Some time ago Pete Ferguson as a member of the Stark County Board of Commissioners initiated an effort to bring all the cities of Stark together under an umbrella department of local government to offer Stark Countians "a-one-stop-shop" building inspection operation.
The commissioners appointed a group of citizens headed up by former Commissioner Tom Harmon to look into whether or not consolidating far flung building code compliance inspection functions (i.e. Alliance, Canton, Massillon, North Canton et cetera) with the Stark County wide (covering the townships) building inspection department was practical and efficient.
Well, the Harmon led group came back to the commission and the report was "affirmative;" it is the thing to do.
But there was a major problem.
Mayor William J. Healy, II of Canton.
If it ain't his idea and, more importantly, if he ain't going to be in charge at the end of the day - "it ain't going to happen!!!
And it did not help matters that Harmon was part of the Bill Smuckler campaign to unseat Healy from the Canton mayoralty
Ferguson tells the SCPR that when Harmon made his positive report on building inspection department merger, he got a phone call from an irate Mayor Healy.
One would think that Ferguson would simply give up on the project for as long as Healy is mayor of Canton.
But not the eternal optimist Ferguson.
On Tuesday he got an email from the County Commissioner Association of Ohio detailing a new Kasich administration Ohio Department of Development program designed to promote realization of ideas such as Ferguson's, to wit:
Local Government Innovation Fund Application
The Local Government Innovation Fund consists of $45 million to be awarded in the form of grants and loans to political subdivisions for local government innovation projects. Of the $45 million, $9 million is available for grant awards and $36 million is available for loan awards. Funds will be awarded to projects that promote efficiency, shared services, coproduction, and mergers among local governments. Projects are also expected to facilitate improved business environments and promote community attraction. (Source: Ohio County Commissioners Ass'n website)
Here is a video of Commissioner Ferguson speaking about his consolidation efforts at yesterday's commissioner meeting.
The SCPR applauds Ferguson for his persistence.