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The Suburbanite
  • Stark Democrats to meet Feb. 5 to choose sheriff

  • he Stark County Democratic Party’s Central Committee will meet Feb. 5 at the Mayfield Senior Center in Canton to decide who should be Stark County’s next sheriff.

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  • Stark County Democrats will meet next week to appoint the county’s next sheriff.
    Randy Gonzalez, chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party, sent a letter Monday to the roughly 200 members of the party’s Central Committee to notify them of the meeting at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Mayfield Senior Center at 3825 13th St. SW.
    The committee’s appointment will serve as sheriff until January 2015.
    Voters will decide in the November 2014 election who should fill the remainder of Sheriff-elect Michael A. McDonald’s term, which expires in January 2017. McDonald notified county commissioners Jan. 3 that he could not assume the office due to an undisclosed medical condition. Sheriff Timothy Swanson, who was to retire Jan. 6, has agreed to stay as interim sheriff until a new sheriff was appointed.
    By law, the county Democratic Central Committee is responsible for filling the vacancy since McDonald was a registered Democrat. The position pays $94,691 a year.
    Three candidates — Stark County Sheriff Lt. Louis Darrow, Hartville Police Chief Lawrence Dordea and Massillon Safety-Service Director George Maier — have started the multi-step process to be certified as eligible for the appointment. Dordea is a Republican, making him an unlikely choice by the opposing party.
    The new Stark County sheriff will oversee  nearly $19 million operating budget and a staff of roughly 200. He will be responsible for the Stark County Jail that has a capacity to hold 501 inmates but currently holds only 400 inmates due to lack of employees.
    ABOUT THE APPLICANTS
    The Stark County Democratic Central Committee likely will have three candidates to choose from for Stark County sheriff when the committee meets Feb. 5. The committee’s appointment will fill the vacancy left by Sheriff-elect Michael A. McDonald, who is unable to serve as sheriff due to an undisclosed medical condition. The three candidates:
    Stark County Sheriff Lt. Louis Darrow
    Darrow, who now oversees the operations and patrol division, has worked for the sheriff’s office for 26 years, beginning as a jail corrections officer, then as a deputy, before being promoted to sergeant in 1997 and to lieutenant in August.If appointed, Darrow plans to fulfill McDonald’s vision for the office by fully reopening the county jail, adding officers to road patrol and opening a detective bureau.
    Darrow, who grew up in Akron and moved to Stark County roughly 14 years ago, lives in Jackson Township with his wife, Laura, who is an assistant prosecutor for Massillon, and their two children, Matthew and Katherine.
    He has received the endorsement of Sheriff Timothy Swanson.
    Hartville Police Chief Lawrence Dordea
    Dordea joined the Hartville Police Department in 2008 and became the village’s police chief a year later. He has served as an Alliance councilman since 2010, but is more well known for his 30-year career with the Alliance Police Department where he first served as an officer then became chief in 1998. Dordea has twice unsuccessfully sought the sheriff’s post as a Republican candidate, first against Swanson in 2008, then against McDonald in November. If appointed, Dordea plans to open a detective bureau, increase road patrols and enhance the county’s special task forces to aggressively pursue violent crime, gangs and drugs.
    Page 2 of 2 - Dordea lives in Alliance with his wife, Deanna. They have four children, Christopher, Jillian, Adam and Alexander.
    Massillon Safety-Service Director George Maier
    Maier, who became Massillon’s safety-service director a year ago and serves as a reserve deputy for the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, has spent the bulk of his career as a trooper for the Ohio Highway Patrol, a job he started in 1983 and retired from as a district commander in 2007. Before coming home to Stark County, Maier served the assistant director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety from 2007 and 2011.
    If appointed, Maier wants to improve cooperation among law enforcement agencies, including seeking a solution to the county’s fractured radio communications system that has hindered emergency responders from talking with responders from other agencies.
    Maier lives in Massillon with his wife, Misty. They have three sons, George II, Johnnie, a state trooper, and Michael, a Massillon police officer.