Thursday, June 27, 2013





The SCPR has been hearing from the very first days of the Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry (KCP) administration that it appears that nearly everybody who works for the administration is on a "watch list" of sorts.

The Report's reading (between the lines) of The Massillon Independent's work (Massillon police chief's demotion clarified, Steven M. Grazier, June 26, 2013) seems to be a bit of hard evidence that the talk is not merely anti-Catazaro-Perry-political-chatter.

Also, the exchanges between interim Safety Director Jim Johnson and several members of Massillon City Council at Monday's work session is indication to yours truly that Johnson is on a mission to carry out "a command and control" on behalf of the mayor and her "kitchen cabinet" of close, close advisers (led by Massillon Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.)

Former city Police Chief Keith Moser faced a series of allegations related to misconduct and failed communication days prior to being demoted to the rank of captain. But the Massillon mayor said those charges had nothing to do with a decision to remove him as chief.

"[H]ad nothing to do with a decision to remove him as chief."

Of course, no one can get inside the mind of the mayor, but her problem is convincing any reasonable minded person to believe her protestation.

It should be obvious to outsiders that the Catazaro-Perry administration and her adviser friends had made a determination (probably by the end of 2012; his appointment was on June 4, 2012) that "he was not a fit" for their requirement that anyone who works for the mayor must accustom themselves to "being on a short leash."

Once that determination had been made, all the administration monitors had to do was to sit and wait for things to start happening.

It is a truism that in any enterprise (private or public) events inevitably occur at random and provide fodder for foes of those in charge of the enterprise to jump on this thing or that thing in a second guessing fashion to show that the leadership is not up to effectively doing the job.

That, the SCPR believes, is what Keith Moser has been the victim of.

A key line in each of The Independent's revelation is:

  • January 10, 2013 - the invoicing incident - "not producing results" from a safety director ordered investigation,
  • March 18, 2013 - the patrol car crash incident - "not communicating both the traffic accident and injury to [interim Safety Director] Johnson and the mayor.'
  • March 18, 2013 - the burglary in process incident - "not communicating the incident to Johnson in a timely manner."
  • April 22, 2013 - the negligent discharge of a shotgun by a sergeant incident - "not communicating the incident to Johnson in a timely manner."
Moreover, the mayor wants to have it both ways.

She needed to rid herself of a suspect person in terms of his unfettered loyalty to her and her advisers, but she was smart enough to realize that Moser is a highly respected police officer both in and out of Massillon and that she needed to say nice things about him while giving him the heave-ho; to wit:  "the Massillon mayor said those charges had nothing to do with a decision to remove him as chief" (Grazier).

Also, there is the matter of internal police morale.

It is tricky business to play politics with whom is in and whom is out as police chief (Catazaro-Perry is now into her fourth chief), and maintain police morale.

Mayor Kathy has to be concerned that too much "politiking" with Massillon's police force will create a public perception that she is more concerned with her personal political security than she is with the safety of Masillonians.

So it is in her interest to have had "The Independent published reports" dis the police chief on the one hand, and then, on the other hand:  "for public consumption purposes," for her to say positive things about one deemed "not loyal enough" to the KCP administration to merit his continuing as chief.

The SCPR has reason to believe that Moser did look into the legal aspects of taking on the administration on the issue of his termination.

But given the fact that he was still on probation when he was let go, it is likely he concluded that it would be unavailing for him to challenge his dismissal.

The Moser situation is not the only one the mayor appears to have stuck her nose into.  There is the whole Rogers matter that is currently under litigation whereby Officer Rogers is challenging his denial of promotion to sergeant in the light of competitive civil service exams in favor of Officer Michael Maier (son of former Safety Director George T. Maier and nephew of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.,).

As things now stand legally speaking, Rogers stands to gain promotion to sergeant.  The SCPR has been told and believes that the appeal of the Stark County Court of Common Pleas John Haas decision in favor of Rogers is being insisted upon by Catazaro-Perry and that Law Director Perry Stergios may not have his heart in it.

In the end, if Rogers prevails legally and becomes sergeant, it seems that the Catazaro-Perry administration in its actions have further complicated the inner workings of the Massillon Police Department and by implication may be playing with the safety of Massillonians.  And, of course, the doubling up of sergeants impacts the deficit fiscal situation (anywhere from $2.5 to $2.7 million) that Massillon faces for fiscal year 2013.

Some people may think that playing politics is like a parlor game in that who wins and who loses has no "real world" consequences.  

But such an analogy is not a healthy take on the significance of "playing politics" with governing the hoi pollio.

Real people, everyday people get hurt big time by political game playing and sometimes there is a spin off to the public that damages public interests.

At last Monday's work session, the SCPR believes that the mayor made a big show of having newly appointed interim chief Mike Peel relocate from the audience in general and come sit beside her as she took in the work session.

Such is very much the political persona of Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

As the following video shows, Monday's meeting exchange between interim Safety Director Jim Johnson and the mayor vis-a-vis council is clearly antagonistic.

An interesting aspect is how focused Catazaro-Perry is on defending the failure of former Safety Director (now interim [pending the outcome of litigation] Sheriff George T. Maier) is on defending Maier for his failure to fully understand the consequences of changing street lighting electric generation providers from Ohio Edison to American Electric Power.

The video.

As the SCPR has written before, the mayor shows that she is acutely aware of the public relations aspects of being mayor and tries to play to that aspect to the hilt.  

She seems to be very much into "pomp and circumstance" but very little into the discomfort of having to engage in political give and take with folks who see things differently than she and her party-esque (i.e. the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. "party within a party" political machine) loyalist camp.

Nearly every politician that yours truly knows, displays tendencies to political paranoia.  By breed, politicians are suspicious of those who do not "bow and scrape" to them.

The Massillon Maier faction, in the opinion of the SCPR, is an epitome of the phenomenon.

And that is all well and good if kept in check and does not spill over over into public policy and the implementation of government.

However, the SCPR's assessment is that in the KCP administration the need for loyalty is not kept in check.

Unless the mayor has a "road to Damacus experience," Masillon is in for hard, hard times over the next two years.

It is looking more and more to the SCPR that the outcome of the November election for city council is not heading in the mayor's preferred direction.

So if anything, there is likely going to be more probing, more questioning and more rejections by council of proposals from the mayor's suite of offices.

The bottom line question that the mayor should be asking herself is this:

Do I care more about my personal political fortunes and having it my way or about the welfare of the citizens of Massillon?

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