UPDATED AT 08:50 AM
A week ago today, the Stark County Political Report (the unidentified "local blogger" referred to by a local area newspaper reporter in a piece today) videotaped Republican Richard Regula (October 17th) saying that he intended on being a part-time Stark County commissioner, if elected next month.
Here is the "part-time commissioner" segment of that video. (LINK to full video)
Now Regula is back-peddling at a furious pace.
Here is an excerpt from a Stark County area media outlet report which was posted on the Internet early this morning:
Richard Regula, the Republican candidate for Stark County commissioner, now says that if he’s elected, he would work at Mercy Medical Center only part time.
“We’re definitely going to part time,” he said Monday. “I’m committed to being a full-time commissioner. But I do have loyalty to Mercy.”
Regula, a former county commissioner who has worked as Mercy’s market outreach director since May 2007, sought to clarify statements he made to [the local Canton newspaper] for a story in Monday’s edition.
Regula’s challenger Bill Smuckler, co-owner of Canton Hotel and Restaurant Supply, was surprised Tuesday to hear about Regula’s part-time status at Mercy. Smuckler said Regula never mentioned his reducing his schedule during a joint interview with a local radio talk show host Oct. 9 or during a videotaped interview with a local blogger that was posted online Oct. 18. During the blogger’s videotaped interview, Regula said Stark County had enough full-time politicians. (emphasis added).It is interesting that the local Canton newspaper appears to be assisting Regula in his endeavor to repair the self-inflicted damage.
Does this mean that the editors have decided to endorse him and they need some sort of rationalization on the part-time/full-time issue to make it credible?
As reported by the SCPR yesterday (LINK), Democrat candidate Bill Smuckler was beside himself with joy when a certain Stark County newspaper's staff member did an article which appeared on the front page of the print edition of that paper highlighting that the full-time (Smuckler) versus part-time (Regula) issue had blossomed into a key issue as to whom among the two will be elected.
This on top of Regula having said recently in an interview with WHBC1480 radio talk show host Ron Ponder (Points to Ponder) that he intended on being a part-time commissioner.
Ponder is having Smuckler and Regula back on this morning. The reason? Likely to expand on the part-time/full-time issue.
Smuckler has been smelling "political" blood on the issue ever since it broke out in the rumor mill. He says he plans a massive campaign over the next 14 days to make sure Stark County voters know about Regula's waffling on the part-time/full-time issue.
His effort to date appears to be paying off.
The Report understands that his phone has been ringing off the hook with Stark Countians indignant about his opponent thinking he can come in and take nearly $77,000 of taxpayer dollars as a part-timer.
Stark Countians ought to be tuning into Points to Ponder to hear Smuckler and Regula speaking to the issue today. The appearance is not to be a joint, in studio as it was on October 9th. Rather separately by telephone for about five minutes each with Regula insisting that he be the last on.
Though Regula has lost twice countywide (to Gary Zeigler in 2000 for county treasurer and as incumbent county commissioner to Todd Bosley in 2006), the SCPR figured Smuckler (a Canton Democrat having only won office within the confines of the city) would have a tough go of it countywide, especially in heavily Republican-dominant Lake and Jackson townships.
Smuckler has the same political pedigree as Democrat commissioner Tom Bernabei. And Bernabei would have lost in 2010 to Republican challenger and Jackson trustee James Walters, if an independent, conservative; if not right wing, candidate had not been running.
Before the media picked up on Regula's part-time assertion, rumors were swirling around Stark County that such was the case and Bill Smuckler has been and continues to capitalize on it big time!
It has become more and more apparent, largely due to the part-time/full-time issue and Smuckler's superior campaign vigor, that Smuckler has a real chance of winning notwithstanding that Regula is the son of long term 16th district congressman (now retired) Ralph Regula.
Get this. Smuckler is cutting new ground for a countywide candidate. He is sending out (apparently, door-to-door) flyers tailor made for a few specific townships (Jackson and Lake) and Massillon. Here is the one he distributed in Lake Township.
Here is a copy of the only flyer Richard Regula has provided the SCPR.
Now, two weeks before the election, Regula has finally figured out that his part-time stance is likely to be the edge that Smuckler has been looking for to make Regula a loser come November 6th.
So now he is in full damage control mode.
But he is now faced with the problem of: Who believes his turnabout?
The Report interprets his SCPR videotaped statement to mean that his first priority is not being Stark County commissioner but rather his own job security.
Obviously, it is in Regula's political self-interest to change his position from what it was just two days ago.
And he says he is about doing something good for Stark County implying much like Stark County Democratic Party chairman Randy Gonzalez (Jackson fiscal officer and Canton Municipal Court employee) that its about public service.
Actually Gonzalez makes a better case for rendering a public service than Regula (in terms of his sacrificing full employment at Mercy Medical Center if elected commissioner).
Gonzalez as project manager has done an excellent job putting together Stark's Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS). It is ranked at the very top of excellence statewide. Moreover, he has worked tirelessly (uncompensated) for 20 years or so trying to get Stark's 9-1-1 emergency services (fire, police and ambulance) up to state-of-the-art.
But he and other Gonzalez family members in public employment (he says that "public service" is a family tradition) are well compensated and the SCPR refuses to accept the public service label.
Richard Regula now is all about making a personal sacrifice (working "only" part-time at Mercy Medical Center) for the Stark County public good.
Hmm? Let's see. What is the salary for a Stark County commissioner?
Who will believe him?