The SCPR has received an email from Judge Elum taking exception to The Report's take on the meeting between Elum, Williams and others saying: "Our meeting was constructive and helpful."
Revised on 3/14/2010 at 9:00 pm to make it clear that this blog is the work product of yours truly as an opinion journalist - as are all the SCPR blogs - and not as an attorney.
Any attorney appreciates that courts of law do have, as they should, courtesy of the State of Ohio via legislation and the state Constitution, the power to make decisions on controversies that come before the court and to have them enforced.
But that is the only power the SCPR - from a journalistic perspective - is interested in a judge having. Hopefully, the citizens of Massillon feel the same way. For one individual or a collective possessing an excess of power is the quickest way to community ruin that The Report can think of.
Judge Edward Elum of the Massillon Municipal Court appears to The Report - in his civic engagement - to be going beyond what the court needs to fulfill its statutory and Constitutional responsibilities.
Over the last several weeks there has been an Elum-generated controversy going on in Massillon over the quality of Massillon law enforcement and the competence of its police chief. Elum apparently thinks he can make life so uncomfortable for Police Chief Robert Williams that he will resign or force Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr., to ask for his resignation.
But neither is going to happen. Cicchinelli tells the SCPR that Williams has his full confidence and that he supports the chief in his battle with Judge Elum.
Someone must be telling Elum that he needs to find a way out of the mess he has created for himself and the City of Massillon.
Hence, a "reconciliation?" meeting was set up this past Tuesday between Elum and Williams with others in attendance. One such person was Mayor Cicchinelli.
The Report has learned that in the meeting Elum looked at Williams and said something to the effect: "All you [Williams] had to do was be man enough come over to the court and air your grievances to the Court's face."
The SCPR's take on Elum is that an "eye-to-eye" presentation (even in private) would not solve a thing. Rather, The Report believes that such an encounter would launch Elum on a crusade against the complainer.
The SCPR has learned that Elum tried to prevent Williams' appointment as police chief in the first place. For whatever reason, Elum has never liked the Reverend (Williams is an ordained minister) and therefore his recent attack on Williams should surprise no one.
As for the outcome of the meeting itself?
Well, we have Matt Rink's Repository report on the dispute over a joint communique that was to have been issued at the end of the meeting, to wit:
The Report thinks not.
Accordingly, Elum initiates yet another dispute. This time on the wording of the communique.
Most of us think of judges as being "wise" persons. Well, Judge Elum certainly does not fill the bill so far as the SCPR is concerned.
The Report thinks that what we are seeing here is a man who is addicted to power for its own sake and has, in this and other Massillon controversies that Elum has involved himself in, has gone "extra-judicial" in satisfying his apparently insatiable need for power.
Some note to The Report Elum's close association with Massillon Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. One official told yours truly that Elum and Maier appear bent on a quest to obliterate the line between the judiciary and the legislative in Massillon. The source says that Maier and his supporters have taken control of Massillon City Council Wards 2, 3 and 4.
As the SCPR has written many times over, Maier is a Vern Riffe (the last political strongman to serve as Ohio Speaker of the House) disciple. A definite reward your political friends, but punish your political enemies sort of guy.
And so it seems that a town that needs to devote its energies to surviving in economic bad times, will - for the foreseeable future - be bogged down in old fashioned political power fight.
Such is not helpful to the City of Massillon!