Wednesday, April 15, 2009
DISCUSSION: IS THE CANTON CITY HALL FLAP ABOUT RECORDING/NOT RECORDING THE REAL ISSUE? HOW ABOUT A LACK OF TRUST?
On the surface it appears, according to Repository reports (Canton mayor's taping of meetings irks some in council, Ed Balint, April 13, 2009) that there is a fight between the Mayor and council members about recording or not recording Canton City Council committee meetings.
But the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) does not believe that this case. Rather this is a fight grounded in "a lack of trust."
If it were just a recording issue, count The Report has being on board with Mayor Healy except for his "sorta" secreting the recording activity. His actions should be front and center. The meetings are public meetings and any citizen is entitled to record the event.
The real issue is that Mayor Healy has created an environment of mistrust beginning with the firing of former service director and chief of staff, that he now has to deal with "irreparable harm" in his relationship with council.
The Report believes that a majority of Canton City Council members were not favorably disposed towards Healy from the beginning of his administration. His projected "I'm smarter than the rest of the world" attitude (intentional or not), got him off to a rocky start.
Bernabei was Healy's salvation. However, it became unacceptable to Healy that his chief of staff had the ear of council whereas he did not. Hence, the firing. The Report does think there were reasons Healy could not abide Bernabei, but the "council thing" really ate at Healy.
Many of the council members know Healy to be a vindictive type and they "really" do worry that he will parse the recordings and use the snippets as negotiating and political weapons.
And The Report can see these members' concerns. Nevertheless, the law of Ohio does not allow Council to stop the recordings.
It was a smart move by Healy (for the sake of his relationship with the distrustful council members) to have the recorder turned off. However, this is not a efficacious solution.
A productive solution is for Healy to work 24/7 (in a metaphorical sense) building what he has never had: a trusting relationship with the Canton City Council.