A study or an heaven sent to "twist Canton Mayor Healy's arm?"
The SCPR thinks that the Sisters of Charity funding ($75,000) of yet another study of whether or not "it is the thing to do" to merge the Stark County and Canton City health departments is in "realpolitik" an effort to put moral pressure on Healy to set aside his ego for the best health interests of all of Stark County.
Even Healy, as brassy as he is, is not likely to call the head of the Sisters of Charity upbraiding the charity for funding the project.
Last year he lashed out at Commissioner Pete Ferguson for having the audacity of commissioning former Commissioner Tom Harmon (who helped Bill Smuckler in his mayoralty race against Healy, May, 2011) and other Stark Countians to study the merger of building departments from throughout Stark County into a "one-stop-shopping" agency of government.
Healy has done pretty much the same thing on the Randy Gonzalez-led effort to fix Stark County 9-1-1 emergency fire, police and EMT call receiving and dispatch, but with a different approach.
He hasn't screamed at Gonzalez or Project Manager Joe Concatto (who carries the additional baggage of having worked in former Canton Mayor Janet Creighton's administration). His tactic in this instance is refusing to respond to their entreaties to get Canton to take the next step towards completing the consolidation.
Of course, we all remember the episode last year when Healy's safety director Tom Ream (who is chairman of the Stark County Council of Governments which is overseeing the consolidation) moved to take over the project manager function when federal government funding for the position ran out.
And then there is the IT (Information Technology) duplication housed both with Stark County Auditor Alan Harold and Canton. There's been talk by Harold and the rational people working for him that becoming more efficient with taxpayer dollars certainly appears to be a thing to do. But The Report hears that "mum is the word" from those reporting to Healy on the city side of the equation.
So why all this resistance from Mayor Healy?
As the SCPR sees it, the mayor has two problems with the talked about mergers/consolidations:
- He is not so much opposed to blending operations, but he insists that the outcome be controlled by Canton government inasmuch as it is the largest city in Stark County and moreover because it is the county seat, and
- Probably his most despised pair of political adversaries are Stark County commissioners: Republican Janet Creighton and Democrat Tom Bernabei.
Undoubtedly, the umpteenth study on this or that consolidation/merger will come back in the affirmative.
It goes without saying. It is a "no-brainer."
But to point to and focus on studies is irrelevant to William J. Healy, II, unless, of course, they support his position.
He is truly a "my way or the highway" type of guy.
While Commissioner Pete Ferguson is well liked by nearly everybody, the SCPR believes he has been - let's say: less than steller - as county commissioner.
But he has worked industriously on three projects:
- Getting Stark County a Veterans medical or living facility,
- Promoting the county's use of BidExpress to streamline local government contract bidding/bid award procedures, and, of course,
- consolidating/merging redundant local government services (i.e. building, health, 9-1-1 and IT).
Only Healy seems to stand in the way.
With the entry of the Sisters of Charity into the foray in a funding sense, the question becomes:
Will such prove to be a "heaven sent twist" of Mayor Healy's arm and thereby bless Ferguson with a legacy to leave that has eluded him for the better part of four years?
Well, 264 days remain before Commissioner Ferguson leaves office.
Shall we declare a period of prayer and fasting beseeching for the "arm of the Lord" to do His work?