Sunday, December 20, 2009


Last Wednesday, Debbie Dawson of the Stark County prosecutor's office (civil division) was on hand at the regular Stark County commissioners weekly meeting.  She was there to advise commissioners as to whether or not they should approve sending a proposal to incorporate about 58% of the land area of Plain Township to the Stark County Board of Elections (BOE) for placement on the May, 2010 ballot.

At the December 16th meeting, Dawson did not recommend that the commissioners send the proposal on to the BOE.

She said there were three problems with the petition process as put together by the Steering Committee for the City of Plain.

First, she said, there appeared to be a problem with the map (required by Ohio statutory law:  ORC sections 707.29 and 707.30).  The law, she said, requires showing a parcel that is to be incorporated not include any noncontiguous property.  Moreover, Dawson pointed out that the law requires that the required map be accurate in every other respect.  She said that it appears that the map included a parcel that had been annexed by Canton recently and therefore needs to be removed.  Dawson's analysis of the map was based on information provided to her by the Stark County engineering office.

Second, she said the legal description of the land to be incorporated, (according to the  engineer's office) was not done in accordance with Ohio law.

And, third, Dawson said that the Stark County commissioners' records, as she understood the commissioners' administrators to be saying, did not show receipt of a certification by a newspaper of general circulation (The Repository, in this instance) of the publication of notice of the petition required by Ohio law.

Roy Barr, chairman of the Steering Committee, said at the meeting that if there were any errors in the map it was the fault of the local government engineer who drew the map up.  Barr said that the Committee gave specific instruction that any "noncontiguous" area not appear on the map and that the Committee had informed the map drawer of the annexation of a former Plain Township property into the city of Canton and had instructed the engineer to reflect the annexation in the map.

Moreover, Barr said that publication had been done and required by and certification of same had been submitted to the commissioners.

Will the the City of Plain question appear on the May, 2010 ballot?

The question will be answered on Monday, December 21st at 2:00 p.m. at a special meeting of the Stark commissioners to consider the question.

The SCPR asked Barr why he was having so much trouble.  Were there forces at work to stop the initiative?

Barr would not answer the questions directly.

He did say that the Board of Elections gave the Committee an "unwarranted" problem on validating petition signatures, and that while the Plain trustees have officially taken a noncommittal stance, he suspects that "in reality" they oppose the effort.  And there is the city of Canton and North Canton which Barr claims are looking to annex additional portions of Plain Township.

People who read the SCPR on a regular basis know how tough The Report is on Sam Sliman, the annexation director of Canton.  Yours truly repetitively tabs him as being Sam "Darth Vader to the Townships" Sliman.


One, because that is exactly has he described himself to Stark County commissioners in a session regarding the annexation battle involving Canton, Jackson Township and North Canton.

Two, because of anecdotal validations that come to the SCPR that Sliman is not merely rhetorical; he is out trolling areas like Plain Township seeking land area he might devour into Canton.

Barr confirmed to The Report that Sliman put him on notice that he was going to aggressively pursue annexation in Plain Township.

Sliman is a perfect fit for the arrogant, but dysfunctional Canton city government.  And, its not just Healy, the mayor who favors using annexation as an economic development tool.  Bill Smuckler (the defacto leader of Council) is probably more enthusiastic about Sliman's plan of annexing Canton out of its economic nightmare than Healy is.

The Sliman/Smuckler plan is a house of cards that will soon collapse and make Canton's economy even worse than it already is.

Barr and the Steering Committee is right to try to protect Plain from the likes of Sliman.  If the Committee is successful with the incorporation, the efforts will have the effect of protecting Canton citizens from the likes of Smuckler and Sliman and their ill-conceived plan.

Back to the incorporation petition.

Barr believes that the Committee has complied with the law and that he expects commissioners to approve sending the petitions onto the Board of Elections.

Monday's meeting could prove to be  interesting indeed!

Here is the video of Dawson's appearance before the Stark County commissioners last Wednesday:

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