CANTON: Stark County Sheriff Timothy A. Swanson has taken the oath of office once again — for a job from which he had planned to retire.
County commissioners appointed him Friday to fill the vacancy created by the inability of Michael A. McDonald, one of Swanson’s chief deputies, to serve in the office of sheriff he won in the November election.
McDonald notified commissioners in a letter Thursday that he would not be able to take office “due to a very recent change in my medical condition.” He had acknowledged during the campaign he was fighting esophageal cancer.
At his appointment and swearing-in Friday, Swanson said McDonald’s new challenge was unrelated.
“It’s a completely whole new battle that he’s into now,” said Swanson, who was scheduled to retire Sunday.
He added that McDonald and his family would appreciate prayers and asked that their privacy be respected.
Federal law prevents Swanson from disclosing the medical condition affecting McDonald, who has been in charge of the jail.
In accepting McDonald’s resignation, Commissioner Janet Weir Creighton said she did it “with regret.”
“He would have made a tremendous sheriff,” Commissioner Thomas Bernabei said.
Bernabei said Swanson was probably the only person who could have taken the position on such short notice, given the statutory requirements for training, experience and the ability to be immediately covered by a bond. The incoming sheriff needs to be empowered to administer the oath of office to all his deputies at the beginning of the new four-year term Monday.
The Stark County Democratic Party’s Central Committee is required to meet within 45 days to appoint a replacement for McDonald.
Party Chairman Randy Gonzalez said no action will be taken until Monday, when the vacancy officially occurs.
He said no names have been submitted in pursuit of the appointment.
Swanson is not expected to serve the full term.
Nancy Molnar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.