Wednesday, December 18, 2013




"An Aspiration Meeting of Canton City Council?"

POSTED AT 08:20 AM  


"First Female/African-American Leader of Council"


'His Role as a Politically Independent Councilman"
"Consensus New Majority Leader"


"A Review of Past 2 Years & Looking Forward"


"A Review of Past 2 Years & Looking Forward"


"A Review of Past 2 Years & Looking Forward"

In a August 30, 2012 blog the Stark County Political Report dubbed Canton City Council's newest members as being "the four young turks."

The Report is pleased that these members (Frank Morris - Ward 9, Edmond Mack - Ward 8, John Mariol - Ward 7 and Kevin Fisher - Ward 5) have taken to "the young turk" description.

For the expression is meant as a high SCPR compliment indicating their energy, zeal, vision and persistence in what appears to be a dogged determination they have to slowly but surely bring Canton back to a semblance of her former greatness.

While "not young enough" to be included in the 'young' aggregation, Councilman-at-Large elect Bill Smuckler and Councilman Greg Hawk (Ward 1) are empathetic with the aspirations of "the four young turks" and are likely to join forces with the four in critical votes determinative of the direction that Canton city government takes going forward.

A key councilman and, perhaps - a pivotal factor - is likely to be former Republican Canton city councilman Richard Hart who was elected "at-large" this past November.

It could be that Hart will be a difference-maker between "the four young turks and their allies" and a bloc of remaining councilpersons; which the SCPR dubs as being "the Smith bloc," namely;
  • Jimmy Babcock, at-large,
  • Tom West,Ward 2,
    • a candidate to be leader this time around,
  • Jim Griffin, Ward 3,
    • former "assistant majority leader,"
  • Chris Smith, Ward 4,
    • likely to be voted "assistant majority leader," on January 6th,
  • David Daugherty, Ward 6
    • the former leader who wanted to be leader again,
Hart could join either bloc of council persons on "key" issues that come up on council, but the SCPR expects him to side mostly with Morris-led bloc.

Council President Allen Schulman will likely continue to be tie-breaker when a tie vote occurs.

It seems to the SCPR that "the young turk coalition" will not want a question to come out a tie because in The Report's view, Schulman in his votes over the past two years - in The Report's perception - have been mostly with the Mayor William J. Healy, II administration position (which also, more or less, is supported by "the Smith bloc).

Last evening Canton City Council met under what the SCPR in what President Schulman termed as being "an aspirational meeting" to determine a consensus of who is going to be council's next majority leader and assistant leader.

The prospective new leaders are:

Frank Morris (Ward 9) as "majority leader:" also known as the vice president of council.

Chris Smith (Ward 4) as "assistant majority leader:" also known as first vice president.

It appears that neither the SCPR,  Matt Rink of The Repository, nor the general public may have been afforded the necessary pre-meeting notice to have been a properly called and conducted meeting.

The Report opted not to file an objection because the meeting held in "executive session" on the motion of David Daugherty was pretty much an extension of "informal" discussions which have gone on among the various players for majority leader (Morris, Daugherty and West) pretty much from November 7th (the day after this fall's general election).

It should be disturbing to the Canton voting public that Leader Daugherty moved to go into executive session on the matter, that is to say:

A vote as to whether or not to go into executive session the vote breakdown?

As seen in the SCPR video (see below) of the session:
  • For:
    • Babcock,
    • West,
    • Griffin,
    • Smith,
    • Daugherty
  • Against:
    • Hawk,
    • Fisher,
    • Mariol,
    • Mack
    • Morris
Here is video on Daugherty's "lets' go into executive session" motion vote.

     Here is the post-executive session video.


    Five (5) to five (5).

    A harbinger of things to come, no?

    And guess how Allen Schulman voted?

    You've got it:  with "the Smith bloc."

    No surprise here to the SCPR.

    While The Report likes Schulman and thinks he does a superlative job in terms of civilities, courtesies and his "citizen-friendly" demeanor amply demonstrated in the "public speaks" segment of council meetings, there is little doubt with The Report that substantively he is more or less aligned with the Healy administration viewpoint.

    The SCPR sees Schulman as one of Stark County's most zealous small letter "d" democrats (he being, perhaps, Stark County's most "liberal" Democrat) and all that the small letter "d" democrats connotes which includes among a large list of democratic values the value of "openness."

    Last night was an opportunity for Schulman "to put his money where his mouth is" on democratic values and The Report thinks that he failed that test and denied the Canton citizenry the opportunity to see exactly what Councilman Daugherty wanted to hide from the public.

    The Report asked Schulman for an interview after last night's meeting to ask him on camera - under critical questioning - the reason(s) for his siding with closing the meeting to the public.  However, he declined to be interview.

    The SCPR has known for some time that a consensus had been reached among Canton's councilpersons that Frank Morris and Chris Smith are to be the new leadership of city council and that a lot of wrangling has occurred among council members to get to the consense.

    Moreover, the SCPR also has known that Daugherty was not going down easily.

    The Report's take on Daugherty is that he only has himself to blame.

    Over the past two years of SCPR coverage of Canton city council, there is a good sprinkling of blogs featuring Daugherty which indicate a surly, "inconsiderate of others' feelings" (including the general public when citizens use council's public speaks forum, when he has substituted for Schulman) demeanor.

    Hardly, what one wants of a leader of council, no?

    One can only imagine what he is like when not in the public view and not on camera?

    Hopefully, as far as the SCPR is concerned; residents in the 6th ward will find an alternative to Daugherty come November, 2015.

    Which is a shame.

    Because the SCPR is told by a number of his fellow councilpersons that David Daugherty is a very bright guy who has provided high quality substance in terms of policy and practice.

    But the guy needs to learn civility, courtesy and how to deal effectively and with political maturity with those with who he disagrees.

    The SCPR did take advantage of last night's session to talk with "the four young turks, prospective new "assistant majority leader" Chris Smith and new councilman-at-large Richard Hart "on camera."

    Here are those interview.

    First, Chris Smith, who is breaking ground as the prospective new assistant majority leader as being the first female and African-American as a leader of Canton Council.

    Second, Richard Hart and his perspective on his role as the only non-Democrat on council.

    Third, Frank Morris, the expected to be elected at council's next regular meeting (January 6, 2014) majority leader.

    Fourth, Kevin Fisher, Ward 5.

    Fifth, Edmund Mack, Ward 8.

    Sixth, John Mariol.

    Canton mayor William J. Healy, II will be challenged as never before by the 2014-2015 version of Canton City Council with "the four young turks" who have learned their political lessons well over the past two years.

    He can choose to fight with them (which the SCPR predicts he will do) or seek to find "common ground."

    The Report would like Healy to "turn over a new leaf" and demonstrate a political maturity that he has never seemingly shown before.

    But if he does not, the SCPR is confident that the new leadership of Canton City Council will forge ahead with programs, practices and policies that bode well for the future of Canton.

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