Friday, February 12, 2016

HAS NORTH COUNCIL PRESIDENT DAN "JEFF" PETERS "BACKSLIDDEN?"



Readers of The Stark County Political Report know that the journalistic marker for The Report is critical analysis.

However, yours truly is constantly on the outlook for opportunities to say positive things about those institutions of government, elected officials and public figures who have come under critical scrutiny of the SCPR.

Recently, it appeared that North Canton city council under the leadership of its president provided positive fodder for The Report to ruminate upon.

At its meeting of February 1, 2016, North Canton City Council at what appeared to be the prodding of President Peters backed off of legislation which would cut in half the number of meetings that council will hold going forward and which would impose burdensome restrictions who those videotaping council meetings using a tripod.

Since council decided to bring one Tim Fox on as its law director (September 2012), the SCPR has noted a marked deterioration in the relationship of council with any citizen who would:

  • appear before the body at the Public Speaks part of council meetings with one criticism or another on the functioning of North Canton government,
  • ask for copies of probing public records regarding operations of the city,
  • initiate legislation via referendum and initiative to define what council may or may not do, and
  • Heaven Forbid! sue the city for what a citizen might think is a violation of North Canton or state of Ohio law
 Of late, the relationship has deteriorated to the point of being downright hostile.

Before Fox, the SCPR had always thought of Councilman Dan "Jeff Peters" as a moderating factor on council.

So when on February 1, 2016 he announced at the end of the meeting that the anti-democratic-republican values (open/accessible government) ordinance (less meetings and new restrictions on videotaping meetings) was being abandoned, the SCPR took this as a cue that Peters was donning a role of leadership to reverse the seeming "it us against them" attitude of a up-to-now majority of council members.


Accordingly, the SCPR wrote a complimentary blog (LINK) on February 2nd playing off a North Canton sited groundhog on Groundhog Day seeing or not seeing his shadow with an interplay of the breaking out of government openness sunshine in The Dogwood City.

It now appears that what The Report saw may have been a mirage of sorts and Peters might be bending to the will of a couple of councilpersons (Kiesling and Werren) who seemingly are entrenched in their animosity towards any citizen who dares to criticize North Canton government.

There was a renewed effort on this Monday past to pass the new ordinance.


And astonishingly there is real concern that Kiesling and Werren may carry the day.

For now the SCPR is holding fast with the blog complimenting President Daniel "Jeff" Peters for showing democratic-republican value friendly leadership on February 1st.

But it could be that he and one or two other council members will cave into Kiesling and Werren and the SCPR will end up eating crow in "jumping the gun" on thinking Peters is maturing into an effective council president.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

UPDATED "GENDER EQUITY" SERIES (GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT) "THE STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS"



This blog is the second in a series of updates on The Stark County Political Report April, 2014 series analyzing whether or not Stark County government has a good track record in achieving gender equity in its employment practices.

On Monday (LINK), The Report did an update assessment of Stark County auditor Alan Harold's record.

Harold has only been auditor for a little over five years.  While much inequity flowed under the bridge before he ever set foot in the auditor's office, yours truly figures that five years is enough time for him to have made some progress in righting the wrongs that he inherited.

Sad to say but the SCPR thinks Harold (held in high regard overall as auditor [see blog on his #2 ranking as on the the SCPR "Top 10 List" of Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials]) needs to improve in promoting women in his office to higher paying, more responsible position within his office.

Today, we look at the Stark County commissioners (LINK to webpage) and their 2015 performance as measured against the base year 2014.



Later this year, the SCPR will update this series to show what if any progress in gender equity the commissioners have made from June, 2015 through June, 2016.

Here are the charts:

STARK COMMISSIONERS: ADMINISTRATION


Interesting, no?

The spread:
  • between the "on average" women's salary grew from $44,307 compared to "on average" men's $66,305 in 2014
    • to
  • between the "on average" women's salary grew from $37,670 compared to "on average" men's $86,523 in 2015
The commissioners deserve credit for promoting one woman from within the administrative staff so that she gained 19% over her former salary.

Another female employee was paid more (9%)  in 2015 over 2014 but because as a part-time employee she worked more hours.

The primary reason the spread grew was that the commissioners hired a man to be the county's human resources director at $76,502.

How ironic is that?

STARK COMMISSIONERS: FACILITIES


Other than 16.67 increase for the facilities manager position (2015 over 2014), the 2015 graphic is a much better picture for the facilities payroll.

