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Government


Lawyers in Columbus would represent Stark sheriff
Commissioners put a $20-thousand cap on potential legal fees
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


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Tim Rudell
 
Downtown Canton, seen from the Stark County Commissioners offices
Courtesy of tpr
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In The Region:

Stark County wants to hire an outside law firm to defend the appointment of its newly sworn-in sheriff.   WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports on yet another turn in an already winding  story.

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Democrat Mike McDonald was elected Stark County sheriff last fall. But for health reasons, he resigned before he was sworn in. County Democrats picked his replacement two weeks ago -- Massillon safety-service director George Maier.

But, retiring Sheriff Tim Swanson, who agreed to stay on while McDonald’s replacement was chosen, filed suit with the Ohio Supreme Court, saying Maier doesn’t meet experience and education requirements.

That echoed the complaint of Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero, who normally represents the sheriff in legal matters. So Ferrero has recused himself, citing conflict of interest, which means the county has to find – and pay for -- outside counsel.  In a special meeting, the commissioners began the process. Commissioner Tom Bernabei: “A motion was made an approved to make application to the Common Pleas Court to appoint the law firm of Roetzel and Andress to represent Sheriff Maier in this law suit.”

By law, the county judges must OK hiring outside counsel.
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