Monday, June 30, 2014


As we all know, "the worm turns" in ever so many directions.

Who knows, including itself, where a worm will end up?

In this instance, we are analogizing "as the worm turns" to working for  politicos.

For Mary Beth Bailey:  Masillon's clerk of council, since 2003, the ups and downs of working for politicians has been more trying experience than figuring out the next movement of an earthworm.

It was a moment of triumph for her when she was appointed this past Friday as North Canton's clerk of council by 6 to 0 North Canton City Council vote.

For she was definitely under a lot of pressure as applied by Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry "to move on" from being Massillon's clerk of council.

Since the days that the mayor was a Massillon city council person (first elected in 2003 as a Democrat, Ward 3), she has steadfastly pursued Bailey's removal.

As far as the SCPR is concerned, Massillon suffered a loss and North Canton a huge gain in landing Bailey.

Writing about the Bailey appointment as clerk presents an opportunity for the Stark County Political Report to deal with a number of political issues/phenomenon that touches on a number of Stark County political entities.
  • Stark County itself: Bailey's successful run in county government,
  • Massillon: Bailey's trials and tribulations in Massillon at the hand of councilperson/mayor Catazaro-Perry and the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr political machine,
  • North Canton: as the prospect of her working for His Majesty, Tim Fox, the law director of The Dogwood City, and
  • The twists and turns of "insider politics" when it comes to appointments by North Canton City Council
To their credit, most members of Massillon City Council supported Bailey in facing down Johnnie A. Maier, Jr protege Catazaro-Perry.  She probably could have hung on had she not been selected by North Canton.

But being the object of what the SCPR thinks was an unwarranted attack by the Maier forces is not a whole lot of fun and therefore it was no surprise at all to see Bailey's name on the upwards of 100 names list of applicants to the post that became available on or about June 1st when long time Massillon clerk of council Gail Kalpac retired - The Report thinks - because of the utter impossibility of working for Fox.

It appears to the SCPR that the self-described (to the SCPR) "tough man," has in effect maneuvered himself into being the unelected head of North Canton government.

As far as The Report is concerned, North Canton City Council and the mayor have allow Fox to run amok and consequently, next year's election could see the introduction of candidates for council and the mayoralty with the primary issue being "reining Fox in."

It could be a case for Bailey that she has "jumped from the frying pan into the fire" in agreeing to take the North Canton job.

As impossible as Fox seems to be to work for, undoubtedly, Bailey being forewarned, will come equipped to deal with it.  Out of her Massillon experience she is practiced in working in "uncomfortable" environs.

Bailey started out her career in local government in June of 1986 when she took a job with the Multi-County Juvenile Attention Center located in Canton.  She worked there until 1997.

In 1997, she switched over to the Stark County auditor's office where she worked for now Stark County commissioner Janet Weir Creighton.

In March, 2003 she was appointed as clerk of council by Massillon City Council by the-them members:
  • Tim Bryan (Democrat/at-large), 
  • Jim Filhour (Republican/at-large),
  • Mike Loudiana (Democrat-large),
  • Ronald Mang (Democrat - Ward 1),
  • William Aman (Democrat - Ward 2),
  • Claudette Istnick (Republican - Ward 3),
  • Gloria Autrey (Democrat - Ward 4),
  • Glenn Gamber (Democrat - Ward 5), and
  • Paul Lambert (Democrat - Ward 6)
In Bailey's case, her foremost squirmy "political" worm is none other than Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro Perry.

It seems to The Report that Bailey's happiest public employment was with Janet Creighton when she was Stark County auditor.

Here is what the SCPR wrote on February 8, 2011:
In the course of conversation with Bailey [reference: a SCPR visit to Massillon City Council], The Report learned she once worked for Janet Creighton as auditor.  "Oh, [from The Report] you must be a Republican."  "No," she responded "I'm a Democrat" and then she went on to describe how she was hired into the auditor's office by Creighton notwithstanding her Democratic Party credentials.

Bailey described in detail the non-partisan way in which she was treated and the attention that Creighton pays to her employees and how so very much Janet Creighton is 24/7 the genuine, caring person she seems to be.

And let the SCPR emphasize, everybody in Massillon government except for Catazaro-Perry and now council president Tony Townsend have appreciated Bailey's work.

The thinking on the part of some Massillon council persons is that the mayor and the council president are front persons for clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr  who, it is thought, covets the council clerk position "for one of their own."