That the commissioners found it necessary to go outside the existing employee ranks to find a new manager is an indictment of there being in place a program to bring a lower ranking  (pay wise) employee (and God forbid, perhaps even a female) to the top spot.

Well, Olson, do you really expect that a woman could be in charge of county facility (mostly buildings) maintenance, rehab and the like?  After all, this is a man's world isn't it?

STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONERS:  BUILDING INSPECTION


The above numbers seem to indicate that even being a union member does not help the women of Stark County Building Department have a roughly similar payroll in terms of "on average pay."

If one includes the department head Angela Cavanaugh, then women do considerably better than men.

However, as the SCPR is led to believe, Cavanaugh is the ONLY non-union employee in the department.

So it is not an "apples to apples" comparison to include her.

The reality is that notwithstanding supposed union protection women other than Cavanaugh are relegated to (relative to inspector/examiner jobs) low paying clerical positions.

In this segment of today's analysis, The Report does not get into comparing increases in 2015 over 2015 inasmuch such in the case of the Building Department is controlled by union contract except, of course, for Cavanaugh.

One final note.

Yesterday, the SCPR got involved in a discussion with readers of this series of blogs about the blue (men), pink (women) graphic scheme devised by the SCPR to show "apparent" inequity in county government on pay equivalency and opportunity for promotion.
(Paraphrased discussion)
"You know, Martin, it is an oversimplification to show gender pay comparisons in blue and pink." 
Response:   
"Of course, it is.  The SCPR understands that gender inequity has been many years in the making." 
"And there are a number of factors which make it difficult to achieve equity.  A number of those factors are American society wide in the sense that family and institutional (e.g. education) structures of socialization are not keeping pace with the expectations of the modern woman." 
"Nonetheless, it is the responsibility of government to provide a quality of leadership that is capable of mitigating the "difficult factors" on the pathway now inculcated in American law towards achieving what is fair in the public workplace."
Accordingly, the SCPR will continue to annually assess how well Stark County leadership does incrementally (year by year) in improving gender equity in Stark County government.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

PRIMARY ELECTION SERIES: DEMOCRATS FOR STARK COUNTY COMMISSIONER (BERNABEI SEAT)

UPDATED/REVISED 4:40 PM

FOCUS: SLESNICK CANDIDACY
(Photo, underline and text added by SCPR)

Aha!  A case of The Stark County Political Report trying to help state Representative Stephen Slesnick become a Stark County commissioner?

Not at all.

Quite the opposite.

Actually, this blog is a commentary focusing on the fumbling, bumbling seemingly comatose Stephen Slesnick who - if the Democrats nominate him - the SCPR thinks will make it easy for the Republican primary winner (Canton Township trustee Bill Smith or Alliance Republican David Mungo to make the Stark County commissioners "all Republican" come January 1, 2017.



The Report was amazed on seeing the Slesnick fundraising flyer that he proclaims tonight's event as the "kickoff" for his campaign for Stark County commissioner as the Democratic nominee for November's general election.

If his last campaign finance report is any indication of the health of his campaign bank account, he had better hope that lots of supporters with loads of campaign finance contributions in hand show up at tonight's event.


 If on February 8, 2016, some 36 days from the Dems' primary election (March 15th) he still only has $1,665.77 on hand, it appears that his campaign finance status is:  "on life support."

In contrast to Slesnick's late start, one of his chief opponents, Canton Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher has this flyer out in the mail already:


And Katherine Baylock (who ran as a Canton Charter Commission candidate) has been attending Stark County commissioner weekly meetings; week-in and week-out.



Former commissioner Pete Ferguson?

He may be even more low profile than Slesnick.

But interesting enough most Stark County political cognoscenti types are saying that either Ferguson or Slesnick is likely to be the Democratic primary winner.

If these politicos are correct, "organized" Stark County Democrats better hope that Ferguson wins because the SCPR thinks Slesnick, notwithstanding all the "free" ink he as gotten in The Repository over his 8 plus years in the Ohio General Assembly on very little of substance, would loose big time to either of the Republicans that is victorious in the Republican primary.

The Report figures that Ferguson is the Dems best bet to win in November.  However, yours truly is getting the feeling that Ferguson's passion for running again is way down from when he defeated Republican John Hagan in 2008.

