Friday, June 8, 2012


On Monday just passed at the Stark County Council on Governments (SCOG) regular monthly meeting, Marlboro Township trustee and SCOG member Kenneth Eddleman asked 9-1-1 rehabilitation project manager Joe Concatto whether or not the rebuild of the system was on the "backburner."

Concatto's answer:  "I guess you could put it that way."

Another terrific question asked by Eddlemen was what is the point of extending Concatto as project manager (which was done on Monday at the SCOG meeting for an additions six months) if the matter is on the "backburner."

Over the last six months, SCOG paid Concatto $2,100 to continue on as needed as project manager.

Here's the video of the the exchange between Eddleman and Concatto.

And you can believe the SCPR in saying that Concatto was being kind, very kind to SCOG chairman Thomas Ream in not fingering the chairman as a factor is the 9-1-1 project achieving the dubious distinction of being put on the "backburner."

The Report sees him as being in league with Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II to bring what was once "full speed ahead," on rebuilding, what was pronounced in a commissioned report circa 2007/2008 as being  a "broken 9-1-1," to a near grinding halt.

Any further progress of bringing county wide 9-1-1 reform may be permanently derailed.

For those readers who are not all that familiar with the history of the 9-1-1 saga, here are a couple links.
A  more thorough search of the blogs of the SCPR will yield many, many blogs on the progression of the 9-1-1 in the glory of all its "fits and starts and stops and restarts" due to the politics of the situation.

The project is now at a point that the Stark County commissioners are not sure which direction to go with the $2.1 million that they hold as residue of monies collected as a consequence of a December, 2008 "imposed" sales tax increase voted in by the then-commissioners Bosley, Harmon, and Vignos.

One of the reasons given for the stall in progress on the 9-1-1 rebuild at Monday's meeting by Concatto was that he is waiting for the commissioners to decide as to whether or not to spend money on "state-of-the-art" dispatching software (Computer-Assisted-Dispatch/CAD) or apply it to buying and distributing 800 mhz radios to Stark's police and fire departments.

What he didn't say was that because Healy through Safety Director Ream withdrew the leasing offer of the city of Canton owned Canton Communications Center after leading the likes of SCOG Governance Committee chair Randy Gonzalez to believe that a SCOG run refurbished 9-1-1 would be able to integrate the Canton center at lease cost of $1 per year.

But as the actual time for the transaction to transpire neared, Healy and Ream started inching away and later seemed to be running away from Canton's commitment leaving the countywide 9-1-1 rehab "in the lurch," as it were.

The Canton "monkey wrench" has had what appears to be the desired effect which The Report believes was contemplated by Healy. "On the backburner" may not be an apt description of the project.  It may be for all intents purposes dead.

Even the Stark County commissioners (Bernabei and Creighton both have anti-Healy track records), have been forced to rethink what is to be done with the money the commissioners are holding for 9-1-1.

The Report caught up with Commissioner Thomas Bernabei after the end of the commissioners' regular Wednesday meeting (June 6, 2012).

Here is what he had to say:

While the Healy/Ream "foot dragging" is not the only reason for the stall/stoppage of the 9-1-1 project to the SCPR's way of thinking, IT IS the MAIN reason.

For them, as The Report sees it, the "foot dragging" is mostly about the mayor being in control when, if ever, the 9-1-1 would be completed.   Healy is well known in Stark County government and political circles as being a "my way or the highway" sort of guy.

Sooner or later,  it is predictable that there will be a failure to provide effective call receiving/dispatching coordination with the consequences being an ensuing human tragedy.  And, undoubtedly, we will then hear that if we had this software or that hardware or facility et cetera,  the failure would not have occurred.

The SCPR wants to know if Mayor Healy and his ally Ream will be stepping forward in the wake of such a tragedy to accept some of the responsibility for the failure?

It seems to The Report as if public officials like Healy and Ream think they can play their political games with the public welfare and safety and not be held accountable.

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