Thursday, April 26, 2012


It is becoming more and more apparent to the SCPR that newly serving Massillon Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry seemingly is taking the advice of her prime political mentor and minder Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (former Stark County Democratic Party chairman) and politicizing employment in Massillon government to the extent she can do so.

Back on April 2nd, The Report published a blog (CLICK HERE TO REVIEW) which detailed actions of her administration to replace predecessor Mayor Frank Cicchinelli employees (Stevens and Kaminiski) with her own.

Unfortunately, how well either did their jobs seems to yours truly to have been irrelevant as to whether or not the Catazaro-Perry folks were going to abide them as carryover employees.

One of the concerns of many including the SCPR was that the Kathy Catazaro-Perry would not be in control if elected and that she rather would be dependent on the likes of Maier and his political handmaidens.

A tip off on her dependence on Maier et al is a common refrain she uses when asked a question the "approved" answer to which she is not clear on, to wit:  "I will have to get back to you on that."

The SCPR predicted that while, if elected, Catazaro-Perry would be the de jure mayor,  Maier would be the de facto mayor appears to be in full swing.

It may be that the firing of Matt Rice is the most egregious case of all of the mayor's attempt to apply a political litmus test as to whether or not one remained a Massillon employee or qualifies to become a city employee.

To his credit, Rice is fighting back.

And it appears that he has a fighting chance of surviving.

So much so that the administration seems hellbent on stopping Rice's creative strategy of claiming civil service protection as a classified employee.   If an employee is determined to be a classified employee,  he/she can only be fired on commission (Massillon Civil Service Commission) validation that the firing was for cause?

Does the Catazaro-Perry administration doubt its ability to show cause in the case of Rice?

Apparently so.

Under the political spoils system started Andrew Jackson (the 7th U.S. president) which the likes of Maier bask in, firing of employees for no reason(s) other than political patronage purposes to the benefit of the supporters of the victorious candidate is the order of the day.

The Catazaro-Perry folks are not following the lead of Republicans Alan Harold (Stark County auditor) and Alex Zumbar (Stark County treasurer) who, when elected, in the wake of public perceived administration problems in the county treasury and auditors office.

They distinguished between carryover employees who had very little going for them but for their political connections in getting their jobs in the prior administration and those who had demonstrated that they the competence to do the job and merited being kept on in the replacement administration.

In the case of Massillon, the new administration has decided to take its civil service commission to court in order to stop it from even considering whether or not Rice's claim of civil service coverage has any legal heft.

A SCPR source alleges:
... the administration has dragged its feet for three months, canceling scheduled meetings and hearings at the last minute and doing everything it can to keep the commission from performing its duty.  Motions were made and votes taken by the board but then were somehow disregarded and discarded when the employee prevailed.
A more disturbing allegation by The Report's source is that Mayor Catazaro-Perry is trying to get a member of the Massillon Civil Service Commission to resign.

The Report is told that former Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli appointed commissioners Dale Walterhouse (a Republican)  and Marcus Simpson (Massillon Middle School principal).

Assuming the allegation that Catazaro-Perry has asked for a resignation of one of the Cicchinelli appointees is correct, the question becomes:  which one?

A SCPR discussion with a source in the best position to assess says that Walterhouse - if the allegation is true - is the likely target.

Why Walterhouse?

Because Walterhouse ran against Catazaro-Perry in 2007 for the 3 Ward city council slot and that Cicchinelli was one of his "in the background" supporters.

Massillonians should be deeply troubled at the way the new mayor, from an employment standpoint, is getting her administration up and running.

It seems to be just the type of environment that 1829 - 1837 president of the United States Andrew Jackson would fit into perfectly.

"To the victor belong the spoils!"

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