The Report has learned that Ferguson filed his petitions to run for the vacated Commissioner Thomas Bernabei seat (Bernabei a former Democrat who took office as mayor of Canton as a political independent on January 1, 2016) only on learning that former Democratic county commissioner Gayle Jackson (appointed by Democratic governor Ted Strickland to the Ohio Lottery Commission in 2007) was not going to run.

Hagan like Slesnick had spent eight years in the Ohio House getting all public relations media releases one could possibly hope for - being term limited out beginning with the coming of January 1, 2009 - had to land somewhere and thought he could parlay being state representative for all those years into becoming commissioner.

Hagan apparently thought he was "entitled" to another office by virtue of legislated out of his Ohio House office.

Ditto for Slesnick on his current run for county commissioner.

Hagan, who the SCPR thinks, was only marginally better than Slesnick as state representative although he was a member of a majority/supermajority Republican Ohio House Caucus, lost rather substantially to then political neophyte Ferguson.

There was pre-filing talk that Hagan would file to run for the Republican nomination.

Had Hagan filed and won and Slesnick won the Democratic nod, wouldn't that have been a terrific choice for Stark County voters to have to hold there noses on in the process of voting in November?


Given Ferguson's seeming lack of passion for running for commissioner again, is this four person Democratic line up (i.e. Baylock, Ferguson, Fisher, and Slesnick) the optimum situation for Kevin Fisher surprise many and come out of the Dems' primary as the nominee?

The Report thinks that Fisher with his all-out support from Stark County's organized labor might be the best bet for the Dems' to re-claim the Bernabei seat

One of the reasons that Slesnick gives as a reason for his marked ineffectiveness as a state representative in terms of his being effective for Stark County is the reality that he was for most of if not all of his 8 years plus a member of a minority/superminority Ohio Democratic House Caucus.

The Report's response to that is that talented politicos find away around institutional barriers favoring those in charge.

Just follow newly appointed Youngstown area (Poland) Ohio House member John Boccieri.


He faces the same minority status problems that Slesnick did.

Nevertheless, one hears Boccieri's name frequently in his push to get things done in the Ohio General Assembly for the benefit of Ohioans and constituents in his district:


Slesnick's forte seemed to be pushing legislation to honor/remember this or that public figure.

And the SCPR thinks Slesnick would be the same kind of county commissioner.

Readers know that yours truly thinks Democratic Canton councilman Jimmy Babcock is "a wallflower councilman" who is where he is politically because of family factors (his father a former Canton mayor, his mother a long time councilperson).

Slesnick came out of political nowhere in early 2008 in winning the Democratic primary for what was then the 52nd Ohio House District, to wit:


Over 7 of 10 Democrats voted for someone other than Slesnick and the SCPR thinks hindsight being 20/20 the seven were correct in thinking that someone other than Slesnick was the best choice.

It certainly wouldn't have been Babcock from the The Report's perspective given given a commonality in the backgrounds of the Canton councilman and Representative Slesnick.

So how did Slesnick according former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. way of computing math (see this SCPR Link on Maier's mathematical skills), achieve an "ass kicking" victory with 29% of the vote?

The Report's take?

The Slesnick family name, that's how, to wit:


The Slesnick name has been associated with recycling in Canton since 1924 [Editor's note:  1919 according to material at LINK #2 below], when Barney Slesnick started collecting recyclable metals, paper and rags. Barney’s son Sidney, who lived to the age of 95, joined the family business and eventually assumed leadership of it. What they created represents the start of not one but two recycling companies spanning four generations of leadership. (LINK #1 and LINK #2 to history of Slesnick family as Canton-based businesses)


As the SCPR computes the above timeline, state Representative Stephen D. Slesnick as a politician is trading on the Slesnick family business name going back nearly 100 years.

What an advantage, no?

Combing Slesnick's Facebook page (began July 30, 2010 and "apparently" ending on August 6, 2013, LINK), there is very little that one can garner that he has accomplished that directly benefited his Stark County-based Ohio House District.  Here are excerpts in the form of the beginning entry and the ending entry:


And a review of Slesnick's activity in the current Ohio House of Representative session (2015-2016) shows a lot of honoring/memorializing this or that person (LINK to Ballotpedia [see extracts below] but little if anything of substance directly benefiting Stark Countians, to wit:













One Canton politico cautions the SCPR "not to count Slesnick out" on winning the March 15th primary election.

And The Report thinks that the politico's caution is sound advice based on the family name factor alone.