An ironic twist to the Bailey appointment in North Canton has been the failure of a well known North Canton civic activist to see her appointment coming.

The activist was convinced from the day the application list was revealed that a David Held protege; namely, Jamie Grippi, Operations and Planning Manager at the Stark, Tuscarawas, Wayne Joint Solid Waste Management District (Solid Waste) would be Kalpac's successor.

Held, in addition to being North Canton mayor, is the CEO at Solid Waste.

And the SCPR thinks there was good reason for the activist to believe that Grippi would be North Canton Council's choice.

Looking at her resume (extract presented below), it seems that she has impressive credentials :

In recent years, North Canton City Council has been plagued by "inside politics."  Accordingly, the activist's thinking has some basis in the prior conduct of council and the administration.

As was pointed out by Councilperson-at-large Marcia Kiesling during last Monday's council meeting, nearly every existing member of council (excluding only members Foltz and Griffith) has been appointed to council by the remaining council members.

And throw in a few law directors and at least one administrator (Grimes, North Canton's former police chief) and some others, it seems as if those with an inside connection ended up with a city of North Canton job.

But the SCPR believes that council and Fox were caught unawares on the precipitous resignation/retirement of Kalpac.  Because of the key and vital role that a clerk of council has in the smooth and effective functioning of council, The Report thinks that council - as a matter of survival as a credible part of North Canton government - was forced to abandon its "insider" propensities and sift through the applications for a person who had direct experience in working for a city/village council.

Hence, the North Canton political worm had turned favorably for the  beleaguered in Massillon clerk of council and what have not been possible (if council and Fox had more time to recover from the "sprung upon them" Kalpac retirement) under different circumstances became a "no brainer" given Bailey's resume.

From 1956 through 2012, there was a television soap opera entitled As the World Turns" viewed by millions upon millions of Americans.

In Stark County today, it might well be appropriate to describe the "ebbs and flows," the "ins and outs," and the "ups and downs" as being a Stark County version of the 44 year running soap opera except that a more apt title for the political machinations is "As the Worm Turns."

Do not expect that North Canton has turned over a new leaf in actually going out and getting the best qualified person for clerk of council in Mary Beth Bailey.

The SCPR fully expects that the clerk of council process was an aberration and that with the next appointment the "worm will turn" once again to politics as usual.

Friday, June 27, 2014


If Stark Countians want investigative journalism and comprehensive news coverage, it appears that The Canton Repository is not the place they will get it.

According to Echo Media, The Repository has about 50,000 daily edition subscribers (64,500 Sunday edition).  Undoubtedly, the vast majority are Stark Countians.

Back in August, 2011, The Toledo Blade broke an "investigative journalism" story about Stark Countian (Glenmoor Country Club complex, Jackson Township) Benjamin Suarez and his company Suarez Corp. Industries (SCI) which showed a curious series of SCI employee political contributions to Congressman Jim Renacci's 2012 campaign (16th Congressional District, which includes much of northern Stark County) and Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel's 2012 U.S. Senate bid.

Soon after The Blade's story broke, both the Renacci and Mandel campaigns returned the questioned contributions.

As set forth in the graphic which headlines this blog, federal prosecutor Rebecca Lutzko (as reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer) credited The Toledo Blade's investigative journalism with having resulted in an indictment by the feds of Suarez, the company and now former top official Michael Giorgio in an alleged scheme to violate federal campaign finance laws, to wit:
But Suarez had another problem: the media. Lutzko said "some enterprising reporter from the Toledo Blade" combed though the Federal Election Commission website to find the unusual donations. Most of the SCI employees had never donated to a federal campaign and certainly never donated the maximum allowed of $5,000.

That article and the ones that followed caught the attention of the FBI.
Yesterday, a four week trial concluded on the Suarez and SCI indictments (two of nine counts against Suarez having been dismissed by the judge presiding over the case).

It is expected that the case will go to the jury today.

The SCPR thinks that Stark Countians should be more than a tad displeased with Stark County's only countywide mainstream media.

What have Stark Countians gotten out of The Repository over the years on the Suarez story?

