Friday, June 14, 2013



The Stark County Political Report is being told that the reason that short term Massillon Chief of Police Keith Moser was let go suddenly on June 4, 2013 and replaced by Bill Peel was that the Catazaro-Perry administration did not agree with his internal discipline of two Massillon police officers.

Look at what Massillon's top officials were saying about Moser on June 7, 2012 (the date he was selected to be police chief):

“We’re very excited for him. We believe that he is going to do a super job.”   (Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry)

“This is a great opportunity for the Massillon Police Department to bring about some effective change.   I’ve worked with him over the last five months and he seems to be very anxious to address some issues ... I think he’s going to do a great job.” (The-then safety director George T. Maier)

But that was then.

On June 4, 2013:   “He’s still a valued member of our force, but did not successfully complete the one-year probationary period."  (Mayor Catazaro-Perry)

The Report is told that the administration accolades ceased and Moser was put on the block for firing when it became apparent to administration officials that Moser was going to be his own man and not take to administration micromanaging.

Since Catazaro-Perry took office on January 1, 2012 a number of terms have surfaced as descriptors of her management style.

The first was that she is not transparent as she promised she would be as mayor and that therefore she could not be trusted to keep her word made in the context of governing Massillon.

Now this.

It is said that a pattern is emerging that she is a micromanager who will not let her department heads make their own calls on matters that the mayor and her handlers (Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and his chief deputy Shane Jackson) deem important.

The Report is being told that promotions/demotions and the like are such that folks in the Massillon Police Department (MPD) do not know whether or not they are coming or going these days.  And, the parade of chiefs during the Catazaro-Perry administration (four in number, now) constitute evidence that life in the MPD is topsy-turvy these days.

"Unsettled" might be a good word to use in describing nearly all aspects of Massillon city government these days.

Councilman-at-Large Paul Manson complained at last Monday's work session about the number of "interim" department heads staffing Massillon administration these days.

It appears that the mayor herself is unsure of what step to take next and consequently the path from her office to the Clerk of Courts office is taking on a well-worn path these days.

Last night the SCPR went to the regular monthly meeting of the Massillon Parks and Recreation Board (Board).

What of note appeared to be going on?

The Catazaro-Perry administration ("interim" Safety Director Jim Johnson) trying to convince the five member board what criteria the Board should use in determining whether or not a person qualifies to be a Board member.

Here is the video of the exchange that went between Board members among themselves and between them and Johnson:

As seen on the video, the Board by a 3 (Del Rio-Keller, Rickett and Hicks) to 2 (Wolfe and Bryant) voted to disqualify from future Board composition anyone who has a  financial connection with either Massillon city government or the Massillon Board of Education.

However, any non-qualifying present Board member is "grandfathered in."

Apparently, according to a SCPR source, one of the members who would not be eligible under the new criteria for continued membership when her current term expires would be member Esther Bryant.

Bryant is director of the nonprofit agency Lighthouse Visions which is said to receive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the city of Massillon.

A person familiar with the voting patterns of Board members says that Bryant is a dependable administration position supporter on votes that come up with the body.

Member Wolfe, who only recently was appointed to the Board, is said to be a close friend of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. and therefore can be depended upon to be an administration supporter for whatever position the administration takes on key issues.

An interesting change that seems to have taken place is the transition of Board member (the president) Michelle Del Rio-Keller (who likely will take an at-large Massillon City Council position on January 1, 2014) from being an administration support into being her own person.

Accordingly, she was, of course, the key last night for making the change in Parks and Recreation Board bylaws last evening.

Any one familiar with the goings on between the Catazaro-Perry administration and the Board know that there is a tussle underway as to who is going to have authority to appoint a new Parks and Recreation Department director.

It appears to the SCPR that Massillon City Council is likely to decide the question in favor of the Board.

Well, if that happens, then the administration's apparent pattern of micromanaging in the bowels of Massillon city government will suffer a telling blow.

And, if that happens and the new director can maintain the support of the Board, then the question becomes:

"Will the Parks and Recreation Department become the envy of all of Massillon government?"

"Free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last" from the Catazaro-Perry administration micro-managing?"

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