However, yours truly thinks that the Slesnick name is mostly an advantage in a Canton-centered political environment.

A run for county commissioner, of course, involves "all" of Stark County.

In a Stark County wide environment, one has to give the edge to former commissioner Pete Ferguson.

But with Ferguson appearing to be lackadaisical coupled with the aggressive countywide campaign that it appears Kevin Fisher is running, Canton Councilman Kevin Fisher could well be the surprise victor in March 15 Democratic primary election.

Monday, February 8, 2016

UPDATED "GENDER EQUITY" SERIES (GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT) AUDITOR'S OFFICE

UPDATED & REVISED:  MONDAY AT 07:00 A.M.


VIDEOS

Animation Video
Stark County Auditor on Gender Equity
Top 25 Paid Employees

In April, 2014 The Stark County Political Report launched an analytical study of key Stark County departments of government in terms of local government's track record of providing "equal pay for equal work" irrespective of the gender of the employee.

Moreover, The Report focused somewhat on the opportunity of Stark County's women to achieve "top job" employment with county government which, of course, is taxpayer supported likely supported by more female taxpayers than male taxpayers.

More importantly, it is the "Law of the Land" that women and men be paid equally for comparable work and moreover to have an equal opportunity for promotions on the job.

It is all well and good for the SCPR to launch and publish the first installment of  the "How are Stark County Women Faring?

But for accountability to set in, there needs to be follow up.

And via supplemental narrative and animation video, today's blog is a follow up on the progress or lack of progress made in the Stark County auditor's office of Stark County government since first reported on in April, 2014 (LINK to the 2014 blog).

The following animation video run 2:05.



As the animation video shows, Auditor Harold has not improved upon the men/women ratio on the top 25 paid employees in the auditor's office. (LINK to auditor's website)


Moreover, when averaging out the pay over the 18 male employees and 7 females making the top 25 list, men are paid a stunning $18,114 on average premium over women.

In June, 2015 the top male employee was paid $122,408 (Peterson) whereas the highly competent and most likely the engine that make's Stark County's information technology work Anita Henderson was second on the auditor's payroll at $90,667.

Is Peterson about $32,000 more worthy than Henderson?

That is the question that Stark County's men and women taxpaying citizens should be asking Auditor Harold, no?

 One more thing.

A way that Harold could - over time - lessen the over many years disparity between the auditor's office men and women employees is to more heavily distribute annual pay raise money to the female employees.

From 2014 to 2015 women - in the top 25 category - received an average of 1.9% in raises whereas men received 1.6%.  Maybe something like 3% to 1% on average for a number of years would help alleviate the obvious unfairness.

Of course, a key way would for Harold to promote women on the lower rungs of the top paid 25 list to the upper echelon of the list rather than bring new male hires (three of them over the 2014 - 2015 period) for those jobs.

As can be seen in he following graphic, the June, 2015 payroll shows that overall the pink predominates in lower rungs of the auditor's office pay scale.



In June of this year (that is 2016), the SCPR will being doing a 2014 to 2015 to 2016 comparison of the auditor's office and, of course, all the other Stark County department of government covered in the April, 2014 launch of this series.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

IS THE "REPUBLICAN 'RISING STAR' STATUS OF JULIE JAKMIDES TARNISHED?


PHOTO EXTRACTED FROM A CAMPAIGN FLYER


Right now Stark County's most pre-eminent Republican is Stark County commissioner Janet Weir-Creighton.

Creighton is the most passionate, popular and progressive Republican in all the county.

But it hasn't always been that way.

In the early days as an aspiring Republican politician, Creighton was being sniped at by looking over their shoulders fellow Republicans on ticky-tacky but nonetheless below-the-belt jabs designed - no doubt - to put her in her place likely because she was a woman making her way in a realm that many men think is their world.

She has had a set back on the way to the Stark County political pinnacle that she now occupies.

Namely; being defeated by the now electorate disposed (the November, 2015 election) William J. Healy, II in the November, 2007 general election.

But she rebounded in being elected Stark County commissioner in 2012 and The Report daresays that had she chosen to take on Healy this past November, she would have had a much easier time in putting Healy on the political sidelines.

Creighton is not finished yet, but she and her fellow Republicans have to be wondering who will take her place when she moves on to the sunny climbs of Florida in retirement.

Looking over the field of aspirants now, one likely candidate is Republican councilwoman Julie Jakmides of Alliance.

