Mayor William J. Healy, II can politically spin absolutely anything.
The SCPR has long been critical of the mayor for having brought very little positive and substantive to Canton during his time in public service as state representative and mayor. However, The Report does recognize him as being a master spin artist who tantalizes but only rarely delivers. Healy is proud of having a MBA from New York University's School of Business. One suspects he has spent many years perfecting a de facto degree of applied political manipulation.
Healy is currently walking a political tightrope on the issue of emergency services both in Canton itself (the Canton safety forces) and in all of Stark County (his attempted takeover of Stark's 9-1-1 system).
The SCPR believes both moves are related to Canton's fiscal problems and secondarily, to the mayor's need to be "the-man-in-charge."
Yours truly thinks that the Healy administration has concluded (wrongly) that there is money to be made by a Canton confiscation of the remnants of a rapidly disintegrating countywide 9-1-1 rehab. Restructuring countywide 9-1-1 has been underway for several years as a reaction to a commissioned study which termed Stark's emergency services system as being broken.
Moreover, he is trying to have it both ways on police and fire services for Canton proper. On the one hand he talks about what wonderful police and fire personnel Canton has but on the other his administration's polices and practices undermine the effectiveness of each.
Healy likes to tout a one-third reduction in crime over the nearly four years that he has been in office. But when one puts a human face on the crime that anecdotally appears to continue unabated in Canton, his spinning of numbers does not match up with the day-to-day realities citizens complain of.
Local media has been full of reports of the jousting between Mayor Healy and the Canton Professional Firefighters Association (at least over the last two years) over the reduction of firefighters and open and fully manned fire/emergency service stations.
Most recently in March and this past weekend it has become obvious that his policies and practices are now jeopardizing the safety of the residents of Canton as well as any of the rest of us (i.e. non-Canton residents) who might need emergency services while within the borders of Canton.
In March, Ed Balint of The Repository reported, in part, thusly:
At the ensuing Canton City Council (Council) President Rosario Carcione appeared "as a citizen" on the "public speaks" part of Council's agenda to criticize Council and the administration for the handling of the incident. On April 4th, Councilwoman Cirelli offered that Carcione had not "spoken under oath" and that perhaps - being a city employee - he should have been required to do so.
The Report caught up with Cirelli and Carcione after the April 4th meeting and asked about the incident. Here is a video of their face-to-face:
This past weekend Lori Monsesicz reported:
Officers were called to 1233 Dueber around 6:45 p.m. and found Morris [the victim] had been stabbed in the street in front of the house. Beard said that after he was stabbed, Morris tried to leave in a van, but instead crashed into two other vehicles. He was bleeding so badly that officers rushed him to the hospital in their cruiser, Beard [a Canton police detective] said.Canton Professional Firefighters Association (CPFA) president Rosario Carcione copied the SCPR on an email originally directed to Canton City Council members and Mayor Healy, to wit:
No ambulance service for the City of Canton again! [from closed station 8 at 1330 Deuber] What is wrong with you guys? After my email last night and the tragedies that occurred, today June 5, 2011 the City has stopped ambulance service again instead of bringing two firefighters in on overtime. Your silence on this issue speaks volumes to the voters. Are we protecting citizens, the administration, the party, or yourselves?
Joining Carcione in dismay at the ramifications of Station 8 being closed is Frank Morris (set to become councilman - 9th Ward - on January 1, 2012 and a relative of the victim) who expressed his disgust at the operation of Canton emergency services by the Healy administration to Healy himself:
Carcione's reference to the voters should be taken in the context of the CPFA having endorsed Healy November opponent - A.R. "Chip" Conde (Republican) - for mayor of Canton.
Undoubtedly, both sides in this argument want to take the high ground and claim it is all about the safety and responsiveness of emergency services.
To The Report, the truth of the matter is that both are jockeying for political advantage and while both undoubtedly do care are citizen safety at some level, one has to wonder which is the higher priority.
Healy has determined that his administration's moves on staffing of fire department services are prudent and proper and will point the finger at Carcione et al as being more about maintaining their numbers in the face of a Canton budget under stress.
Carcione's obligation to his union's membership is to protect their safety and to avoid the negative publicity that CPFA members unfairly get when press reports tell of the unavailability of Canton Fire Department ambulances.
It is amazing to the SCPR that Council lets the politicization of emergency services continue.
Isn't there anyone on Council who can say and enforce (by force of persuasion) on both the Healy administration and the CFPA a resolution that puts a stop to the political back and forth between the two contending forces?
Why doesn't Leader Dougherty show that he deserves, in terms of "real" leadership, the title Leader?