UPDATE: 01/11/2011 AT 3:20 PM
A North Canton elected official has contacted the SCPR to make the point on behalf of the city that former Chief Administrator E.E Wise, Jr. was let go because of performance issues not because of political considerations.
The SCPR has also learned that it is likely, on a timeline devised and controlled by Mayor Held, that North Canton will be hiring a deputy to assist Michael Grimes in the discharge of North Canton's administrative functions. Apparently, the applications submitted for was has been billed as being for a "deputy administrator position," will, in fact, be used to staff a Grimes' assistant position.
Moreover, if the deputy administrator position materializes, then, of course, there will be no cost savings (rather an added expense) to North Canton from the days that Wise served as chief administrator without benefit of having a deputy as it seems is contemplated for Grimes.
"Behind-the-scenes-cloak-and-dagger" politics between Mayor David Held and North Canton City Council culminated in the hiring of North Canton's retiring police chief Michael Grimes as the city's chief administrator last night.
Technically, he was replacing the two-hatted Jim Benekos (chief administrator and chief engineer). But in political reality, Grimes is the replacement for Earle E. Wise, Jr..
The SCPR believes that Wise (a prominent Stark County Democrat) was never "really" accepted as North Canton's administrative chief. Seemingly forever, North Canton has been run by Republicans and for Held to expect acceptance (other than the blush of a honeymoon period) shows Held's political naivety.
Over the years that Wise served, Held was in a constant battle with Council to fend off attacks against him from his numerous adversaries on North Canton's legislative body.
In late 2010, Held gave up and appears to have agreed to a "political backdoor" face-saving maneuver that makes it seem as if North Canton as a cost-cutting measure combined the city administrative-engineering function in Benekos. Council gave Benekos a $10,000 raise (reduced by the same $10,000 last evening), eliminated Wise with the beginning of the new year by not funding his sub-level administrative job only for Held to bring the hiring of Grimes up at last night's regular meeting "out-of-the-blue" (a true indicator of "behind-the-scenes) at $75,000, which is about $12,000 less than Wise made as the chief.
In a number of conversations that the SCPR has held with Held, Daryl Revoldt (council president) and Councilman Jon Snyder, it has been obvious to The Report that Michael Grimes has being the focus - at least, for public appearances sake - as the replacement person for Wise at his sub-level position at about $55,000 per year.
But "the real deal - backroom deal" as the public learned last night, all along - the SCPR believes - has been to somehow slip Grimes into Wise's old job and make it look like the whole Byzantine operation was about saving money for North Canton.
The whole thing about getting all those applications for the sub-level position has all the earmarks of being a charade. A dissembling? The kind of thing that imbues everyday citizens with "warm and fuzzies" for government, no?
One of the highest priorities in North Canton is to make it look to the general Stark County public that North Canton government is not Canton, not Massillon, or even Alliance in terms of the political infighting that occurs.
Image is everything in North Canton!
The SCPR believes that North Canton does function marginally better than Canton and Massillon. Alliance? Probably about the same.
However, that is not to say there isn't plenty of "behind-the-scenes-cloak-and-dagger" political jockeying going on.
And Mayor David Held is the "real" center of attention. Several North Canton councilpersons do not like his management style in the slightest, but he is the elected mayor of The Dogwood City.
So, for as long as David Held is mayor, expect political intrigue to be alive and well withing the inner recesses of North Canton city government.