The SCPR's assessment is:
  • pedestrian-esque reporting of the trial itself, and 
  • a couple of puff pieces sympathetic to the Suarez/SCI view of the matter.
Most recently (October, 2013), to wit: (a paragraph which The Report thinks aptly summarizes the gist of the article)
Suarez invited The Repository to tour the facility at 7800 Whipple Ave. NW on Tuesday and to talk with employees about company operations and work environment. Suarez was not part of the tour.
And before that (May, 2012), to wit:  (a paragraph which The Report thinks aptly summarizes the gist of the article)
Suarez: FBI agents ‘terrorizing’ employees

Benjamin Suarez, the president of Suarez Corp. Industries, said the FBI investigation of his employees’ contributions to two Republican candidates has significantly disrupted company operations, damaged employee morale, delayed the launch of five products and postponed the hiring of about 2,000 workers at SCI’s North Canton facility.
The SCPR thinks that Stark Countians deserve better; much, much better than the county's newspaper readers are getting out of The Canton Repository!

Thursday, June 26, 2014


The Stark County Political Report is guessing that the Stark County commissioners will not be seeking out a Libertarian to serve on an advisory committee preliminary to and, of course, advise on the question of whether or not Stark County is going to regulate its citizens even more than we currently are.

But they should.

While the SCPR political/philosophical viewpoint is that there is certainly a case for government regulation; Libertarians are an important mix in our socio/political scheme of life in terms of weighing-in to ameliorate the influence of overzealous proponents of government regulation.

After all, the proposal for Stark County to adopt a county/township roadway "access management" regulatory scheme (see the Stark County Engineer Keith Bennett video below), if implemented, will take a measure of liberty away from Stark Countians.

While the enabling Ohio statute does provide the potential for non-government affiliated members of the Stark County public to serve on the committee (e.g. a surveyor, a realtor, a private sector engineer and a building industry representative), the overwhelming makeup of the advisory commissioner will be existing government employed persons, to wit:
  • a county commissioner,
  • three trustees,
    • Note:  Bennett recommends two from "urban" townships" and one from a "rural" township,
  • a regional planning employee,
  • a member of the Stark County Transportation Study,
  • "and any other person the board should chooses to appoint." (emphasis added)
Here is a SCPR extract from the enabling legislation (enacted in 2002).

(C) Upon adoption of a resolution under division (A) of this section, the board of county commissioners shall establish an advisory committee to review the county engineer's proposed regulations prepared under division (B) of this section. The board shall appoint to the committee the county engineer or the engineer's designee, a registered surveyor in private practice, a representative of the homebuilding industry, a licensed realtor, a representative of a county or regional planning commission with jurisdiction in the county, a professional engineer with expertise in traffic engineering, a representative of the metropolitan planning organization, where applicable, at least three township trustees from any townships located in the county selected by the local county association representing the township trustees and clerks in that county, a member of the board of county commissioners, and any other person the board chooses to appoint.
(emphasis added)
At yesterday's regular weekly commissioners' meeting, Stark County Engineer Keith Bennett presented the commissioners with an outline of proposal to regulate county and township roadways in terms of access.

There is no doubt that state officials since 1996 have been and are "well-intentioned" in regulating roadway access in Ohio in the furtherance of citizen safety.

From the Ohio Department of Transportation website:
In 1996, ODOT Executive Leadership identified Access Management as a strategic department initiative. Director Jerry Wray appointed an Access Policy Committee to carry out this initiative. Today, that initiative has culminated in the State Highway Access Management Manual, effective September 1, 1998 and the State Highway Access Management Policy, effective March 31, 2005. 
Reason given by ODOT as justifying government intrusion into our daily lives include:
  • Improves public safety by reducing accidents
  • Preserves the useful life of the highway system by maintaining highway capacity
  • Facilitates the movement of people and goods by reducing travel delay and congestion
  • Supports orderly economic development by providing appropriate access to property consistent with the operation and safety of the highway
  • Minimizes transportation costs by making highways more efficient
  • Encourages closer cooperation between state and local governments in land use and transportation decisions
Want an idea of what "new" regulations will be visited upon Stark Countians should the commissioners decide to implement Bennett's proposal?

Here is a link to Butler County's access management regulations which Butler which became effective in 2005.

Hopefully, the commissioners will insist that at least one person who is avowedly biased towards freedom from government regulation serve on the advisory committee.

The commissioners say that they are open, accessible, communicative, and transparent.

Including a Libertarian on the access management advisory board would be compelling evidence that the democratic values they espouse have a reality to them, no?

After all, to say it again, the proposal is designed to take away a measure of our existing liberty.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014



In all of Stark County government, there could not be a "greater contrast in style" than that manifested by Canton mayor William J. Healy, II and Frank Morris, III.

