The SCPR has had numerous conversations with North Canton mayor David Held dating back several years.
One consistent thing he has always said is that he is a "transparent" public official thereby implying that he stands head and shoulders above most public officials in that regard.
The SCPR takes area politicians at their word until they prove otherwise. Disappointingly, Mayor David Held is in the process of showing that he shares a common characteristic of many officeholders: "doublespeak!"
Held himself generated a letter and the SCPR believes encouraged others within his administration to write letters regarding certain allegations regarding the conduct of Councilman Jeff Davies. CLICK HERE to link up with a previous SCPR blog which reveals the content of the letters (the letters were obtained by community activist Chuck Osborne and provided by him to The Report).
When the SCPR learned that North Canton law director Hans Hilges investigated the allegations of the letters and issued a Report (about two weeks ago), a "public records" request was made to Held and North Canton Council president Daryl Revoldt for a copy of the report.
Held, who only the night before the request, encouraged yours truly to make a request of Revoldt (Held did not want to be the one to release the record), all of a sudden - the next day - "on the advice of counsel" decides to join Council (led by Revoldt) and assert that the report is not a public record but privileged material protected by the "attorney/client" privilege.
In some ways, David Held is worse than Canton mayor William J. Healy, II.
Healy has a storied history from the beginning of his administration of revealing only what makes William J. Healy, II look good. Otherwise, if he can't spin information making him looking good; he doesn't talk about it; he doesn't answer questions about it; and, if he can lawfully keep it from the public, he will do that too.
Everyone in the Stark County media knows that about Healy. So we have to become very creative in endeavoring to ferret out Healy's deep, dark secrets and/or to wade our ways through the Healy spin.
In an interesting aside, Revoldt has told The Report that he thinks that Healy and Held are very close. Revoldt's assessment did not seem to make sense at the time. But now it does.
Revoldt is likely thinking these days, however, that it is not all that bad that Held is mimicking Healy.
Revoldt, in the opinion of the SCPR, is - perhaps - the foremost "anti-democrat" in all of Stark County. Revoldt has refused a citizen his right to speak at a North Canton City Council "Public Speaks." Moreover, he seems to have an obsession with hiding or, at least, not talking about stuff, which - in his judgment - does not fit his image of North Canton which he is pushing as the cornerstone of getting economic development done in "The Dogwood City."
Revoldt is "the wise one" who will determine what it is good for you - as a citizen - to know; and what it's just as well that you do not know.
The Report believes that Revoldt came up with the attorney/client privilege idea. Revoldt was upset that Held pushed the thing on Davies. For some time after the letters were sent to Law Director Hilges, nothing happened.
But Held pushed and pushed. He told the SCPR that it was a matter of principle to him.
Revoldt has let it be known that he thinks Held is a "weak" mayor and even has some of his fellow Council members saying so.
Held tells The Report that Revoldt has never liked Earle Wise, Jr being city administrator essentially because he is a Democrat in a Republican city run for the most part by Republicans. Held says that Alex Zumbar is North Canton's finance director under Revoldt's sponsorship because of his Republican bona fides.
So it is interesting that Revoldt and Held are in accord about withholding what the SCPR believes is a public record under the attorney/client label.
David Held has enormously damaged himself in terms of credibility in the estimate of the SCPR on this matter.
The Report does not believe the Revoldt/Council/Held obfuscation is over.
Citizen Osborne has made a specific public records requesti for the Hilges investigative report.
The question is: will the Revoldt/Held alliance hold?