Even before the Poets Glen, Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr had told the Stark County Political Report that Stark Commissioner Todd Bosley for sure was acting in legal capacity of being a commissioner as if he were still a Nimishillen Township trustee, at least, on the issues of annexation.
Cichinelli and Canton Director of Annexation Sam Sliman are two very aggressive Stark County annexers. Sliman goes so far as to describe himself as the "Darth Vader to the Townships."
Consequently, Cichinelli and Sliman have earned the ire of their opponents. In Cichinelli's case it's Tuscarawas Township and Perry Townships extraordinare. For Sliman it is Plain Township and, though it's not a township, North Canton's government.
Cicchinelli and Sliman and Sliman's chief Canton sponsor Councilman Bill Smuckler think that annexation is a key component to economic development.
While Cicchinelli has some achievement to crow about, Canton does not. Latest census figures show that Massillon is growing whereas Canton continues to plummet.
So it is far from certain that annexation is a viable formula or even a factor in economic development.
On the Poets Glen annexation, Cicchinelli is on much stronger footing in the opinion of the SCPR with Commissioner Bosley having as his "hidden agenda" reason for voting against Massillon's annexation bid than for Meeks.
Why the differentiation between Bosley and Meeks?
Bosley is running for state representative against Republican Todd Snichler in the Ohio House 50th district. Tuscarawas Township (Poets Glen's locale) is in the district as is part of Perry Township.
Meeks, on the other hand, is from Jackson Township and his good friend and staunch political ally Randy Gonzalez (Jackson Township fiscal officer and chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party) was one of the most ardent Jackson proponent of working out an annexation agreement with Sam Sliman and Canton.
But The Report believes that Cicchinelli perceives Meeks to be anti-Massillon. If there is a justification for Cicchinelli's take on Meeks, it would have to be for reasons other than his position on annexations.
The Report's take on Meeks' vote on Poets Glen is that it was a "spur of the moment" decision and that he got drawn into voting against Massillon by virtue of the political skill that was demonstrated by Bosley in his structuring of the Poets Glen hearing.
Had either Republican Jane Vignos or Democrat Tom Harmon still been commissioner, the SCPR believes that Meeks would have voted with them to approve the Massillon annexation request, That's how tenuous yours truly thinks Meeks' no vote was.
However, the SCPR has reason to believe it will cost him (mind you, both Cichinelli and Meeks are Democrats) Cicchinelli's support (covert, if not overt) in his race against former Canton mayor Janet Weir Creighton (Republican) for the full four year term as Stark
Losing the most prominent Massillon politician's support was a high price for Meeks to pay, if The Report's analysis that he could have gone either way on the Poets Glen vote is correct.
For Bosley, there was nothing to lose and most everything to gain politically. At most, Cicchinelli will be only a marginal factor in his race against Snitchler since the district does not encompass Massillon as it did when current Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. held the seat (known then as the 56th).
While the SCPR has already assessed that Creighton will win the commissioner seat, if Meeks is to have a chance to prove the SCPR wrong, he will need the all out support of Frank Cicchinelli and every other Democratic Massillon government official.
Massillon, of course, is a strong Democratic Stark County city. Moreover, Creighton does not have the connection with Massillon that she has with Canton (having been a former mayor). Another factor with Canton is that Sam Sliman is a Republican who first served in the Creighton administration.
While Canton is a strong Democratic enclave, the Republican Creighton has a likelihood of making a strong showing in the Hall of Fame city. For her to have a similar opportunity via Cicchinelli would be a devastating blow to Meeks' chances to return as Stark County commissioner come January 1, 2011.
Before yesterday's commissioners' weekly meeting, the SCPR asked Bosley and Meeks to respond to Cicchinelli's response that they - on Poets Glen - acted as if they were still township trustees.
Here is the video response.