Saturday, December 24, 2011


2011 was not a good year for Stark County government.

Though the Stark County commissioners rid themselves of Gary Zeigler as treasurer by negotiating a questionable resignation/retirement deal from a Stark County taxpayer standpoint (Zeigler got over $200,000 when one includes his attorney fees), the persistent Zeigler in the headlines factor appear to the SCPR to have been a drag on citizen morale and confidence in county government.

The commissioners did get a 0.5% sales tax issue passed but they had to pull out all stops on "a fear factor" campaign and ended up with added revenues designed to allow county government to limp along until another financial crisis emerges in a year or two or three from now.

Despite the talk about making Stark County government (including county government itself) more efficient by  working collaboratively with outlier villages, cities and townships, very little progress has been made mainly due to the foot dragging opposition of Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II.

Healy's consistent and persistent "my way or the highway" attitude and conduct earns him this years "all by myself" 2011 "Lump of Coal" award from the Stark County Political Report.

Whatever topic it is, if William J. Healy, II or one of his loyalists is not "in charge" at the end of the day, "it ain't going to happen - no matter, no way!"

The SCPR has written extensively over the nearly four years of The Report's existence of the hugely detrimental force Healy has been for real progress and development in Canton and, because it is Stark's county seat and largest city, for Stark County.

Because of Healy and his demand to be in control, a fully repaired and functioning 9-1-1 emergency services system cannot be finalized all at an annual cost savings to Canton itself of nearly half-a-million-dollars.  Of course, there is the unquantifiable savings in lives, aggravated medical conditions and injuries that might be sustained by those in need of optimum 9-1-1 response that can only be reached by a fully rehabbed and thereby integrated Stark County-wide system being in place.

Because of Healy and his demand to be in control, Stark County will come up short in having a complete and total consolidation of health department services, building code enforcement services and informational technologies service.

Commissioner Pete Ferguson signaled this past week that he going full speed ahead on merging county's other than city of Canton building departments (though he is giving Healy one last try).  Good for Pete. Shame on Bill that it is likely that Ferguson can save his time and breath on Hizzhoner.

Healy's end game seems to be in the view of The Report in using Canton to catapult himself into much higher political office.

In his own mind, he appears to the SCPR to think he is gubernatorial/U.S. senatorial type material or perhaps a second-term Obama appointee prospect.

However, to get there he must use Canton and Stark County government and political successes, as he spins them, to get the attention of statewide and national kingmakers and thereby benefit himself to attain at a level he believes he is eminently qualified for and deserving of.

After he has created a series of  faux and temporal local successes, he likely will move onto the bigger and better and leave Cantonians and Stark Countians holding the bag.

For being the self-serving politician he is, the Stark County Political Report awards Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II its 2011 "Lump of Coal" award!

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