Monday, April 13, 2009


Stark County is mired in an ecomomic slump which has employment currently at 10.4% (Canton is at 11.5%). Right now the foliks who ought to taking the lead to pull the county out of the morass have a cover for not not doing so: "the national nosediving economy."

But in time the national scene will turnaround. Obama is already seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. However, the nationals have a plan they are working on.

Stark County does not seem to have a plan. Oh yes, there is some activity. Commissioner Todd Bosley in particular has pushed to get some auto companies to take a look at Stark (VW and Fiat) and he is working on some alternative energy projects that have some promise.

Stark County needs the addition of some living wage jobs in the worst way. In July of 2007, yours truly wrote a letter to the editor of The Report challenging the commissioners to put together a plan to get Stark County moving. Here is the main part that letter:
Stark County commissioners should spearhead effort to create living-wage jobs

A front-and-center question for Stark Countians: Will the change in composition in the Stark County Board of Commissioners change Stark County for the better?

Rather than Republicans Jane Vignos and Richard Regula setting the commissioners' leadership agenda for our county, we now have Democrats Todd Bosley and Tom Harmon. [and now Pete Ferguson; replacing the retired Jane Vignos]

The former regime was lackluster and unimaginative, to the detriment of Stark County's future.

But what bold, new initiatives can we expect from the Bosley-Harmon leadership model?

When Tom Harmon was appointed commissioner, he promised to consider starting up a county-level economic development office. ... the prime focus needs to be on economic development.

When can we expect an announcement out of the commissioners' office on a specific plan whereby the commissioners will be spearheading a drive to create living-wage jobs for middle- and working-class folks and lifting the marginal working group out of the margins?

The commissioners have a momentous opportunity to change the tone, the direction and the energy level of our beloved Stark County.

's idea of a county-level economic development office is the proper vehicle to jump-start our economically languishing county. Stark Countians ought to be contacting the commissioners and insisting that they press forward on this idea - sooner rather than later.
Harmon appears to be all "spit-and-polish." When is he going get the sorely needed Stark Economic Development Office (let's at least give economic development a title) up and running?

Probably never. Harmon has been commissioner for nearly two years now. Well, Tom, isn't it about time you spring to life on economic development?

At the April 4th meeting of the commissioners, Commissioner Ferguson "floated" the idea of converting the closed Doctors Hospital now owned by Affinity into a veterans medical facility.

All well and good, but this is still in the mode of a patchwork approach to economic development in Stark County.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) believes that this is an "off-the-cuff" proposal by Ferguson who is obviously feeling the pressure to do something has commissioner. He has been in office about 100 days and the only thing he has succeeded at is get his brother-in-law (to the exclusion of the general public) appointed Project Compliance Officer on prevailing wages.

Look and listen carefully the the following video in which Ferguson make his proposal. Do you think Ferguson has a thoroughly though out plan or is it a "hope and a prayer?"

See the Ferguson video below:

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