And the context of the leadership roles (Healy as mayor of Canton; Morris as majority leader [vice president] of Canton City Council), put the two - at times - at loggerheads with one another.

Beyond their official roles which sometimes puts them at odds with one another, one gets the feeling that these two "down deep-in" do not like one another.

About the only similarity between the two is the fact that the two proudly bear the names of their paternal forebearers.

While day-in, day-out union dues paying member Councilman Frank Morris does wear a suit to Canton City Council meetings, one has the distinct feeling that he feels rather uncomfortable doing so.

But the Heavens Forbid! should William J. Healy, II be caught dead in wearing "jeans," especially in the world of officialdom.

About nine months ago, Mayor Healy visited Morris in the hallowed halls of Canton's Ward 9 which Morris zealously represents.

As pictured above, Healy was in a suit whereas Morris was decked out in jeans and a plaid shirt.
  • Sidenote: as the SCPR suggested in October, 2013 he would, Morris has become Canton council's majority leader.
Truly, this picture is worth not one thousand but ten thousand words in communicating the differences in style between the two men.

At a certain level both play the game of "apparently" working together for public consumption purposes for the betterment of Ward 9 and the other eight wards of the city of Canton, but in terms of approach there could not be a more marked difference in approach that these two demonstrate.

But as The Stark County Political Report has written frequently over the past six years, for Mayor Healy there is only one way to work for the improvement of Canton and that is under the auspicious of "TeamHealy" with guess who at the head of everything?

Morris, on the other hand, is willing to work rather anonymously with his fellow councilpersons and as "one of many" within the context of his Ward 9.

Healy the second is an Adlai Stevenson (the urbane, the sophisticated, the intellectual) type Democrat.  Morris the third is a Harry S. Truman ("rough and tumble," "the buck stops here," in-your-face, roll up your sleeves) style Democrat.

They are like "two ships passing in the night" insofar as achieving objectives is concerned.

Given the Morris brusque way of operating, it was no surprise for the SCPR to receive yesterday a copy of a letter that he sent to the Canton Repository yesterday.


Who’s to blame here? As the ward 9 councilmen [sic] I have taken a beating for months regarding potholes, high grass, and dilapidated properties. Yes I understand that this is what I have signed up for and get paid to do. I accept my responsibility as a councilmen and do my very best to represent my ward. Fellow council members and I have attended numerous meetings in the last few months to resolve these issues that face our community.
Yet it still appears that we as council members are not getting the job done.
As the legislated authority we can pass new laws to hold people accountable. We as council members cannot enforce the laws we pass nor do we control the parties that have taken the oath to enforce our laws.  We as council members can pass legislation to enable the City of Canton to contract with landscaper but we can’t administer these companies. We as council members can request a property be placed on the demo list but we can’t guaranty the property will be razed even after council has voted to approve it.

I may appear that I am throwing people under the bus or playing the blame game here.
My intent is only to defend my fellow council members.
They do report your issues, they fight for better service and they do care about our neighborhoods. We are real people with families, fulltime jobs, and work for the betterment of our community. So please remember that if that pothole is still there, if the neighbors grass hasn’t been cut, and the boarded up house is still standing there is a 90% chance it’s not your council members fault.

Frank Morris
Ward 9 Councilmen
(Note:  color of text change added by SCPR for emphasis)
Now why would majority leader Morris think that "it may appear he is throwing people under the bus?

Maybe, because - by clear implication - he is?

Call it collateral "political damage" or whatever you want, the SCPR does not think this letter is going to set well with Healy administration officials.

But the mayor and relevant department heads should not be surprised that Morris would write the letter he has written.

Morris' specialty in government seems to be acting as "the bull in the china shop."

The bull doesn't intend to obliterate the china, but "after-all," there is that "red flag" to get, no?

As the SCPR sees it, Canton is in such bad shape these days from years and years of largely ineffective government (many of those years presided over by Republican chief executive officers) that perhaps the time is ripe for a Frank Morris type (immediate and direct action) to become a focal point of turning Canton around.

Nearly six years of urbane leadership is at best static.  Many think that Canton is losing ground under the political finesse and manipulation style of Mayor Healy.

The SCPR has talked with a number of Canton councilpersons about the Morris letter.  And these are council people who are more or less friendly towards Majority Leader Morris.

The consensus?

Morris is acting out of a sense of frustration in the context of "really, really caring" about the neighborhoods and core city of Canton" and seemingly not making much progress.

