UPDATED: 11:45 AM - 07/17/2013
A source tells the SCPR that Price has agreed to stay on as safety director through the end of 2013 at Healy's insistence.
However, The Report has learned that Healy is already sending out administration emissaries contacting possible possible replacement candidates.
As the mayor seems to be a highly whimsical person, who knows when Price will actually move on.
A reader has written yours truly to say that Price is not likely to run against Healy in 2015. The reader says that Commissioner Tom Bernabei is being targeted to run.
It is hard for The Report to believe that Bernabei would entertain entreaties that he run for mayor of Canton.
It may be stunning news to some Cantonians/Stark Countians, but not to the Stark County Political Report.
The Report is getting indication from multiple sources that Mayor William J. Healy, II's "Jack of All Trades" - Warren Price plans on leaving the beleaguered mayor's administration within 90 days.
Price was not present at last night's council meeting.
And the SCPR is told that "the straw that broke the camel's back" is Healy's playing policeman at Trinity Place on July 2nd.
In a blog of July 8th (LINK), The Report opinionated that the incident was one more example in a string of incidents in his 5-1/2 years in office that the mayor is a "Mister Do-It-All," who, when it suits his political needs, does what he has to for what he perceives as being in his personal political interests.
In the July 8 SCPR blog, yours truly revealed a highly reliable source had shared that Price had been looking for new personal opportunities even before the Trinity Place incident.
While the likes of Ream, Price, Williams and others who serve (or have served) at the pleasure of the mayor may think they are in charge of the particular bailiwicks of their offices, the reality is that to think so is to engage in an illusion.
In time "the light comes on" and disaffection for the mayor sets in.
Consequently, a number of city officials have had their fill of Healy and his intermeddling and undermining and have moved on.
If Price carries through with his reported planned departure, his leaving will leave a gap that may prove to be the proverbial "nail in the coffin" which ends Healy as a viable Stark County politician.
Price's plan, the SCPR, is told is to go into the private practice of law reportedly either with Canton City Council President Allen Schulman (Schulman and Associates, a well known and highly regarded personal injury oriented law firm) or former Alliance city government ally Steve Okey.
Last evening yours truly asked Schulman whether or not Price was going to join Schulman and Associates.
Predictably: "no comment."
Beyond Price's speculated leaving of the Healy administration, there is the prospect that Price may be a candidate to unseat the mayor in the Democratic primary that will be coming up in May, 2015 - less than two years away.
We do know that Price has a political side to him. That is, "interested" in running for office. In 2007, the ran a very respectable race against Republican Toni Middleton (the-then incumbent mayor of The Carnation City), to wit:
Last night Bruce Nordman told The Report that he and his Group 175 are "all-in" in putting together an effort to have Price take on Healy.
Nordman and his Vassar Park centered allies are engaged in a protracted battle with Healy on their insistence that the monies are in city coffers to beef up the city's police force to 175 officers strong.
The SCPR has been impressed with Price and has written (LINK) that Canton would be far better off with a Warren Price-esque person as mayor.
From all yours truly can determine in the many conversations with local political figures about the state of political affairs in Canton city government, Price is viewed as a steady, stable, listening, receptive, get-the-job done type that may not have the political pizzaz of a Healy but who would likely be "what the doctor orders" in terms of bringing Canton out of his economic and social (i.e. the crime problem) despair.
The first of the "parting of the ways" was the firing of the then Canton service director/chief-of-staff but now Stark County commissioner Tom Bernabei (D - Canton) on January 26, 2009. A little over a year after Healy took office on having defeated Republican Janet Crieghton (also a current sitting Stark County commissioner) in the November, 2007 elections.
At the time preceding the Bernabei firing, the SCPR was hearing story after story after story about how the mayor would do some bizarre things that prompted Bernabei to sit him down and lecture him as if Hizzhonor was a six year old needing correction and redirection.
Bernabei's firing was a stunner but it should not have been.
If nothing else, Healy has a ton of ego and over the longer term he does not brook tongue lashings from anybody. So while it may have appeared to Bernabei that he could redeem the mayor from "the error of his ways," such is an illusion. It may take awhile, but Healy will "do whatever it takes" to satisfy his ego needs. Such is especially the case when he has the actual political power to do so.
Not all that long after Bernabei's firing, seeing the handwriting on the wall; Healy's first safety director Tom Nesbitt (whom Healy recruited from Nebraska where he held an important position with the Nebraska Highway Patrol) quit.
Nesbitt, like Bernabei, was viewed by locals as a highly competent director whom Healy could ill-afford to lose if his administration was to have any chance whatsoever to dig itself out of the economic and "crime rate out-of-control" doldrums.
He, like Bernabei, was a strong leader which this headstrong mayor could not abide.
The SCPR is prone to believe that Warren Price is at the end of the day pretty much his own person in the mold of Bernabei and Nesbitt.
Hence the talk he is leaving.
Reportedly, he wanted to leave within two weeks of the the Trinity Place story breaking. But the mayor is said to have begged him to stay on for longer and hence the 90 days.
Since his hiring on January 27, 2009, he seems to have been much more patient with the mayor than either Bernabei or Nesbitt.
And he has filled multiple needs (annexation director, chief of staff [March, 2010] and - his last stop - safety director [mere days ago]).
While his salary has climbed from $70,000 to over $100,000 in his multiple roles as service director and chief-of-staff (his initial hire), annexation director and finally as safety director (Healy having thrown Ream "under the bus" in the Canton-Stark County Crime Lab flap (LINK), it appears to the SCPR that the 30% increase over less that five years service is justified.
With Price's conjectured departure, the political parade of William J. Healy, II is definitely being rained upon.
And the rainmaker - with his incident, after incident, after incident on ad infinitum - is?
Hizzonor William J. Healy, II.
Healy for the sake of his personal political survival probably ought to be spending the next 90 days trying to get Warren Price to change his mind, no?