby sitting in judgment of a contest in which they are in effect among the contestants.

Here is a current listing of Stark County Democratic Party Executive Committee members which, of course, includes Ferruccio and Sherer, II.

To the SCPR, an interesting side matter that may or may not be relevant to their qualifications to hear the protest of Tom Bernabei's mayoralty candidacy is a Stark Dems' campaign finance report for the pre-primary 2015 reporting period showing substantial contributions by Ferruccio and Sherer, II to the organized Stark County Democratic Party.

At the very least - to borrow from a Lee Plakas' argument technique in his Bernabei protest brief - the contributions show how utterly committed Ferruccio and Sherer, II are to the Stark County Democratic Party.

The Report "suspects" that there may be a "wink and a nod" understanding that as the Dems' appointees to the BOE, they are expected to support the party's administrative operations.

As BOE members, they are paid a little over $17,000 annually.

A key Stark County Republican and Bernabei supporter is openly talking about the Ferruccio/Sherer, II apparent  "conflict-in-interest" that they as quasi-judicial officials have.

The implication is that should Ferruccio and Sherer be disqualified then the Republican members would surely vote to certify Bernabei and moreover to go on, as the only members qualified to decide the question, to vote to reject the Stark/Ohio Dems' protest.

In such an instance, there would be no tie for Republican Ohio secretary of state Jon Husted to break as he did in favor of Maier as GOP and Dem BOE members voted two against, two for Democrat Maier.

The only recourse then would be for the protesters to appeal to the courts.

Interesting, no?

Could it be that Stark/Ohio Dems' attorney Lee Plakas will have to amend his already voluminous brief to address the being talked-about conflict-in-interest problem?

Stay tuned!

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