Tuesday, December 18, 2012


UPDATE:  09:30 AM


Last night the members of Massillon City Council (Tony Townsend - 4th Ward - was not present at the work session) reached a consensus on a plan to meet the financial demands of the city in the upcoming and immediately ensuing years.

Finance Committee chairman Donnie Peters, at the end of the meeting, said - based on the consensus arrived at by members participating in the work session - that he would request that Massillon Law Director Perry Stergios prepare legislation placing on the May 7, 2013 ballot (primary election) to question Massillon voters whether or not they were willing to have their income tax rate go up from 1.8% to 2.1% with the proviso that out-of-city working Massillonians would be capped at the 1.8% figure in terms of the credit they will receive for paying taxes to another taxing jurisdiction.

Notwithstanding the near unanimity of council (remembering that Townsend was not present during the work session discussion), one important factor is on record as not being in accord with council's plan; namely, Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

Her plan has been to reduce the 1.8% tax credit to out-of-town workers and to have council impose street lighting fees.

Will council's plan pass not having the support of the mayor?

The SCPR talked with most of the members present.


Councilman-at-Large and Republican Milan Chovan said he thinks that everything has been done that can be responsibly done in the way of cuts and that he is fully on board with asking the voters whether or not they want to supply additional revenues to city coffers.

As an interesting aside, Chovan told The Report that he is undecided as to whether or not he will seek a second term on council.  He says that business considerations may make remaining on council impractical in terms of his having to do job related travel that might interfere with his ability to be a fully participating member of council.

He did say that he would not file petitions and run for office and if elected decide later that his new business directions were compatible with his being on council.

There is another development that may have implication on how the 2014 Massillon City Council lines up.

The SCPR notes that Cicchinelli administration Safety-Service Director Mike Loudiana has taken out petitions to run for Ward One council seat now held by Republican Sarah Cunningham-Hedderly.

Loudiana, a Democrat, is a former councilman who knows his way around council.  And you can bet that, if elected, he would be big-time trouble for Catazaro-Perry

The Report's take on Loudiana is that as councilman he would bring all of his insight gained as a Cicchinelli administration insider to bear on scrutinizing each and every move of the current mayor.

He would - in a phrase - "be Catazaro-Perry's worst nightmare."

Especially so, if he believes that any given Catazaro-Perry initiative, apparently from her administration is, in reality, right out of the of the playbook of Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

One would think that the mayor and her Massillon political cabal would make Ward One "a battle royale" if Loudiana actually files his petitions.

With the possibility that Chovan will not be seek reelection and with the distinct probability that a Loudiana Ward One candidacy would result in the Republicans losing a ward seat, it seems that come January 1, 2014 Democrats might once again control Masillion City Council.

But such would be of little solace to Democrat Catazaro-Perry.

For it is rather obvious that in Massillon the Democratic Party is not a united entity.

It is hard to see going forward, how the difficult road the mayor now has to trod gets any better.

While it is three years until she comes up for reelection, signs are already appearing that getting reelected may be a tall order indeed for the mayor.

Might we see Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr back as mayor come January 1, 2016?


Ward 6 Councilman Ed Lewis (a Republican) was the focus of a SCPR blog of about a week ago (LINK) in which he basically took the position that the democratic thing to do was not for council to take the question of city financing out of the hands of the voters (as the Catzaro-Perry plan would do in having council implement it) but rather to let the voters decide the matter.  He is open to the possibility that Massillonians will say "no," and, of course, council would then have to work with the administration to make additional cuts.

Here is Lewis speaking with the SCPR after last night's work session.


Councilman-at-Large Paul Manson (a Democrat) does not see the tax issue as being a cure (over the longer term) for Massillon's financial ills.  What he is interested in is Massillon growing it way out of its fiscal doldrums with the creation of new jobs which of course generates "new" income tax revenues for the city.

Such was the focus of his video comments to the SCPR.


Ward 2 Councilwoman Nancy Halter (a Republican) says she is pleased with the way council has worked through the question of what to do about Massillon's financial difficulties.

The SCPR's impression has been that Halter has been a leading voice on council to insist that the Catazaro-Perry administration make cut before council consider any kind of a revenue increase for the city.  A significant point that she makes in her interview with The Report is that she is satisfied with the cuts made by the administration.


Democratic Ward 3 Councilwoman Andrea Scassa.  She is Catzaro-Perry's successor.

However, it appears to the SCPR that she is not overly concerned that the mayor has decided to go her way whereas council has decided on a different direction in terms of whether or not the mayor's position will hurt the electoral chances of a tax issue passing in May.


Ward 5 Councilman Donnie Peters a week or so ago was saying that it would be impossible to pass a tax issue in Massillon without the mayor's support.

But last night, he was singing a somewhat different tune.

It seems to the SCPR that Massillon City Council is as united as it has ever been and it will be interesting to see whether or not a 0.3% income tax increase can pass in the face of Mayor Catazaro-Perry not being on board with council's plan.

Perhaps, as Councilman Manson was hopeful of in his on camera remarks, the mayor will rethink matters and get solidly and enthusiastically behind the council plan.

Her support probably is not critical to the measure's passage, but having it is certainly better than not having it.

As readers of the SCPR know, yours truly feared that the election of Catzaro-Perry would result in Massillon having a "figure-head-esque" leader.

The Report believes that she is the political captive of Massillon Clerk of Court of Court Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and his Massillon political machine. 

The Report thinks that Catazaro-Perry's intransigence vis-a-vis council on the tax issue is borne of her relationship with the Maier camp and Maier's historical opposition to tax increases (in the context of ballot initiatives).

Maier is an "old school political might makes right" guy who learned at the knee of the quintessential past Ohio political power broker Vern Riffe when Maier was a member of the Ohio House during part of Riffe's long term as Speaker of the House.

And the SCPR's concerns seem to have been realized.

Catazaro-Perry has surrounded herself with Maier people in her administration.  The only person that The Report has confidence in in terms of being his own person is finance man Ken Koher (a former Stark County treasurer).

In her overreliance on the Maier entourage, The Report thinks that the mayor is demonstrating a political immaturity and thereby shortchanging the citizens of Massillon on providing leadership unique to her and her alone.

Yours truly is currently reading a book on Thomas Jefferson.  The writer of the book cites German philosopher Immanuel Kant on the topic of maturity.

Kant defines immaturity thusly:
If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them ... regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult.
So the SCPR calls on the mayor to abandon her over dependence on her political supporter and mentor and to be her own person.

Perhaps, if she does, she might find a way to work with council to do what is good for the city of Massillon!

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