Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Republican and Jackson High School graduate Ron Duff was appointed to take Democrat John Rinaldi's place on the Canton City Schools Board of Education this week.

His chief sponsor was Democrat Jennifer Keaton.

To the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report), it doesn't seem to be a political party thing.

But a least one other application for the position claims "foul ball."

Long term Democratic political activist Eric Resnick in a comment to a Repository story on the appointment points out that sitting board member Jennifer Keaton calls Duff her friend. So much a friend that Duff used Keaton as a reference (information reported in The Rep's story) Resnick also rumors that Duff ran Keaton's campaign when she ran successfully for the board.

Board member Nadine McIlwain complained that the board missed a chance to appoint a male African-American who she believed to be well qualified for the position and she voted NO on the Duff appointment.

The Report is very familiar with school board politics. It is no surprise to see dissent arise on this selection.

As The Report sees it, personal friendship should not have been a factor at all in choosing Rinaldi's successor. Indeed, if Keaton has the close association as appears, then she should have abstained from the voting - at the very least. And, she should not have been part of the deliberations in which she apparently convinced other board members that her friend should get the job.

Perhaps McIlwain makes the most persuasive point that a predominantly African-American school district that a qualified African-Amercan male would be the logical choice. Even Keaton saw the wisdom of McIlwain position initially.

Only this week Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama chastised African-American fathers for being absent from the home and not affording their children that all important parental role model.

On the surface McIlwain's candidate seems to make more sense for Canton.

What changed Keaton's mind? Is there more to this story?

The Report thinks there is and is not at all convinced, despite Keaton's protestations to the contrary, that "friendship" was not the main criterion used to select Duff.

Was Ron Duff the best selection for the Canton City Schools Board of Education?

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