The SCPR figured not long ago that there is no stopping Jakmides on her Stark County (if not beyond) political stardom streak.

But she may be in the process of stopping herself.

REASONS WHY JAKMIDES MIGHT BE SELF-DESTRUCTING

THE WHITAKER CAPER 

Jakmides getting in her own way started with public opposition to the re-election of fellow Republican Jennifer Arnold as law director of Alliance.

A clear violation of the Republican (reference:  Ronald Reagan, LINK) 11th Commandment:  "Thou shalt speak no ill of a fellow Republican."

And did her support of Democrat Mark Whitaker cause an earthquake with Alliance if not Stark County Republican politics. (LINK)


Some of Whitaker's fellow Republicans in the hierarchy of the Alliance Republican Party are thinking in the words of one such Republican - "she hasn't put her sword down yet," referring to Jakmides' exceptions to Arnold continuing on as the elected law director of Alliance.

The Report told that at the January 4, 2016 meeting of Alliance City Council, Jakmides expressed dissatisfaction with a settlement between Alliance and the Stark County commissioners on the matter of how much money Alliance pays for the prosecutorial services of the Stark County prosecutor's office. 

One has to wonder whether or not veteran, incumbent Republican Councilman Roger Rhome's refusal to appear on a campaign flyer with "the Republican Team" had something to do with Jakmides' support of Democrat Whitaker who narrowly lost to Arnold.


 
Jakmides is the daughter of a prominent Stark County lawyer (Jeff) who will be the Republican nominee to run for a second time (early 2000s being the first time).

It could be that Jakmides herself (a second year law student at The University of Akron School of Law) is projecting herself as an opponent to Arnold three years hence.

The question is this:  Is at its very heart Jakmides opposition to Arnold a self-serving jump start? 

Jakmides says that the opposition is for "conduct unbecoming of a law director."

Which is it?  

Or is it a mix of the two?  

Alliance Republican honcho dissatisfaction with Jakmides' approach vis à vis Arnold, the SCPR thinks, lingers to this day and may come back to haunt her on her seeming jaunt to the political top spot of Stark County Republican politics.

STICKING UP FOR STEPHAN WERREN

Jakmides and yours truly got into a little bit of a tiff on North Canton Republican councilwoman Stephanie Werren in the run up to the 2015 elections.

The Report wrote a blog in which reference was made to Werren having reached out a The Repository 200th Anniversary Gala and pulled a female acquaintance down by the hair reportedly unprovoked.

Jakmides jumped all over yours truly for having published material which Jakmides said was outrageously untrue.

Jakmides source:  Stephanie Werren.

Wow!  

At the time, the SCPR had a lofty take on Jakmides and her assessment of things and temporarily removed the Werren reference in order to check a second time with the source on the matter.

A second time the matter was confirmed by this source who was a person who personally viewed the incident and by name published an account of the occurrence on Facebook.

Everybody knows what happened next.  The Werren hair pulling incident was re-inserted into the blog.

While The Report still regards Jakmides as a quality Stark County politician (she is #6 on the SCPR "Top 10" Stark County Elected Officials List), her word is not quite a good as it once was with yours truly.

As readers of the SCPR know, yours truly has no problem whatsoever in critiquing public officials, even if The Report thinks well of those offcials.

On the other hand, the SCPR will recognize those officials that The Report has a dim view of for surprising us all and do good things for Stark County or one of its political subdivisions. 

She let her personal/political relationship with Werren cloud her willingness to entertain the notion that Werren might be a tad self-serving in making the denial that the incident ever occurred.  

In the SCPR's book, Jakmides is a world ahead of her friend Stehpanie Werren.

In as sense it is admirable for her sticking up for her personal/political (re:  11th Commandment) friend, but the Whitaker/Arnold thing shows that Jakmides is fully capable of separating herself from indefensible conduct.

So what happened on the Werren matter in terms of applying the Arnold standard to Werren?

TRYING TO CONTROL ALLIANCE CITY COUNCIL ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING

The SCPR has reason to believe that Jakmides tried to control the organization of Alliance City Council on January 4th.

Which, if The Report is correct, is clearly an undermining of the place and authority of fellow Republican Art Garnes as the newly elected president of council in his defeating incumbent Alliance Democratic Party (i.e. the central committee members) president Steve Okey in November, 2015.

