Wednesday, April 1, 2009
DISCUSSION: A GOOD IDEA GOING BUST?
It appears that Canton Mayor Healy's Stark County Mayors Association is on the brink of folding or at least hibernating like a bear until times turn better. The group met in January, but there were no meetings in February and March.
Because the Association has no money? So is the explanation that the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) got from of one the Stark mayors participating in the group. The Report did ask Mayor Healy for a statement on the effort through Canton's communications director Adam Herman. The request has not be responded to as of the writing of this blog.
Modeled after the Summit County Mayors Association (which appears to be a vibrant, functioning economic development collaborative - e.g. sent some members on a 14 day trip to India the first two weeks of February, 2009), the Healy initiative lies dormant, at best, because of the lack of funds.
The Report's contact says that the Stark group needs about $20,000 to get up and running, but with the economic downturn in full swing; city councils of the member cities are not likely to agree to ante up membership fees.
What would the $20,000 be used for? Most likely to hire a director (apparently, part time) and fund some economic development seeding trips, perhaps like the Summit County trip to India.
The Report applauded Healy for the effort when it was announced and stands by our support for the idea.
What bothers The Report is a suspicion that very little forethought and concrete planning was put into forming this group. Was this a desperation diversionary move (i.e. the positive publicity) by a mayor in the midst of a fight for his political life?
Healy owes the Stark County public more information on the details of the structure, finances and mission of the Stark County Mayor Association.
If this information is not forthcoming in short order and have a convincing tone to it that this will be a viable organization, then Cantonians and Stark Countians will be likely to conclude that they have been gamed by Mayor William J. Healy, II of the city of Canton for political survival reasons.
But it wouldn't be the first time that Mayor Healy has outfoxed himself.