The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 1, 2014

Ashtabula officials say literature on police levy misleading

ASHTABULA — Campaign literature that focuses on funding for additional police officers is causing a stir in City Hall.

The mailer provides the 2013 “gross salaries” (they are paid hourly) of a handful of the Ashtabula Police Department’s officers and the figures include the overtime they earned last year.

City Manager Jim Timonere said it sounds like the overtime is separate when, in fact, it is already included in the salaries. The postcard should have read, “This includes the overtime,” he said.

Ashtabula businessman, John Ginnard, sent city voters the postcard, urging them to vote ‘no’ on the police levy.

“Ginnard’s postcard makes it appear as though the officers are making much more than they do,” Timonere said.

City Solicitor Michael Franklin said Ginnard deliberately portrayed false information on the postcards.

“This is a fairly blatant violation of the spirit of Ohio’s campaign laws,” he said. “We will let the Ohio Elections Commission decide if it is a violation of the letter of it, as well.”

On April 7, Ginnard said he was going to file a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission after attending the first of three informational meetings on the police levy, sponsored by the Citizens for Safety Committee.

Ginnard contended government property was used to print material promoting the police levy, and government property was used to create the PowerPoint presentation. He said since there was no disclaimer on the material, he assumed it was prepared on a city copier.

Come to find out, Timonere printed and material at a local office supply store and created the presentation on his personal laptop outside of city time.

Ginnard said he didn’t file a complaint because Duane Feher, director of the Ashtabula County Board of Elections, said he would remind local officials to place a disclaimer on all political material.

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