Tuesday, May 14, 2013



Councilwoman Andrea Scassa On Her Vote

Councilwoman Nancy Halter On Her Vote

Councilman Ed Lewis, IV On His Vote

Councilman Donnie Peters, Jr.
 On the Dire Consequences Massillon

Council Paul Manson On His Vote

The Entire Debate/Vote on Ordinance 35

While the final vote last night at a special session of Massillon City Council went 6 to 3 against the Catazaro-Perry administration negotiated deal with the Hampton Inn located in downtown Massillon whereby the city would cancel its second mortgage ($2.25 million) and liens in exchange for a payment of $1.2 million, the SCPR believes that the dynamics of getting to that final vote was a lot more fluid and "touch and go" than the final number indicates.

The Report had the 6th sense that if the mayor had the requisite persuasion skills one must have to be an effective government executive especially in relation to legislative body, she could have won the vote - perhaps even reversing the 6 to 3 vote to being in favor of the ordinance.

Democratic Councilwoman Andrea Scassa (Ward 3 - the mayor's old ward), said she did not make up her mind until the last moment.

Last week, before the regular city council meeting, Republican Ward 2 Councilwoman Nancy Halter was telling The Report that she did not know how she would vote on the measure.  But by last night, she definitely had decided.

It could be that in the end, her historical opposition to the deal in the first place (back in 1999) was a critical factor.  As show in the video above, she also articulated a council fear that were it to agree to the deal and the hotel was subsequently sold for a handsome profit that council would look - in hindsight - like it had been duped.

And Ed Lewis, IV (Republican - Ward 6) said at the special session that he had been leaning towards voting for Ordinance 35.  Here he explains why he decided to vote "no."

In the end, the mayor and her administration was not persuasive with him and a majority of the Massillon City Council.

One has to wonder whether or not the administration's failure to get the hotel to agree to $10,000 a year downtown Massillon beautification as opposed to $5,000 was a key to the Lewis vote?

Last night's vote against her seems to be a confirmation that the mayor has very little, if any, sway with council members.

It could be that she is having an effect on Councilwoman Quenessa Hampton (Democratic Party appointee - Ward 4) who was one of the three yes votes along with Councilman Donnie Peters, Jr. (Republican - Ward 5) and Democratic Councilman Paul Manson (at -large).

Peters was the most dire in his prediction of the long term consequences to Massillon.

Paul Manson, while he voted "yes" was obviously tentative about that vote.

He was more measured and reflective of the consequences of the "no" vote than Peters, and, interesting enough, he suggests that the mayor may bring negative reaction from some members of council upon herself.  

Most intriguing of all is his suggestion that the issue may still be alive. He did note that the hotel has been doing relatively well of late which could explain why he thinks that there could be ongoing discussions with the hotel's developer (John Helline) to coming to a solution more palatable to a majority of council.

Apparently, the mayor sees herself as a persuasive person.

She shared last night how she was able to convince five Ward 4 residents, brought to her attention by Councilwoman Hampton, of the wisdom of her hotel financing mitigation effort.

Implicit in the mayor's recital is that Councilwoman Hampton was soft on the hotel finance deal, if not adverse to it, prior to the administrations' successful turnaround of some of her constituents.

So why is Mayor Kathy apparently ineffective with many other, if not most, members of council?

There are several possible reasons to ruminate upon:

One being that a number of the councilpersons feel she has not been transparent with them as promised when she first took office.

A second could be a feeling that she is only a figurehead mayor and that folks calling the shots in the executive suites of Massillon City Hall are named Maier and Jackson from their clerk of courts perch.

Thirdly, how about a perceived obstinance?

Witness her go-around with council on her adamant insistence that Massillon raise sorely needed revenues via reducing the tax credit that Massillonians get on out-of-town income taxes they pay coupled with things like having residents pay street lighting fees.

The Report is told that she is meeting on a more or less a weekly basis with fellow Democratic Mayor William J. Healy, II.

There is no doubt about him.  He clearly is a "my way or the highway" type guy.

Question:  Is he rubbing off on Catazaro-Perry?

The mayor, Catazaro-Perry, appears to turn heads and get things going her way out in the Massillon and Stark County social circles.  However, such does not seem to be the case in Massillon's internal political milieu.

In short and in summation, for whatever reason it appears to the SCPR that Mayor Kathy does not have the trust and confidence of much of Masillion's legislative body.

And the prospects of that changing with 2014 - 2015 council to be elected in November are virtually non-existent.

Perhaps it would be helpful to the mayor were she to reconsider her ways (attitude) with council.

If she were to do so, could it be that she might win some of the controversial votes that come before council?

Here is the SCPR video on the entire Ordinance 35 debate.

No comments: