UPDATE: 06/17/2010 AT 10:00 AM
Mayor David Held contacted the SCPR to tell his version of the story of Council rejecting his administration's request for a $15,000 allocation to hire temporary help to be used to relieve the administrative burden engulfing city hall.
Currently, the administration is bringing, on an alternative basis, an employee from the city engineer's office and the Civic Center to handle the excess work on a part-of=the-day basis.
Held says that he has one person to service his operations, the functions of City Administrator Earle E. Wise, Jr and the economic development department.administrative tasks. The Mayor was not at Monday's Council meeting and says that the request was made by Wise.
Meanwhile, Mayor Held pointed out that Council is adding to the work of the Mayor's court (i.e. hearing nuisance cases, et cetera).
Will Held be going back to Council again on the Wise request? No, he says. He is determined to live within the constraints places on the administration by Council.
Moreover, Held highlighted repeatedly in our conversation that Council has three employees. He did not use the word "unfair" in our talk, but that was the clear inference that The Report took away from the confab.
When The Report suggested that Councilman Jeff Davies may be behind his administration's troubles with Council, all Held did was chuckle. He said he is not about to get into a fight with Davies or anyone else on Council that his attitude is to work hard to improve North Canton's provision of city services while reducing costs.
So it appears to the SCPR that there will be no open warfare in North Canton government.
But that doesn't mean there won't be an undertow of discord.
And as we all know from life experience, undertow's can mature into a crisis in a hurry.
Yours truly was just in hometown Gettysburg, Pennsylvania this past weekend for a high school reunion. Oldest daughter is in Washington, DC for the summer with her family and we hooked up in Gettysburg so that the family could get an "expert-led" led tour of the historic civil war battlefield.
Our starting point was the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center. Since the Electric Map is no longer in existence, the Visitors Center is the only alternative with which to get an overall view (via a well-made film) of the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 - 3, 1863). Yours truly did not witness the battle).
In the presentation, the narrator mentions the Confederate firing on the Union water bound fortress of Fort Sumpter on April 12, 1861 as being the "opening shot" of the Civil War.
Monday night's North Canton City Council meeting may well have been the "opening shot" of a political civil war between Mayor David Held and a majority of North Canton City Council members.
Held asked for $15,000 to do some stop-gap hiring for the city's administration. A motion was made, but it did not get seconded and, of course, wasn't voted on.
The SCPR has known since the summer of 2008 that at least one member of Council (Jeff Davies) and perhaps others were not enamored with Mayor Held. Apparently, most, if not all of Council, is now about joining Davies to rein Held and his administration in.
Davies' complaint back in 2008 was that he performs as a "weak mayor" and that he was fast losing respect of Council. Yours truly has brought this up directly to Held who more or less pooh-poohed the entire notion of Council unhappiness. Rather, he thought, it was just Davies talk.
Is Held in for a shock, if he doesn't already know it?
The SCPR understands that the word is to be put out to Held that he must make substantial cuts in the administration's use of city revenues. And if he doesn't?
Then Council will make the cuts for him.
It will appropriate X number of dollars to administration in a kind of "Here it is boys and girls, spend it as you wish; but this is all you are getting."
And The Report understands that the Council strategy is pretty much supported by all members of Council.
So do you think Mayor Held is likely to get the message?
Mayor Held is the eternal peacemaker. So expect him to use his peacemaking skills to change some Council members' minds. If he can do that, then maybe there will be another day for Held to fire back.
Otherwise, the war is over and David Held could be on his way out as mayor of North Canton.
There is talk that Councilman Davies will run against Mayor Held next year. Wouldn't surprise the SCPR. Held embarrassed Davies earlier this year in making an issue out of a certain North Canton employee allegations that Davies was acting inappropriately.
North Canton's law director decided that the allegations were not substantive enough to pursue action against Davies.
Another player in all of this is community activist Chuck Osborne (a former councilman). Osborne is particularly put out with City Administrator Earle Wise, Jr. The question is this. Is he so negative on Wise that he will take up sides with Davies et al?
The final question: How long will this war go on in North Canton between the Administration and Council?
Because we know that the first shot has been fired!!!