Sunday, September 18, 2011


One thing that stands out about Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II is that over the term of his first four years he has had way too many incidents of having to explain the ethics of actions as a public official and notorious Stark County political figure.

So it came as no surprise when on 9/11 Mayor Healy (who the SCPR views as being "ethically challenged") barged into a Canton firefighter event specifically designed to "nonpolitically" honor America's fallen firefighter heros.

Canton firefighter Charlie Day (said to be "a man that you can take his word for it") is reported to have said that Healy threatened to charge Coming Together Stark County (a participant in the event) for police and barricades.  Of course, Healy denied the allegation as being "ridiculous."

Notwithstanding his denial, the SCPR finds Healy's power move to be consistent with how the mayor operates as a matter of course.  Sometimes he uses the naked power of office; other times he tries to grease and finesse his way.  However, the objective is always the same:  William J. Healy, II is always intent on it being "his way or the highway" and he will do whatever it takes to realize his goal.

Councilman-at-Large Bill Smuckler, from the perspective of the SCPR, has demonstrated that as public officials go, he is leaps and bounds ahead of Mayor Healy on the ethics plane.

That's why The Report was caught by surprise to read Ed Balint's piece (Canton City Council may raise fee for mobile venders, The Rep, September 16th) about Smuckler seeing no need to recuse himself from tomorrow evening's council vote on whether or not to impose a $250 daily mobile vendor's license fee:  an increase of 100%. 

The SCPR always applauds a pro and con discussion on any policy decision.  It just that Smuckler should not have been the person to introduce a license fee increase and lead the pro-permanent-restaurant point-of-view.  Since he does have a financial interest (self-described as being small) in the subject matter of the legislation, Smuckler (owner of a restaurant supply company) should follow the lead of Councilman Greg Hawk (Ward 1 and restaurant owner) and recuse himself from further participation in the matter.

While "that horse is already out of the barn" in terms of Smuckler weighing in with other council members and while it may not be a "conflict in interest" in the strict definition of the phrase (i.e. he is only one of twelve council members); the SCPR is disappointed with and surprised at Smuckler's insensitivity to his personal interest in the matter - the smallness of the interest notwithstanding.

The increase in the mobile license fees should be decided by the remaining ten council members and Council President Allen Schulman (in the event of a tie).

Smuckler has told the SCPR that he has some interest in running for county commissioner come 2012.

One thing that Stark Countians should be insisting upon for 2012 is that candidates for county office have impeccable ethics.

For The Report, if Smuckler persists in the mobile vendor licensing matter; such will be a signal to county voters, that should he run for county office, they need to examine closely whether or not his ethical standards in holding public office are at the level they need to be at.

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