Sunday, November 1, 2009


Most of us who live outside Perry Township have had the impression that the trustees in Perry do a good job running the township.

This impression was brought into question this past June/July when Perry Police Chief Tim Escola abruptly resigned.

The first reaction by trustees (including incumbents Craig Chessler and Anna Capaldi) was to "deep-six" the whole matter.

Why would they do that?

The SCPR believes it was because the full story - when it became known - would reflect on the bad judgment exercised by township trustees.

How's that?

Mistake number one.

The trustees (which did not include Capaldi but did include Chessler) either knew or should have known that Escola had a well-known history which should have signaled to them (especially Chessler, being closely tied to law enforcement as he is) that Escola was a risky hire.

Mistake number two (which did include Capaldi).

Not providing enough oversight to the internal operations of the Perry Police Department and keeping an appropriate employer-employee distance so as to be able to read the tea-leaves long before the situation escalated to the point of Escola resigning.

At the time, the SCPR said that the mistakes were so large - in terms of damaging the public confidences in the administration of Perry Township government - that neither Chessler or Capalidi should be retained come November.

Had quality candidates surfaced in Perry, The Report would have be prone to reiterate the points.

However, the two challengers Brock Ryan and Mike Burris have not said anything (at least from what the SCPR has heard/seen) about the Chessler/Capaldi failure.  How can you not focus on this poor oversight of key township personnel if you are a challenger candidate for township trustee?

The challenger's failure means one of two things.  Either they do not have the insight to see the significance of the failure to the public's take on Perry local government or they lack the courage to bring the matter out into the open for a thoroughgoing discussion of their plan to ensure that a similar incident will not happen under their watch.

Undoubtedly, Chessler and Capaldi have learned from the Escola matter.

Outside this major failure on Escola, the two incumbents appear to have been effective stewards of Perry government.

The SCPR believes for whatever shortcomings Chessler and Capaldi have demonstrated, their challengers have not articulated any reason why they should not be re-elected.

On a more positive note, the SCPR  makes special mention of Trustee Capaldi's take on what the role of a trustee should be.  Here is a quote from a questionnaire she returned to The Report:

"I believe the role of a trustee is to govern according to the ORC, to be a strong community advocate and to be responsive to citizen requests all while to being a good employer to our employees who work so hard for the community every single day.  I believe that even if a resident request falls outside of our jurisdiction, we as Trustees should be a good advocate and help them get to the right resource to solve their issue.  Being a good advocate only costs us our time and may help a resident who has a real problem but they don’t know where to turn.  Many times we are their first call for help.

This statement is most insightful and thereby the most impressive articulation that the SCPR has received by any Stark County trustee candidate."


In large part because the challengers have not provided a reasoned alternative, The SCPR retracts the prior assessment that Chessler and Capaldi should not be returned to office.

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