CANTON: The Ohio Supreme Court has asked for written arguments in a suit Stark County’s former sheriff has filed alleging that his successor is not qualified for the office.
In a decision filed Friday, the court denied Sheriff George Maier’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor gave Maier and former sheriff Timothy Swanson 20 days to file any evidence they intend to present.
After evidence is submitted, Swanson’s attorneys will have 10 days to file their first brief. Maier’s lawyers must respond within 20 days of that filing. Swanson will have seven days to reply.
The schedule should put evidence and written arguments in the court’s hands in May.
Swanson’s suit contends Maier does not meet the experience or educational requirements for a sheriff specified in state law.
Stark County Democrats picked Maier on Feb. 5 to replace Swanson, who had taken the job on an interim basis after sheriff-elect Michael McDonald was unable to take office due to illness.
McDonald died Feb. 22.
Swanson wanted Democrats to choose 26-year departmental employee Lt. Louis Darrow to succeed him.
Maier’s experience includes being assistant director of the Ohio Department of Public Safety and a State Highway Patrol post commander and trooper.
Swanson’s suit says Maier does not meet statutory provisions requiring recent service as a police officer, and either two years of college or recent supervisory experience as a uniformed officer. Maier’s most recent experience was in a civilian position as Massillon’s safety-service director.
An employee of Stark State College has received a subpoena to testify. Maier says he has received credit through the school for prior learning.
Also subpoenaed was Ronald Myers, sheriff of Harrison County, where Maier might have been a deputy.
Swanson seeks in his suit to be reinstated as interim sheriff until a qualified candidate is found.
Nancy Molnar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.