Yours truly understands that Jakmides wanted to be:
  • chairperson of the Finance Committee,
  • a member on Safety and Justice, and
  • president pro temp,
Well, anybody who knows anything about Alliance Republican politics knows that notwithstanding Jakmides' demonstrated vote getting ability as a candidate for an at-large position on Alliance City Council, is that Larry Dordea is seen as "the real leader" of council.

Out-of-the-box, on the fourth, Republican at-large Roger Rhome nominates Dordea to be president pro temp.

End of story!

Dordea is already being talked about as a successor to Mayor Alan Andreani when he decides he has had enough of being  mayor.

Garnes had his own list of which councilperson should be in what role.

Jakmides was only listed as chair of the Finance Committee.

Garnes had his way.  Two Republicans (Dordea/Rhome) and the two Democrats voting in favor of the Garnes plan.  Three Republicans vote no:  Jakmides herself, Councilman Kline and new councilman Edwards voting "no."

Interesting, no?

So Councilwoman Jakmides has to be frustrated that she did not get to be president pro tem nor on Safety in Justice.  The latter had to be particularly stinging in view of her being on the cusp (next year) of graduating from law school and becoming a lawyer, no?

If she is listening, the SCPR thinks that she should be hearing a message from "the powers that be within the Alliance Republican Party" to back off.

For The Report's part, yours truly loves it (a la Thomas Bernabei and Frank Cicchinelli) when partisans show an "independent" streak in themselves.

And it could be that Jakmides is not being self-serving, but merely bucking the Alliance Republican Party establishment.

Sadly, The Report thinks she is being self-serving and not truly an independent minded partisan.

That her father Jeff is running for Stark County prosecutor as a Republican, you can bet your bottom dollar that Julie Jakmides will not wanting to hear from the likes of Law Director Arnold that she is supporting Democrat John Ferrero.

Undoubtedly, Arnold has a good working relationship with Ferrero.

Supporting him would be the perfect opportunity for her to get back at Jakmides.

But don't count on it.

Jeff Jakmides did support Arnold.

So there you have it folks.

The Alliance Republican Party in turmoil at the hand of Councilwoman-at-large Julie Jakmides!

Only on The Stark County Political Report will you get this kind of insight as to what is going on in the bowels of  Stark County "organized" Republican and Democratic politics!!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

KUDOS TO NORTH CANTON COUNCIL & PRESIDENT OF COUNCIL DANIEL "JEFF" PETERS!



Stark County has been enjoying one of the mildest winters on record since weather records have been kept.

And we want to keep it going, no?

But as February 2, 2016 dawned, the word is that a groundhog living with North Canton city limits crawled out of his hole, took a look at a blazing sun and scurried back down into family burrow.

So it is likely that Groundhog Day lore will kick in and North Canton and all of Stark County will be experiencing six more weeks of winter.

Let's hope that its like what we have been having since the onset of "official" winter on December 22, 2015.

North Canton City Council's announcement (through President Daniel "Jeff" Peters) at council's meeting last night that:
  • Council will not be proceeding with legislation to put greater restrictions (i.e. other than the current "shall not be disruptive") on the videotaping of council meetings,
  • Citizens will be permitted to speak at each and every council meeting, and
  • Council will continue to meeting weekly (except in the summer)
 may be harbinger that the next six weeks of seasonal winter will be on "the warming up side."

A mere week ago, things will looking dark, dank and downright hostile to open government in North Canton, to wit:  (LINK)


The SCPR believes that President Daniel "Jeff" Peters is beginning to "take the bull by the horns" and demonstrate leadership on the matter of opening up North Canton government in the direction of being more hospitable to The Dogwood City citizenry.

In a communication with The Report, in part, said:

Although your opinions as it pertains to me are usually way off base, it does give me and my family something to talk about. I use you and your blog sometimes as a "teachable moment" for my daughters.

The SCPR would be delighted if it turns out that yours truly's opinion of President Peters is shown to be "way off base."

Like SCPR blogs or not, the mission of The Report is to nudge the likes of Peters into demonstrating responsible and effective leadership.

Hopefully, his announcements of last night are a move on the part of North Canton City Council from a clearly "hostile to citizens"  mode to a "citizen friendly" mode.

The Report is also told that Law Director Fox spoke nary a word at last night's meeting.

That is a good thing.  For over the past two and one-half years it has appeared that Fox was as an unelected official running nearly all of North Canton government.

May his low profile continue and President Peters, council and the mayor show that Tim Fox is not the "be all, end all" of North Canton government.

