CORRECTION UPDATE: 02/16/2014 AT 5:45 PM
The SCPR has just learned that North Canton does not hold partisan primary elections and therefore any contested elections in 2015 will occur, if at all, on the November general election ballot.
UPDATE: RESPONSE TO JON SNYDER VIDEOTAPED INTERVIEW
It is hard to know where to start in addressing the remarks in your videotape of Jon Snyder. I wonder if Mr. Snyder ever stops to listen to what he is saying. First of all, the Health Care Ordinance passed by the voters 3 to 1 in the November 6, 2012 General Election had nothing to do with changing the City Charter. It was a taxpayer initiated Ordinance. Pure and simple.
Secondly, Mr. Snyder states that citizens cannot initiate a petition to change the Charter. That is categorically untrue. If it were true, why then did North Canton City Council submit the recent citizen-initiated Charter amendment in the summer of 2013 (proposing to make the ceremonial position of Mayor a full-time position) to the Stark County Board of Elections by Resolution this last summer? Not liking the citizen-initiated Charter Amendment, Council later passed a resolution in opposition to the proposed Charter amendment.
If Mr. Snyder is working 35-40 hours per week as a councilman, how does he manage another 40 hours per week in his full-time position? Does Mr. Snyder’s full-time employer know that their employee is working a second full-time job?
When was the public to be advised that the health care ordinance was illegal? The Health Care Ordinance was certified and became law December 2, 2012. If North Canton’s Law Director had any issues with the citizen –initiated ordinance, when were they going to make that known?
Further, North Canton City Council, by Resolution , also submitted the Health Care ballot language to the Stark County Board of Elections in July of 2012 to allow the issue to go on the ballot. Mr. Snyder voted to submit the issue to the voters. Is Mr. Snyder now telling us that he and the rest of City Council on two occasions (Health Care Ordinance in 2012 and Charter Amendment in 2013 )submitted issues to the Stark County Board of Elections that were illegal?
COUNCIL PRESIDENT JON SNYDER
HEALTH CARE INITIATIVE ORDINANCE
CONCERNED CITIZENS OF NORTH CANTON
HEALTH CARE INITIATIVE
Stark Countians showed former Stark County commissioners Todd Bosley, Tom Harmon and Jane Vignos what they thought of their "imposed" sales tax of 0.5% in November, 2009!
On the one hand North Canton voters "overwhelmingly" told North Canton's council members that "the people" did not want to pay for health care for them.
On the other hand, Stark County voters told Bosley (a Democrat), Harmon (a Democrat) and Vignos (a Republican): "do not impose a tax on us" in resounding numbers 64% "no" to a mere 36% in favor of the tax.
It is interesting to note, that all three offending commissioners chose to leave rather than - the SCPR thinks - "face the music" from voters. To be fair to Vignos, she had decided not to run for re-election in 2008 and Pete Ferguson was elected in the November, 2008 election to replace her. However, The Report is convinced that she would have been done in 2012 had she run and been elected in 2008.
Of course, it is likely that had she been elected in 2008, her late December, 2008 "impose the tax" vote might well have been different if there was any possibility she might run in 2012.
In the North Canton instance, it only came to light recently that Councilman Jon Snyder (Ward 4) and Daniel "Jeff" Peters (Ward 2) chose to ignore "the - 7.2 votes out 10 - will of the people" and have North Canton taxpayers pay for their family health insurance coverage.
As far as the SCPR knows, Jon Snyder is sticking by what he had to say to The Report after this past Monday's council meeting.
Jamie McCleaster (spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens of North Canton) had these remarks on the health care issue at Monday's meeting.
And here is Snyder:
There appears to be "a glimmer of hope," from what he had to say on camera, that he is reconsidering his decision to ignore "the unmistakable - will of the people."
The SCPR gets the impression that they latched onto the notion they could "ignore the the 71.76% vote - will of the people" that they not get North Canton taxpayer paid-for healthcare insurance from Law Director Tim Fox.
The Report's understanding is (See Snyder video below) that Fox's position that an initiative petition affecting the pay of council members cannot be done by citizen petition process.
As far as the SCPR is concerned, hiding under what may or what may not be a correct interpretation (see article on attempt in Cincinnati) of the law in not a politically wise place for any councilperson to be.
And that is exactly - in effect - what Councilman Peters concluded yesterday.
He had a bank check in the amount of $3,172.71 payable to North Canton Finance Department deposited with North Canton Finance Director Karen Alger.
An extract from a release to the media made available to the SCPR late yesterday, Peters said:
[T]his morning, the city is 100% reimbursed for all costs related to healthcare. Even though there is a legal opinion from the NC law dept saying in essence that the initiative petition has no legal standing, I felt this was the best course of action for me personally ... .The SCPR was gratified to see that he went on to address "the will of the people" question:
It has never been my intention, nor will it ever be my intention, to circumvent the will of the people of NC. I take my position as an elected official of this great city very seriously from a legal and moral standpoint, and my actions today solidify that stance!Note: Peters also left a telephone message with the SCPR to the same effect.
That leaves council president Jon Peters with a decision to make.
Will he follow Peters' lead or will he stick to the interpreted "point-of-law."
The Report is guessing that eventually, if he hasn't done so already and the SCPR just doesn't know about it, Snyder will capitulate to "the overwhelming will of the people" of North Canton.
If he chooses not to, then there is always May of 2015 (a little over a year from now in the Republican primary) and November of 2015 (the general election for Democrats and independents) for Snyder to test whether or not the people meant what they said in November, 2012 by a 72% to 28% margin.
The SCPR is guessing that North Cantonians did mean what they said and that if he persists with defying the "will of the people" he may have to deal with it in spades to come either May, 2015 or November, 2015.
As for Councilman Peters, he is one of a few of North Canton's councilpersons who The Report thinks "actually" takes the people of the "Dogwood" city to heart. And he takes seriously the core of community activists represented for the most part, the Concerned Citizens of North Canton.
They all do as a matter of rhetoric.
When are the retorticians going to figure out that the general public is not buying glib pronouncements anymore?
North Cantonians need to do a "gut check time" come May and November of 2015, as to who means it as demonstrated by confirmable action, and who is merely "paying lip" service.
Councilman Peters tuned into the correct standard, the "will of the people."
Will Councilman Snyder do likewise?
The SCPR thinks he will even if it means the activists dragging him "kicking and screaming" hearing "the will of the people."
One more thing.
The SCPR believes that Director Fox and "council as a whole" ought to work with the Concerned Citizens of North Canton to fix any alleged defects in the law.
Now that would be showing a lot of political maturity, wouldn't it?