As unrealistic as it seems to the SCPR that such is a viable option for governance, it appears that the city councils of both Massillon and Canton are asserting themselves more and more in ways that indicate a contest with the respective executive branches of government is underway to determine which branch has the major say in the way in which the city is governed.
At the Monday night council work session "all Hell broke loose" in a battle between Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry and several council members over council's effort to reform the structure of the city's parks and recreation board.
Charges and counter charges on truth telling with respect to the tenure of former parks and recreation directors were the order of the night at Monday's session.
It appears that this fight is being won by council and that the end of the Councilman Larry Slagle-led Parks and Recreation Committee deliberation; it will be council (through the Parks and Recreation Board) that prevails on that particular issue.
And, of course, those who have been following developments in Tigerland government circles, know that the council/city executive fights have not been limited to the parks and recreation matter.
There have been the fights between council and the mayor over taxes and the cutting of expenses.
Beyond the issues in and of themselves, it is painfully clear that most of Massillon council does not trust the mayor.
The mistrust and differences on the issues and the role of council in decision making for the city will spill over into the upcoming council ward elections
The "unstated" stakes in the councilmantic races include whether or not the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. led political faction can elect anyone to office and, if he is reelected, whether or not Ward 6 councilman Ed Lewis, IV uses his reelection as a springboard to run against Catazaro-Perry in 2015.
Maier et al are contesting Republican Nancy Halter in Ward 2 and Lewis in Ward 6.
As far as the SCPR is concerned, the Maiers are also vying with Republican Jim Triner in Ward 4.
It appears that stand-in (for Quinessa Hampton - who quit the race because of compatibility issues with her military service) Shaddrick Stinson is trying to distance himself from the Maier faction, but the SCPR is not buying and I believe that, if elected, Stinson would by and large stand with Maier executive government proxy Catazaro-Perry on the important issues (to the administration) that come before council.
The SCPR has learned that the Stinson folks have been making overtures to powerful Ward 4 political factors in an endeavor to retain this seat for the Democrats in one of Massillon's most heavily Democratic wards.
The Report is told by one long time Massillon Democrat that a Republican probably hasn't represented the Ward 4 since the 1950s.
If Quinessa's husband (running as a non-partisan) can be a factor (siphoning off Democratic votes) and if other Ward 4 Democrats can be neutralized, then Triner is in a good position to take Ward 4 for the Republicans.
The Catazaro-Perry administration main hope in staving off the challenge as to who will dominate Massillon city government rests in the Maier faction's ability to elect council members politically aligned with the administration.
So all eyes in November's election should be on Wards 2, 4 and 6.
While the SCPR does not see councilmantic challenge of the Healy administration to be as pronounced as in Massillon, there is no question that expected results of Canton's November election will alter the relationship between the mayor and council as a whole.
On key issues, the SCPR sees the more or less "let's challenge Healy forces on council" will be bolstered by the election of Democrat Roland K. Burns, III at large and the return of former councilman and Democrat Bill Smuckler.
While Mayor Healy does rid himself of the troublesome Mary Cirelli (who stepped down from council to run for city treasurer in a losing effort), the reintroduction of Smuckler spells big trouble for the mayor.
Smuckler has a different vision for the city than Healy.
And he has been frustrated in his attempt to become the city's chief executive (losing to Republican Janet Creighton in 2003) and to Healy (in the Democratic primary) in 2011.
So The Report expects him to lead a "let's challenge Healy" majority (re: key issues) on council.
Smuckler does not trust Healy but, nonetheless, being the practical politician he is and understanding that council in a structural sense is not suited to actually run city government, he will use his power as the de facto if not de jure leader of council to compel Healy to implement policies and practices that are his/council's idea and not Healy's.
The "let's challenge Healy" group should have a 7 to 5 majority post November 5, 2013.
The SCPR does not see how a city council can effectively govern any city.
Council simply does not have the structure to do so.
The best that can be hoped for is for any council that wants its point of view, its preferred operating model to rule is to convince the executive authority (i.e. the mayor) to become its alter ego.
There is no hope that such can happen in Massillon even if the Republicans maintain their majority.
Many believe that Kathy Catazaro-Perry is not "the real mayor" of the city. Rather, they believe, the city is run by Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. who thinks he can run the city like he runs his clerk of courts operation.
Maier, in effect, is the elected executive officer of Massillon's clerk of courts office and his word within the department in the "word of god."
However, that mode of operating "will not play
But Maier will never ever become a "come and let us reason together" guy.
It is indelible that Maier is an "old school" power broker politician who leaves no prisoners.
So - going forward - a strong and able council with a mind of its own, especially if it continues to be controlled by the Republicans, is likely to be in one battle after another on one issue or another with the Catazaro-Perry/Maier administration.
At one time it looked liked council and Catazaro-Perry were coming together on the parks and recreation issue.
But that The Report now believes was merely a "feint" and beneath it all was a determination by the administration to come out of that fight on top and not having compromised with council one iota.
So the SCPR thinks Massillonians will be caught up in a continuing administration/council battle as who is to prevail in having its way in the running of Massillon city government.
The return of Bill Smuckler to Canton City Council is likely to be - in an ironical sense - the salvation of the William J. Healy, II administration.
Make no mistake about it.
Smuckler and his "let's challenge Healy" majority will make their mark, and Healy, (the quintessential "let me live another day" politician) will find a way to allow "the will of council" to affect the priorities of Canton government so long as Healy gets some headline making credit for whatever the manifestation of "the will of council" turns out to be.
Smuckler is quite adept at accommodating egos and therefore the SCPR sees Canton's turning for the better with Smuckler's de facto city of Canton leadership from "his perch on city council."