Monday, May 14, 2012
MASSILLON MAYOR KATHY CATAZARO-PERRY MOTTO: "IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED, TRY, TRY AGAIN?"
It is becoming obvious that the new mayor of Massillon has less ideas on fixing the city's budget shortfall than the the man she chased from office.
Moreover it appears that Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry is prepared to engage a prolonged stand-off with Massillon City Council in order to get some semblance of financial stability in Tigerland but being fixated on one idea.
The most immediate relief to the financial woes for Massillon is to get council to go along with a reduction in the city's income tax credit for taxes that Massillonians pay to other villages/municipalities where they work.
She failed on a 8 to 1 vote (only Councilman Slagle voting for her proposal) on March 5th. (LINK to prior blog) to reduce the tax by 50% for a two year period of time.
She now proposes a reworked credit reduction of 35% for an indefinite term.
But where are the changes of heart coming from for Mayor Kathy to prevail this time around?
Trouble is for Mayor Kathy is that Republicans (who now control council 5 to 4) do not like to raise taxes in any way, shape or form.
While they were sincere in saying that they regret the need to layoff 27 city workers (all union employees - 10 firemen, 9 policemen, 6 street department workers and 2 from the city sanitation department); philosophically, these Republicans appear to be committed to "living within one's means" and sometimes that means incurring the pain of cutting jobs.
So it would be really, really surprising if the mayor is going to be able to convince any of the Massillon Republican council members to come over to her side on a relatively minor modification of the old idea.
The SCPR believes that she may well pick up Democratic councilpersons Scassa and Townsend on a second go round.
But perhaps not Paul Manson who seems to be committed to putting on a 0.2% add on to the city income tax subject to the approval of Massillon voters.
A burning question has to be whether or not she will lose Councilman Slagle's vote this on her second try.
How about because he is getting trashed in the media by the Maier faction of the Massillon Democratic Party.
Safety-Service Director George Maier and his brother Clerk of Court Johnnie A. Maier have lashed out (George - "shame on them") at those (Slagle, Townsend, Manson from council; Auditor Jayne Ferrero, Law Director Perry Stergios and Treasurer Paul Lambert) who recently took an "automatic" (by virtue of 1995 city council legislation) 3.5% pay increase in the midst of Massillon's current financial crisis.
Moreover, it appears that a Massillon based "anonymous" (indicative of cowardice, no?) political blog which hammers away at any who criticize, or are uncooperative with, or do not bend to the will of the Catazaro-Perry administration, has been assigned the task of politically hatcheting Slagle in that the blog focuses on him over beyond others taking the raise.
The SCPR believes that the blog is the work of Johnnie A. Maier,Jr. political operative (political director of the Stark County Democratic Party) and Maier chief deputy Massillon clerk of court Shane Jackson.
A move that The Report believes borders on being politically moronic in that Slagle so far as been Catazaro-Perry's only support on the tax reduction issue.
It will be interesting to see exactly how politically mature Councilman Slagle is.
If he sticks by the mayor in a second vote in the face of the severe criticism leveled to him by Catazaro-Perry's nearest and dearest political allies, one has to be completely impressed with this councilman-at-large doing what he thinks is best for Massillon notwithstanding the bashing he is taking from the mayor's friends.
The SCPR would not be surprised to see Slagle stick with the mayor notwithstanding the thumpings he has gotten.
The Report sees him as a thoughtful guy who has a thick political hide.
Moreover, as a liberal Democrat he undoubtedly feels more comfortable with tax increases that the Republicans do.
But on the other hand he has gotten bounced around by the Maier political family.
In the end, his decision will probably depend on how much ego he has.
While the mayor is likely to get up to two and, perhaps, as many as four votes; do not look for her to get to the magical number of five.
At least, not this time around.
The police and firefighters are turning up the pressure big time.
The laid off police just did a media event designed to elicit empathy/sympathy from the Massillon electorate to the point of motivating voters to put pressure on council to approve the quickest route to generating new revenues.
Will the Republicans be able to withstand the pressure of emotionally driven constituents calling them and insisting they give in to the administration?
The laid off firefighters have appealed their layoffs the Massillon Civil Service Commission.
If they persist and it looks like they are ultimately going to win a demand that at least five of the ten laid off be reinstated, will the prospect of their prevailing cause one or more of the Republicans to yield?
Republican Councilman Donnie Peters, Jr (chairman of the finance committee) says he is not considering changing his vote unless and until "the contracts of police officers and firefighters are settled."
The Report believes he likely expresses the attitude of all his fellow Republicans.
Catazaro-Perry says she has "ideas" (emphasis added) about solving Massillon's financial dilemma.
Why then is she back to council for a second round on the same old idea that was so thoroughly trounced on March 5th?