Another sentiment seems to be that the Healy administration is plagued with one miscue after another miscue after another miscue.

Most appear to The Report to be giving the mayor and his department heads "the benefit of any doubts" on the issue of intent to do beneficial things for the taxpaying citizens of Canton.

One councilman gives streets superintendent Michael Roarar high marks for creative and innovative ways that he is coming up with in maintaining and upgrading Canton streets and roadways after decades of insidious neglect.

Even though the SCPR has been a consistent and constant critic of Mayor Healy for being "unduly political (i.e. manipulative) in his administration of Canton, The Report thinks he wants the very best for Canton.

After all, if Canton thrives so does his political career.

Bottom line though is the question of whether or not his style of leadership is effective.

After six years of stagnation if not continued decline, isn't it refreshing to have a Frank Morris come along who does not sugarcoat things!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


 UPDATE:  08:00 AM



Stark County has been experiencing lots of violent weather over the past week or so.

Last night the weather seemed to come indoors as North Canton City Council members and North Canton citizens (mostly members of the Concerned Citizens of North Canton) took turns in blasting each other with thunder and lightening strikes that appear to have done great damage to the prospect that relationships are likely to settle down anytime soon in The Dogwood City.


Last evening's council meeting started off placid enough with the swearing-in of newly appointed fourth ward councilman Dominic Fonte.

But the placidity evaporated into the stormy skies above as the meeting moved along.

There were two segments of the meeting in which thunder-boomers dominated.


On the heels of Fonte being sworn-in in front of family and friends, his benefactors (i.e. the appointing council members) got slammed big-time by long time council antagonist Chuck Osborne (a former councilman of more than a decade ago) for the manner in which members came to select Fonte as councilman.

After Osborne, a number of concerned citizens took to the lectern to make one point or another about the sins of council and/or the Mayor David Held administration.

Citizen Miriam Baughman took to "front and center" to climb all over Law Director Tim Fox (an appointee of council) and, of course, council itself for its consideration of an ordinance to change procedures one must engage in to obtain "public records" from North Canton government.

At issue is what appears to have been a Tim Fox ordinance initiative to curtail Ohio law rights to the general public, including, of course, North Canton citizens in obtaining what is defined in Ohio law as being "discoverable by and available to the public" records of Ohio government units.

The SCPR thinks Ms. Baughman totally embarrassed Director Fox in her revelation that:
  • His proposed change to the North Canton Public Records availability appears to be in violation of Ohio's Sunshine Law (openness and accessibility),
  • His misnumbering of the ordinance number (56-14) inasmuch as she points out in the video that North Canton Council had previously passed an ordinance with the 56-14,
  • Her assertion (that Fox had not published the proposed ordinance on North Canton's website until very late yesterday (an assertion which Fox can be heard in the Baughman video to be denying), and
  • Her assertion (in pushing for "transparency" in North Canton government) that North Canton was about to pass (it was on last night's agenda for a third reading which is the "final" step before a vote for passage) on employment pay matters with the "glaring" omission as to whom and under what circumstances and conditions "compensation time" was to be accorded to North Canton employees
    • SCPR Note:  The Report believes that this was another embarrassment to Fox whom The Report thinks should have caught this failure of the ordinance to deal with a highly significant pay factor for North Canton employees
Citizen Baughman did her homework before speaking out last night.

On the public records part of her comments to council, she first examined the proposed ordinance.

Here is here "alert" e-mail to the SCPR.
Packet for tonight now on City website

        Miriam Baughman
        Jun 23 at 12:53 PM

To    ...

The packet including the draft Public Records Policy is now on the City's website.

At first reading I believe I have discovered an error.  107.07 Delivery methods.    Mr. Fox is saying in the draft ordinance the City has no requirement to provide records via telephone, email, facsimile or internet.    

 However the Public Records Act clearly states the requester has the right to choose the copy medium (paper, film, electronic file etc.)  The Act furter
[sic] specifies the the public office MUST transmit copies of records via the US mail "or by any other means pf delivery or transmission" at the choice of the requester.
How did Baughman come by her knowledge?

She had gone to the Ohio attorney general's website and combed through the Attorney General's excellent publication on public records and open meetings.

