Friday, March 18, 2011


It seems that Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II is out to use his well honed "divide and conquer" strategy to set Canton and Stark County back in terms of derailing the efforts to consolidate building departments throughout the county and to consolidate emergency 9-1-1 dispatching services.

In this blog the SCPR deals with Healy's effort to undermine the mergers of the building departments.

On Wednesday morning, the Mayor telephoned Stark County commissioner Pete Ferguson - apparently - to give Commissioner Ferguson (a Democrat) the lowdown on why a report by the CANTON STARK COUNTY BUILDING DEPARTMENTS IMPROVEMENT COMMITTEE (formed jointly by Ferguson and Healy primary opponent:  Councilman-at-Large Bill Smuckler) to be issued at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, needed some work.

Ferguson tells the SCPR he has no idea how Healy got a copy of the report before the official release time

As soon as Ferguson figured out what Healy was up to, he stopped the Mayor in his tracks telling him that he wanted to read the report fresh and form his own assessment.

SCPR readers can view the entire committee report (the committee chaired by former Stark County Commissioner Tom Harmon) at the end of this blog.

Commissioner Ferguson is a board member of Canton Tomorrow (CT), as is Healy.  Ferguson tells The Report that at yesterday morning's CT meeting Healy said that he has been working on the building department consolidations going back three years.

Ferguson's response:  "not true!"

Now why would Healy be dumb enough to incur the wrath of Doctor Peter Ferguson by trying to massage him on the report.

Ferguson is a chiropractor of long standing in Canton and is beloved by many, many Cantonians.  And he has no desire whatsoever to get in the middle of the primary fight between Healy and Smuckler.
However, the consolidation/merger of county/city departments of government is a "really, really big thing" for Doc Ferguson.  And though he is the quintessential "nice guy," you gotta believe that Healy messing with his pet project will likely prompt Ferguson (at least privately) to tell Cantonian Democrats, who value his opinion, to support Smuckler.

Ferguson himself is likely to be running for reelection next year and The Report believes he wants to be in a position of having pulled off a very difficult thing to do:  get - territorial by their very nature - departments of local government to come together in the name of efficiencies and effectiveness in a common goal of serving citizens in a better way.

It is not lost on Ferguson that to be an agent of healing (being the doctor he is) is a very good position to be with the voting public come November, 2012.

Apparently, Ferguson's commitment is lost on "Hizzhonor."

Healy is a politician who thinks that in any assembly, he is the brightest person in the room who can manipulate anything in the direction he wants it to be perceived.

And he only tolerates close in advisers who constantly reaffirm his own estimate of himself.

If there is a more audacious Stark County public official than Healy, The Report has not met him/her.

Anyone who knows Healy's Democratic primary opponent Bill Smuckler, is clear that Smuckler is the most committed, passionate and long term in promoting regionalism and local government consolidations/mergers of any Stark County public official.

And that is the rub with Healy.

If he sees a "political advantage Smuckler" in a program or policy dealing with a Canton issue, The Report believes he will find one way or another to scuttle/alter the program/policy to his liking, even if there is a clear public benefit the way it is.

For Mayor Healy, it is and always has been since January 1, 2008 (the date on which he took office as mayor) been pretty much:  "my way or the highway!"

Between now and May 3rd (the date of the primary), the SCPR will being doing a series of blogs on the back and forth between Healy and Smuckler.

As readers of the SCPR know, yours truly has not been gushing about Bill Smuckler as a candidate for mayor of Canton.  The reason being is that he has been a part of Canton government going back many, many years and The Report questions how Canton can be heading in a downward spiral (according to Canton Council President Allen Schulman) and Smuckler not bear some of the responsibility.

Candidate Smuckler has agreed to do an interview with the SCPR in the near future.  The Report anticipates putting specific questions to this bulwark of Canton City Council (Council) as to what ownership he has - by virtue of long time service/leadership in Council - in his view, for the many problems that now plague Canton.

More importantly, what are his plans for a turnabout to get Canton headed in the right direction.

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