Geauga Commissioners Approved JFS Levy for March

By: Frogmore

Jobs and Family Services (JFS) needs to cut back their spending. JFS claims they need more money and that this is only a renewal of their 2015 levy. By 2019 JFS should have found a way to cut back on their expenses. A levy is supposed to be a temporary solution, not something that keeps getting renewed.

Director Craig Swenson said if they levy doesn’t pass, they will need money from the general fund. Geauga County Treasurer Christopher Hitchcock, when questioned recently at a meeting, said the county has a portfolio of $100 million, including $33 million in cash. Let the county fund JFS if they really think they need the money. Stop putting irresponsible spending on the backs of the taxpayers.

Or JFS could stop paying the $75,000/yr. salary to one of Prosecutor James Flaiz’s investigators, Scott Christopher. Flaiz says that Christopher spends forty hours a week investigating sex crimes for the prosecutor’s office. Who is Flaiz trying to kid? Does Christopher do anything for forty hours a week?

In fact, who believes that all county employee work forty hours a week? Just because they are paid for forty hours doesn’t mean they are working much. That includes the Commissioners.

Christopher’s benefit package, equal to 32% of his pay, is paid by Flaiz’s office, not JFS. Flaiz lied to the Commissioners and told them that JFS pays everything for Scott.

Flaiz has four investigators, pulling down more than $300,000 in salaries and benefits a year. Last year, one judge had only five criminal trials, according to the OH Attorney General’s office. There isn’t a lot of investigating going on when 97% of all criminal cases end in plea deals. Rumor has it that Flaiz investigators sit around and listen to jail calls out of boredom. Why does Flaiz need ANY investigators?

The Sheriff’s Dept. has investigators. Flaiz could use the Sheriff’s investigators. Why do we need two offices doing the same work? Since Flaiz took office, public records show that the number of crimes in Geauga County have dropped.

There was one investigator, Karen McKenna Sweet, who was hired by her “close” friend David Joyce in 2005. Flaiz took office in 2013. Sweet, still at the public trough, is the sister of the former Chardon police chief. No cronyism there. Flaiz subsequently hired three other friends as investigators. He hired one in March 2016 and one in April 2016. A Chester Twp. police officer, Craig Young, was hired in January 2018. What is he needed for?

Flaiz is now embroiled in a court action with Chardon resident, Susan Daniels, because she filed a complaint when he refused to respond to a public records request. She asked about what work was done by Craig Young in 2018. Why did Flaiz refuse to respond but instead demanded a jury trial? Is it because Young is just another crony hire and didn’t do anything?

Get ready to vote “NO” on this JFS levy, too. The county and the agencies MUST get their spending under control.

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