May the sun shine brilliantly in the chambers of North Canton government from here on out.

If such happens, even the bitterest cold, snowy day over the next six weeks will be a small price to pay for signal of more open government in North Canton.

Monday, February 1, 2016

DOES ERIC RESNICK - AS PAST CJRD PRESIDENT - BEAR ANY RESPONSIBIITY FOR THE FISCAL EMERGENCY THAT THE CANTON PARKS & PERHAPS THE CITY OF CANTON "GENERAL FUND" FACE?

UPDATED/REVISED  2:45 PM


When a win or lose basketball shot is missed, a win or lose football pass is dropped or a win or lose baseball ground ball is booted; the offending player has to feel like crawling in a hole out of sight of the onlookers.

The Stark County Political Report thinks that mistakes made while newly elected Canton City Schools Board (CCS-BOE) member Eric Resnick was president of the Canton Joint Recreation District (CJRD) could have been fatal to the November 3, 2015 Canton Parks levy (#37) passage.

What mistakes?  One might ask.

There are those who believe:
  • that the CRJD's handling of the termination of its former director from CJRD employment was not done in the most prudent way,
  • that the mechanics (i.e a non-bid contract plus another possible factor [see below]) involved in the hiring of the Sally Henning law firm to represent the CJRD in the director employment situation, 
  • that Resnick as a CCS-BOE appointee should not have continued on the CJRD board after the expiration of his term on December 31, 2011 due to his failure to qualify for the ballot in the 2011 Canton BOE election for reelection to the BOE, and
  • the apparent opposition of Resnick, an associate of the Henning law firm in CJRD matters (i.e. Fladen, and, perhaps Henning herself) to the merger of the Canton Joint Recreation District with the Canton Parks Commission was uncalled for,
combined to be a significant if not "win or lose" fumbling and bumbling that resulted in the defeat of Issue #37


But that is not the official line of those promoting the current levy issue which will be on the March 15, 2016 ballot.

The official line is that the voters were confused into think that Issue 37 was going to result in a 1 mill increase in the overall revenues collected for Canton Parks and therefore voted "no."

The Report believes that such indeed could have been a factor.

But the SCPR thinks that the turmoil within the CJRD as outlined above as spewed out into the public was more of a factor in Issue #37's defeat than officials want to square up with now.

Under the leadership of  CCS Vice President John R. Rinaldi, Jr. (a past bitter political opponent of Resnick) who barely won a new seat on the CCS BOE in the November, 2015 general election, Canton public officials (elected and unelected) are trying a rescue effort to keep Canton's parks afloat financially.


The SCPR thinks that the least Resnick should do or have already done) is to financially contribute to the Issue #37 and now the Issue #5 effort.

And when one sees the billings to the CJRD (totaling nearly $58,000 of CJRD taxpayer dollars) from the Henning law firm, maybe even the Henning/Fladen names should have already appeared on the last two campaign finance reports, one would think, no?






Maybe The Report missed them, but does anyone see Resnick, Henning or Fladen on the foregoing campaign finance reports for the Canton Park Levy Committee (CPLC) filings?

 In recent days, the CPLC posted a video (taped by the CCS-Audio/Visual folks) on line (LINK).

Here is a LINK to the Issue 5 Facebook page.

Readers of this blog who have the eligibility to vote on Issue #5 should definitely watch the 42 minute (plus or minus) video.


Resnick was present at the meeting as can be seen in the linked video and excerpt therefrom as shown here.


How's that for chutzpah?

Chutzpah is a character commodity that Resnick, the SCPR thinks, has in spades.

Resnick, who likes to talk, was strangely silent at the meeting.

The Report thinks he should have arisen and apologized to those assembled in support of Issue 5 for his work as president of the CJRD in concert with other CJRD connected persons the SCPR thinks was tantamount to undermining the viability of the Canton Parks system going forward.

To The Report, Resnick's work was a political power struggle in the sense of having injected controversy into the question of whether or not the Canton Parks Commission and the CJRD should be merged and which entity should survive.

To repeat, The Report believes that the controversy left a bad taste in the mouths of Canton voters.

Why would taxpayers want to finance a turf fight?

See this SCPR blog (LINK) in which lawyer Fladen (saying that she was acting as a concerned individual taxpayer, Ward 8) contacted the SCPR beseeching yours truly to do a blog on the controversy communicating her point-of-view because The Report had not published her letter to the editor on the matter.

