MEDINA — A Hinckley Township man’s monetary pledge tied to the appointment of the next Medina County recorder is coming under fire and now the candidate said he is backing away from the high-priced promise to his party.
Charles J. “Chuck” Ricco said Wednesday that he is retracting a comment he made promising to give $10,000 back to the Medina County Republican Party if he is appointed to the position. Ricco is one of four people who want to succeed Colleen Swedyk, whom voters elected in November as county commissioner.
In a Dec. 28 email Ricco told members of the Republican Party:
“As part of my commitment to help further the Conservative-Republican cause, should I win this appointment, I am pledging to donate at least $10,000 of my salary back to the Medina County Executive Committee, with no strings attached.”
After the “pledge” became public, Ricco received some criticism and some went so far as to call the $10,000 a “bribe.”
“I have spoken to family, friends and supporters who do not want the pledge I made to be misconstrued,” he wrote in an email. “Accordingly, I am withdrawing my specific pledge as stated above, but not my unqualified support for the party in the future.
“It is very unfortunate that this pledge has called my name and my integrity into question.”
Ricco sent out the retraction email Tuesday.
Ricco said his commitment and support for the Republican Party will continue whether he gets appointed or not.
The Republican Central Committee will vote on the new recorder at 9 a.m. Saturday at Williams on the Lake, 787 Lafayette Road, Medina.
The committee is chaired by former Medina County Commissioner Adam Friedrick, who said Wednesday that he’s not sure if Ricco’s comments will hurt his cause.
“I’m sure some folks will look at that differently than others,” he said.
Ricco is one of four candidates for the position. The other three candidates are Brunswick Councilman Joe Salzgeber, Ward 3; Jill Bell, sales director for Elmcroft of Medina; and Tonjua McCullough, controller for Blair Rubber Co., Friedrick confirmed.
The four candidates to replace Swedyk, who started as commissioner on Jan. 1, each filed a letter of intent and a resume with the party chairman.
Ricco, as Ward 1 Councilman in Brunswick from 2008-11, is currently an integration analyst and small business owner serving several Cleveland area hospitals.
Ricco said he and his wife have taught their children that they must do their part to strengthen the beliefs they feel strongly about. He said that’s why he offered to make the donation.
He said he’s a man of integrity.
“I wanted to remove any cloud of uncertainty around me,” Ricco said. “If I’m appointed, I want to go into the job without any clouds around me.”
He said he believes he’s still the best candidate for the job.
“This office is arguably one of the most technical offices in the county,” Ricco said. “With my extensive technical and professional background that varies from winning elections to running a small business, I have the qualifications and experience to successfully run this office.”
The recorder’s office handles land titles, deeds and provides ID cards for veterans, among other things. The position pays about $60,000 a year.