Tuesday, July 6, 2010


UPDATE:  07/07/2010

The remake of North Canton administration materialized at last nights meeting.  It appears to the SCPR that Wise will be working for Mayor David Held through the end of 2010.  The Report understands that Wise's position will not be funded for 2011.

UPDATE:  REVISED AT 6:00 PM ON 07/06/2010


A SCPR source tells The Report that Mayor David Held will be announcing a reshuffling of his administration at tonight's Council Committee of the Whole meeting.

Earle E. Wise, Jr., the source says, in the Held plan will be shifted from being city administrator to another post with the title Director of Administrative Services and have an office located in the engineering department.  

James Benekos, the current city engineer, is to become city administrator (official title:  Director of Administration) with a pay raise of some $10,000 to earn about $96,000 annually.  Wise, the source says, is to be paid about $70,000 per annum.

Since the original post was made, the SCPR has spoken with Mayor Held who has confirmed to The Report the changes outlined in this blog.  Moreover, he says the changes are temporary and will likely implemented with the passage of an ordinance embodying the changes at next Monday's regular Council.

Held said Wise will be focusing on economic development in his new assignment.

Wise has long been the target of several councilpersons who want a change of direction.  However, Mayor Held is the only North Canton official who has the power to determine who is and who is not in his administration.  Held has maintained that he has the fullest confidence in Wise as city administrator and not about to remove him.

Apparently, Held has had a change of heart in an effort to improve his relationship with Council.  The SCPR believes that Council had devised a number of "persuaders" (e.g. limiting authority to spend without Council approval $2,500) to convince Held that he had to find a new city administrator.


The SCPR has been hearing that a big, big shakeup is coming in North Canton city government.  More specifically, it is coming in the administration of Mayor David Held.

The most prominent of reports is that Chief Administrator E.E. Wise, Jr. could be on his way out.  The SCPR's source says that this word has come from two different councilpersons.

So yours truly contacted Mayor Held and put the question to him.  "Mayor, is it true that you are considering relieving Administrator Wise of his position?"

Answer:  "No comment."

However, Held did go on to say that he is doing a complete and thoroughgoing reassessment of his administration, which should be done about July 9th.  What he would say about the Wise matter is this:  "Nothing is off the table."

This is quite a switch for Held who was telling The Report just a few weeks ago that Wise has his fullest confidence and that he serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and that he is going nowhere.

The SCPR believes that Wise has become a problem for Held (who really does want Wise to stay on board) because certain members of North Canton Council (Council) are disenchanted with Wise in terms of their expectations of him that they are fomenting unrest within the entire City Council and are using indirect means (e.g. floating the notion that they are about to require Held et al to get pre-Council approval for expenditures over $2,500) to communicate their message to Held.

Apparently, their strategy is working.  What was once off-the-table is now on-the-table.

Held says that he is working hard to generate more revenue for North Canton and to find ways to cut expenses by streamlining city operations.

Asked about the notion being floated at City Hall that North Canton needs to take a new look at the structure of its government in terms of perhaps modifying it (which requires a vote of the people) to go to a full-time mayor who also is a chief administrator.  Another possibility is to go to a city manager form of government.

Held dismisses such talk. He points out that North Canton's charter government has been in place for 50 years (since 1960) and, other than some minor tweaking (the last being in 2007), the structure of North Canton government is just fine, thank you, and he opposes any changes.

He described to The Report how North Canton's 15 member charter commission took the Dogwood City's charter apart line by line, in its every 10 year look at the charter, to figure out ways to improve it.

Although Held is a Republican (who works well with Democratic officials who dominate Stark County government), he broke ground when he became mayor, about 4 years ago, by bringing Wise, a Democrat, into office with him as the city's chief administrator.

There is no doubt that Held wants to keep Wise.  However, Council appears to think otherwise and is putting pressure on Held to sacrifice Wise for what they perceive to be "for the good of the order."

What will Held do?

It is hard to say.  David Held is a very loyal person and Wise should feel comforted that Held wants to keep him.

But, it could be, that he will ask Wise to step down so that Held and Council can get away from the bickering that Wise seems to draw from some on Council.

By doing so, the Mayor and Council can devote their energies to coping with resolving expected 2011 and 2012 and beyond deficits and leaving the political infighting in the dust.

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