Pardon The Report's skepticism.

But Fladen working with Sally Henning's law firm profited handsomely from her legal work for the CJRD. (see invoices, published below)

Of course, the SCPR, the most independent media voice in all of Stark County cannot be relied upon to write in a vein that a source might desire.

The Report on August 28, 2014 wrote the suggested blog BUT in favor of the merger contrary to what Fladen apparently wanted.

Moreover, the SCPR supported passage of Issue #37 and now supports the passage of Issue #5.

If voters do not, then the only support after December 31st for continuing the programs, services and upkeep of Canton's parks will have to come from Canton's general fund which the SCPR is told - if not scaled back - could cost $4MM per annum.

MORE ON THE HANDLING OF THE FORMER CJRD DIRECTOR TERMINATION

 
From a Repository editorial (January 20, 2016):


Enough said, no?

MORE ON THE HIRE OF THE HENNING LAW FIRM

It appears to the SCPR that the legal services of Sally Henning occurred at the initiative of Eric Resnick, the then CJRD president, in November or early December, 2013.

Henning's first recorded work was on December 9, 2013 in an unredacted copy of the invoice as provided recently to the SCPR by a source:

(HIGHLIGHTING ADDED)

Compare the foregoing with a "redacted" copy (on the claim of attorney/client privilege) of same as provided by the CJRD (Eric Resnick, president) in September, 2014, to wit:



Though the SCPR has a full "unredacted" copy of the Henning billings, The Report has decided to publish only the excerpt provided above.

On examining the "unredacted" copy, yours truly finds it amusing and somewhat ridiculous for Henning under the guise of her client exercising it attorney/client privilege to have put up fight on revealing the contents of the invoice descriptors of services provided.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but it is hard to see anything in the services provided descriptors in the billings that would have compromised negotiations in the now settled Sawaya matter.

Here's what CJRD board member John Rinaldi had to say about the retention of Henning back in August, 2014:


To the SCPR it is truly amazing that a CJRD board member (one of five members) was able to make the Henning "unbid" contract stick.

The remaining four could have and The Report thinks should have left Resnick left to hang out to dry.


Cantonians/Stark Countians will likely never know for sure what prompted the Henning Law Firm hire.

There is suspicion that it may have had something to do with Resnick and Henning having attended the same House of Worship.   The Report verified this connection with one who is privy to the membership list of the religious institution.  Another source says that this factor is not a current association but rather a former connection.

And there is this Resnick statement of his connections.


It is understandable that the new regime handling the Canton parks function want to move on and not dwell on the effect that the CJRD/Canton Parks Commission controversy may have played in the defeat of the November, 2015 Issue 37 ballot initiative.

The Report trusts that the full court rush to get behind Issue #5 will be effective to get affected voters to approve the issue.

For if it fails again, dire consequences will ensue on the volume of basic services (fire, police, streets and highways).

Even with Issue 5 passing, the budget for the parks over this year and next year (when the new levy would kick in) is bare bones.

Take a look:



The SCPR thinks that Resnick as president of the CJRD was the lead player in the opposition to the merger of the Canton Parks Commission and the Canton Joint Recreation District.

And as such completely blew a key play and thereby maybe cost Cantonians/Stark Countians the opportunity to have unfettered enjoyment of nature and recreational needs.

An official tells the SCPR that there is no way that the Canton Parks will be fully funded should Issue 5 fail.

One of the casualties of a failure certainly - one would think - will be the full funding of of the Edward "Peel" Coleman Southeast Community Center.


In a sort of ironic political twist, Resnick, who the SCPR thinks is Stark County's most left wing ideologue politician,  may have in his power fight over control of the Canton Parks provided a reason why voters will not support funding the parks at the level of Issue 5.

For the politically unsophisticated, left wingers are known for their commitment to supporting and building up minority causes and enterprises.

The Southeast Community Center focuses on serving the Canton/Stark County African American community.

Some folks are simply not suited by temperament or self serving political ambition to have any official role in public life. 

The Report thinks Eric Resnick is one of those persons.

He was narrowly elected to the CCS-BOE in November.  Look for controversy galore to surface in future BOE deliberations.

Let's hope that the likes of Black, Rinaldi, Bernabei, Sliman et al can undo the damage that the infighting over who is going to rule the roost on Canton's parks and recreation operation that yours truly thinks the CJRD under Resnick's leadership did.