Love him or not, a fair-minded person would say unequivocally that Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. truly loves the city of Massillon, Ohio.
It has been a bitter political tussle between the long time mayor and neophyte Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry and her prime promoter Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (Massillon clerk of courts). Much longer than the formal period when Catazaro-Perry filed to run in the Democratic Primary against Cicchinelli. But in the end, Cicchinelli exits gracefully and with the best interest of Massillonians in mind.
A last minute glitch that might have tarnished Cicchinelli's transition to civilian life was the thought by some that he might not sign legislation to finalize Ken Koher's appointment by Catazaro-Perry to be her budget director.
In fact, one Massillon politico e-mail the SCPR that Cicchinelli had not signed the legislation as 4:30 p.m. December 30, 2011.
However, a source tells The Report that he (apparently, after agonizing over the decision) did go back to the office on the 31st and sign the ordinance.
So in the end, he did what is best for Massillon. Tigerland did not need a gap in governance in the context of Koher having to wait a period of time before having official status.
Catazaro-Perry's problems are far from over.
The word is that an ultimatum has been laid down by recently elected Massillon City Council (Council) Republican councilpersons Cunningham (Ward 1), Halter (Ward 2) and Lewis (Ward 6) to Donnie Peters (R - Ward 6) and Republican Milan Chovan (council at large) to sign onto a Massillon Republican Caucus or else.
Republican opponents in 2013?
The problem for Peters and Chovan is that both have close associations with Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. and that he undoubtedly is putting pressure on them to support everything Catazaro-Perry.
The Report hears that Peters is set to become majority leader. The source says that Peters will not be able to maintain control of the Republican side of the isle and, of course, much less the direction of Council. Peters is painted by the source as being an undisciplined councilperson that has a hard time paying attention for an entire meeting.
A source of the SCPR says this about Peters and Chovan.
Current Councilman Donnie Peters, who used to be a democrat (sic), shunned the other candidates during the campaign. He refused to take part in any campaign events with them and boycotted the candidates' group photo used in their ads.Second, Chovan:
Milan Chovan, who also is a democrat (sic), was selected to run as a republican (sic) for an at large council seat by Johnnie Maier only after he declined an offer by Maier and Elum to back him in a run as a democrat against Cicchinelli in the primary for the mayor's seat.
[Cunningham, Halter and Lewis] have a dilemma with Chovan when it comes to private republican political caucuses. They know that whatever is discussed will immediately be reported to Maier and Elum.While Cunningham, Halter and Lewis will likely support the new mayor's initiatives here and there, do not expect them to be interested in being reliable support in the sense of whatever Mayor Kathy comes up with and the ramifications that such would have for the 2015 mayoral elections.
Democrats Townsend, Scassa and Slagle likely will be.
But Paul Manson? Not on your life! He likely to be: "If Mayor Catazaro-Perry is for it, then I am against it!"
So there will be a real fight within the membership of Massillon City Council on any given piece of controversial legislation that the Catazaro-Perry administration offers.
As the SCPR sees it, on any controversial vote on a Catazaro-Perry proposal, the decision will likely turn on a 5 to 4 vote with a lot of political arm twisting going on in the background.