Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Ever since he announced for majority leader (vice president) of Canton City Council, Ward 2 councilman Thomas West was not receiving the unanimous acclamation of the members.

A significant number of council members likely viewed him as billed last Friday in a SCPR blog nominated as being Thomas "Wild, Wild" West.

West has not helped himself one iota on his Facebook page

West, in the opinion of the SCPR, is one of those unique persons who come along every "once in a while" who seeming can step in "sh**," but come out "smelling like a rose."

It was interesting to The Report to hear the laudatory comments from several Canton councilpersons in telephone conversations last evening, as they extolled West's agreeing to stepping aside in his challenge of Ward 9 councilman Frank Morris and the legitimacy of his being elected majority leader on January 9th of this year by a 6 to 5 vote with independent and newly elected Richard Hart abstaining.

As readers of the SCPR know, The Report as a one-person-operation which covers all of Stark County government and politics.  Last evening The Report was at North Canton council's meeting where they debated a number of hot potato issues.  So - sorry to say - "the SCPR camera" missed Edmond Mack's motion (seconded by West himself) reaffirming Morris' selection by a 12 to 0 margin.

Normally, one would have expected that Ward 7's David Dougherty - if he wanted to continue as majority leader - would have been the "hands down" choice of his fellows. 

But the "Mister Personality" of Canton City Council had made one enemy too many and West was the first to sense that "the time was ripe" to dislodge the 30 year serving, more or less, dour Dougherty.

It had to be "a tough pill to swallow" as David of the 7th voted "yes" to affirm Frank Morris as majority leader.

One would think getting the jump on the process of becoming majority leader would have put West in a prime place to put Dougherty aside.

As valiantly as he tried, the most that West could ever muster was 6 votes.

If anything, West seems to be the eternally persistent optimist.

But optimistic persistence did not get him the vice presidency.

Sorry about that Optimist Club members.

What, at one time, was an admirable quality in West turned sour with a number of councilpersons and "heat was brought to bear" on West to give up the fight.

And he did.

The SCPR, for one, never ever believed that West would launch a legal fight in a court of law.

His fulminating was "one big bluff" and to a degree it worked.

West's former detractors in terms of their frustration in not being able to move forward with "the people's business' were only to happy to accord him praise and laudation on his seconding move last night.

While the SCPR likes Law Director Joe Martuccio, The Report thinks he tarnished his image in vacillating all over the place in issuing a "final" legal opinion (in writing or orally; however he pleased) on the West challenge.

Council as a whole (at least six members) was going to reject Martuccio's opinion if it was confirmatory of his opinion of the 9th when he and Allen Schulman (president of council and also an eminent and highly respected attorney in his own right) disagreed on whether or not the original 6 to 5 vote was legally sufficient to have elected Morris majority leader.

And Martuccio knew it.

So his "dilly dallying around" was unimpressive and not helpful to council and more importantly to the people of Canton in moving on from what the SCPR thinks was a bogus issue which at the heart of it all was inspired by Mayor William J. Healy, II working through his loyalists and Ward 4 councilwoman Chris Smith.

Just one more word on Martuccio.

The SCPR thinks he knew more than he would say publicly or act upon regarding the incident that occurred back in August, 2012 in which someone gained what appears to have been unauthorized access to the law department seemingly with the unwitting assistance of a Canton city employee and removed a State of Ohio auditor document pertaining to the retire/rehire controversy which has tormented Canton City Hall since early 2012.

No doubt these are trying times for even a law director to serve in Canton city government.

But that is why high officials get paid the big bucks.  The buck is to stop with said officials.

And - at the least - it appears to the SCPR that Martuccio has "dropped the ball" on the aforementioned two occasions.

The word is that Martuccio will not be seeking another term when the one he is currently on expires.

It is looking more and more to the SCPR that if such is the case, it is the thing for Martuccio to do.

To the SCPR, those who deserve "a special mention" of commendation for letting it be known to West that his time had run out and they were no longer going to be supporting his continuing quest to be majority leader (or to force an alternative in the person of Chris Smith).

West's realization that "the gig had run out" was, in the opinion of the SCPR was the key reason West gave up the fight last night.

The Report has reason to believe those councilpersons was Jim Griffin (Ward 3), Jimmy Babcock (at-large) and independent Richard Hart.

With the Griffin, Babcock and Hart move, the hard-liners Dougherty, Smith and West fell into line.

So if anyone should be acclaimed, it ought to be Griffin and Babcock.

The Report is not all that keen about Hart.

For he caused the problem in the first place.

Had he simply voted for West on the 9th, Schuman was going to vote for Morris and that would have been it.

Maybe he will redeem himself over the next two years, but Hart's inauspicious and "hurtful" to the citizenry of Canton start should be remembered by the Canton electorate in November 2015 as a factor as to whether or not he should be returned to Canton City Council.

Some may think that Councilman West was the personification of Mister Magnanimous last night, but not the SCPR.

In The Report's book West was a sore loser who The Report thinks worked "hand-in-glove" with Mayor Healy to the detriment of Canton's citizens' desire to move on and his "giving up the ghost" was an act of "realpolitik" and his not having the stomach and financial wherewithal to mount a legal challenge.

The word is that one of West's goals is to replace Democrat Stephen Slesnick when he is term-limited out as state representative (the 49th House District) at the end of 2016.

One of the things he needs to be held accountable on should he choose to run for that post by any would be challenger is what the SCPR now terms as being "Westgate."

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