Friday, June 7, 2013


Yesterday, yours truly was discussing with a prominent Massillon political figure the administration of Mayor Kathy Catzaro-Perry.

Politician:  "Kathy wants to be a ceremonial mayor; she doesn't like the rough and tumble world of power politics."

SCPR:  Well, maybe she would like to be the Queen of England?"

Unfortunately, the queenship is not vacant and there is no parallel position in the United States of America.

As we all know, far from the days of George the Third and the days encompassing the American Revolution, the monarchy of Great Britain no longer wields any political power.

Queen Elizabeth II has lived a rather placid life since being coronated as queen in 1953.

Among her duties:  (Source:  Wikipedia article [LINK])
  • performs ceremonies for governments (she is head of some 20 governments that currently make up the British Commonwealth),
  • gives out honors, and
  • visits charities
Doing such certainly puts her as being the "Dame of Britain's high society, no?

While she cannot achieve Queen of England-esque status, the SCPR believes that Catazaro-Perry has made her mark in what exists of Stark County High Society.

Area newspapers are replete with this activity and that event that Herhonor (as mayor and even, pre-mayoralty days) has participated in or presided over a considerable number of years.  She has done many good works for children with special needs and has spearheaded community efforts to improve their plight in life.

And undoubtedly she has savored every precious moment of the ceremonial duties and honorific tasks that have fallen her way by virtue of being mayor of Massillion.  Moreover, she has to be pleased to have been productive in convincing her poobah Stark Countian friends to rally around her special needs children cause.

But there is a downside to being Massillon Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

It is called "hardball" politics.

She and her political consorts and sponsors (Massillon Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr [also a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman]) and his chief deputy Shane Jackson [the political director of the Stark County Democratic Party) thrust her into "hardball" politics when she decided to take on 24 year Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr in the May, 2011 Democratic Primary.

Maier and Jackson are masters of "take no prisoners" power politics and in a very impressive showing bounced the native Massillonian (Catazaro-Perry originated from adjacent to Massillon Perry Township) from office.

Catazaro-Perry had served eight years as Massillon Ward 3's councilwoman.  So she was fully versed in all the issues of Massillon city government and presumably had a plan to govern with.

Or, did she?

It is now appearing more and more that she had no plan and that she has adopted a "govern by the seat of the pants" approach with Maier and Jackson "filling in the blanks" as questions of city governance come to the fore.

The SCPR takes no joy is saying so, but yours truly predicted well before the election results came in that, if elected, that while Catazaro-Perry would be the de jure mayor; she would not be the de facto mayor.  That, The Report has said numerous times, would fall to Maier, Jackson and persons they approve of as trusted advisers and confidantes of the newly elected mayor.

We are now some 18 months down the road in the reign of Herhonor.

And what do those months show?

Kathy Catzaro-Perry is like "a fish out of water" in having been thrown into the tank of political skulduggery.

She is especially hard pressed to come up with answers now that initial safety director George T. Maier is off to 4500 Atlantic Boulevard being (as least for the time being) sheriff of Stark County.

Mayor Catazaro appears so unsure of herself when put in dock at Massillon City Council (Council) meetings (with George Maier readily at hand to provide answers) that she often, The Report is told, resorts to deferring on answering the councilpersons questions until she can check on information that "is back at the office."

Word is that things has gotten so untenable for the mayor that many expect her to quit attending Council meetings.

Catazaro-Perry could make the case that she is being ganged up upon by a majority (some times almost a unanimity) by Council to make governing the city impossible.

She has not been able for example to get Council support for:
  • raising sorely needed revenue for the city by reducing the income tax credit that Massillonians that work in other taxing jurisdictions can claim on their Massillon tax returns,
  • selling Massillon's interest in the Hampton Hotel in order to avoid paying a nearly $1 million lump sum payment due in just a few years, and
  • allowing her to name a new director of the Massillon Parks and Recreation system,
  • acceding that she has the authority to appoint a news parks and recreation director
And there are other issues that she and Council are at loggerheads on.

While she could make the case of being ganged upon, the SCPR does not think she could make a persuasive case.

Members of Council are saying that they - by and large - do not trust the mayor.

They say that she came into office promising openness, transparency, communication and accessibility, but that she has not produced.

And this is not a Republican/Democrat thing.  Amazingly enough this Democrat-heavy registration city has its Council control by Republicans:  5 to 4.

What makes this not a partisan thing is that Democrats join with the Republicans in opposing key Catazaro-Perry administration's programs and policies.  To boot, Republican Donnie Peters, Jr. (a close friend of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.) is know to break ranks with his fellow Republicans and vote the mayor's position on any given issue.

Look for more political hardball as the November Council elections approach.

Maier-faction-Democrats are seeking to seat pro Catazaro-Perry candidates in the 2nd and 6th wards.

Why the 2nd and the 6th wards?

The SCPR thinks it is because in Councilwoman Nancy Halter and Councilman Ed Lewis, IV you have the heart and soul of the Republican leadership on Council and if they get taken out, the new makeup of Council make it more likely that the mayor will get needed Council support.

The Report thinks that Maier et al will fail in the 2nd and the 6th and that with Cicchinelli man and Democrat Mike Loudiana the likely winner in Ward 1 joined by Republican Triner in Ward 4 (as unbelievable as it seems) and John Ferrero-aligned Megan Starrett in Ward 5 becoming new councilpersons (along with former Catazaro-Perry ally and at-large council-at-large candidate Michelle Del Rio-Keller) that Catazaro-Perry will likely be worse off in Council relationships than she has now.

Indeed, it is hardball politics in Massillon.

The mayor appears to making all the wrong moves under the counsel of Maier and Jackson proving that while they "may?" be adept politicians; citywide administrators they are not.

Under her rule, Catazaro-Perry is the city's chief executive officer.  During her 18 months
  • the city has had its bond rating lowered,
  • the city has asked that the Ohio auditor's office audit the books of the city to determine whether or not Massillon qualifies for "fiscal watch" or even worse "fiscal emergency,
    • Note:  As mayor-elect, Catazaro tried to get Ohio to audit the city's books only to be told that a perusal of Massillon finances on their face indicated that Massillon under outgoing mayor Frank Cicchinelli did not qualify for an audit,
  • she has not been able to maintain revenues needed to keep Council from making cuts to the mayor's portion of the city budget, and
  • she apparently cannot find a police chief to her liking.
    • Note:  Yesterday, the mayor dismissed Keith Moser (appointed June 7, 2012), probably a victim of having disagreed with the mayor in public, before his one year probationary period ran.  A source tells that the SCPR that shortly prior the dismissal Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. emerged from the mayor's office and speculates that he was there to consult with Catazaro-Perry on the matter,
      • Bill Peel is the new at least "for the probationary period" chief,
      • Moser followed Joe Herrick who succeeded Cicchinelli appointee holdover Robert Williams (retired January, 2012),
  • she is reduced to running three of the city's departments with "interim" department heads
Political hardball has to be taking it toll on Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

How refreshing it had to be for her to get a break from the fastballs and line drives and to do a little T-Ball-esque and ceremonial job of?

Swearing in the new police chief!

It ain't high society but it beats the alternative, no?

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