Thursday, October 4, 2012


In recent times North Canton City Council has experienced a  turnover in its composition.

Gone are former council president Daryl Revoldt (replaced by Cerreta), Pat DeOrio (replaced by Griffith), Jeff Davies (replaced by Fox, replaced by Werren).

Both Revoldt and DeOrio were legislative powerhouses that left one thinking how in the world was North Canton going to be able to replace them.

And, with Revoldt gone, there has seemed to be some drop off in terms of the direction that North Canton government is heading.

North Canton (a population of 17,465) is still reeling in some fashion from closure (2007/2008) of the Hoover sweeper manufacturing operations and 88 acre building complex (1.44 million square feet) nestled in the center of the city which was once named New Berlin.

The company had its beginnings in what is now nicknamed The Dogwood City in 1908.

The Hoover complex has been bought out by a re-developer (Maple Street Commerce, Ltd./Stuart Lichter) who is working with council and the Mayor David Held administration and within the private sector to rebuild the lost Hoover job.

At its peak, Hoover employed 2400.

Now North Canton is struggling to rebound and claims to have added 1500 jobs citywide over recent years.

It could be that with the naming of Canton native Stephanie Snow Werren as the replacement for now Law Director Tim Fox (newly elected to council in November, 2011 as Ward 3 councilman), council may have added a key person as council searches with the Held administration.

Below is a video of council selecting Werren last night and various statements she made about her coming on board as a councilperson.

In looking at her employment and community involvement history, it seems to the SCPR that in her work as development director of Leadership Stark County (a Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce effort) and having graduated from Leadership's government academy and its signature group herself, she has made many, many contacts within the business community of greater Stark County and Stark County's political leaders and might thereby be uniquely positioned to be a bridge-builder between North Canton and adjoining communities (Jackson, Plain and Lake townships and the city of Canton) to work out cooperative economic development projects.

The Report was somewhat mystified that she was not chosen when she applied earlier this year to replace Plain Township School Board member Chris Cugini who was dismissed in January, 2012 for missing too many board meetings.

Werren's father Randy Snow, a partner in the law firm Black McCusky Souers & Arbaugh,  (see LINK for community involvement) and father-in-law John Werren of the law firm DayKetterer (see LINK for community involvement) are additional connections Stephanie Werren connections into the high reaches of Stark County's power broker community.

Moreover, her husband Curt is the CEO of the American Red Cross Stark County Regional Chapter.  Formerly, he was a colleague of his father at DayKetterer.

In the video interview, Werren appears to accept The Report's characterization of her functioning as a bridge-builder for North Canton to outlying communities.

Historically, North Canton (seemingly geographically hemmed in) has tried in the past to work out various agreements with Jackson, Plain and Canton, but has not been able to make much, if any, progress on those fronts.

It will be interesting to see how Werren actually factors into the North Canton revitalization effort.

As readers of the SCPR know, yours truly is unimpressed with the results that graduates of Leadership Stark County have wrought to Stark County governmental leadership circles and county economic redevelopment efforts.

The Report sees Leadership Stark County as being for the most part a credential building enterprise that looks good on one's resume but which does not produce stellar - in fact - leaders.

Perhaps Werren will prove to be a departure from The Report's take on Leadership Stark County.

Here is the video of her swearing-in, her comments and reaction by a number of council members about her selection.

(Note:  questions in the video are being asked a la  press conference style by the SCPR, The Repository's Robert Wang, the Akron Beacon Journal's Dottie McGrew and a representative of the North Canton Patch)

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