And she pulled several paragraphs for a handout to Director Fox and members of council to authoritatively make her point that Fox was not very impressive in terms of complying with "existing" Ohio law in his legislative proposal, to wit:
8. Requester Choices of Media on Which Copies are Made

A requester must specify whether he or she would like to inspect the records, or obtain copies. ...  If the requester asks for copies, he or she has the right to choose the copy medium (paper, film, electronic file, etc.). ... The requester can choose to have the record copied: (1) on paper, (2) in the same medium as the public office keeps them,115 or (3) on any medium upon which the public office or person responsible for the public records determines the record can “reasonably be duplicated as an integral part of the normal operations of the public office . . . ” ... The public office may charge the requester the actual cost of copies made, and may require payment of copying costs in advance. ...
(emphasis added)
9. Requester Choices of Pick-up, Delivery, or Transmission of Copies; Delivery Costs

A requester may personally pick up requested copies of public records, or may send a designee. ...  Upon request, a public office must transmit copies of public records via the U.S. mail “or by any other means of delivery or transmission,” at the choice of the requester. ... The public office may require prepayment of postage or other actual delivery cost, as well as the actual cost of supplies used in mailing, delivery, or transmission. ...
(emphasis [underlining and text color change added)
    Baughman showed how effective a citizen can be in doing "due diligence" (more than what the SCPR thinks Law Director Fox did) in combing through proposed legislation to find obvious defects.  She succeeded last night in getting council to "table" proposed ordinances 56?-14 and 42-14 while repairs are made.

     What a terrific civic activist job by Citizen Baughman, no?

    Just on Baughman's presentation alone, it is hard to understand how much it seems that North Canton City Council and Mayor David Held are "in thrall" to Law Director Fox.

    As for Held, the SCPR believes (based on observing his actions over the past six years as a city official) he is a guy who develops uncritical relationships with administration officials solely on his perceived notion that these are "loyal to David Held employees" that he must defend at all costs.

    A historical example of this Held-propensity would be his inexplicable defense of former North Canton administrator E.E. Wise, Jr in the face of heavy public criticism.

    Held's fixation with Fox, the SCPR believes, is akin to his being enamored with Wise.

    Fox's hold on council is more difficult to assess.

    The Report thinks it has several aspects to it.

    First, his opinion in November, 2013 that Chuck Osborne's initiated ordinance curbing health care benefit eligibility to North Canton councilpersons was invalid, seems to have forged a bond, at a minimum, between those members of council (Peters, Kiesling, Werren and Snyder [now a former councilman]) that induces council in a majority sense to jump to Fox's defense whenever a citizen or citizens ask that Fox be removed as law director.
    • SCPR Note:  The Report has learned that a lawsuit filed by Fox on behalf of North Canton at the initiative of Mayor Held to have the Stark County Court of Common Pleas [Judge John Haas] declare the Osborne initiative (passed by nearly a 3 to 1 margin by North Cantonians in November, 2012) is probably going to be successful.
      • The Report understands that Judge Haas is telling legal counsel for the respective parties that since council has passed its own ordinance incorporating Osborne's changes, he is going to declare the voter approved legislation invalid inasmuch as council has made the voter passed ordinance change UNLESS counsel (Osborne's) can come up with a legal basis for his not doing so.
    Second, The SCPR believes that "the deal was," when council appointed Fox law director back in September, 2012, that Fox (who had been elected Ward 3 councilman in November, 2011 [the post that Stephanie Warren was appointed to when Fox became law director) that as law director he take steps and measures to rein in Chuck Osborne who has been an unceasing and unremitting critic of council for over 10 years now.

    Third, (suggested to the SCPR by a third party), with the resignation of long time councilman and, at the time, council president Jon Snyder Fox sensed a vacuum in council leadership with the appointment by the rest of council of Jeff Peters as council president.

    As with anyone "new on the job," Peters is growing into the job of being council president and likely feels vulnerable to the bevy of criticism that council is currently undergoing and consequently unduly relies on Fox as a prop in order to survive in his council leadership role.

    It appears to the SCPR that Director Fox fawning of council persons in an ongoing internal "politiking"  (sorry Councilwoman Werren, North Canton Council is rife with internal political discord notwithstanding her protestations to the contrary) to keep his job as law director.

    While most members of North City Council will look you in the eye and tell you how appreciative they are for the likes of Osborne and the Concerned Citizens of North Canton, the SCPR is not buying this line.

    The Report thinks they in their innermost selves - for the most part - bristle at any criticism they get.

    Last night the sensitivity (see videos of individual council members below) got extended beyond Osborne et al, to include the editorial board of The Repository because of this editorial written last week, to wit:
    Editorial: Why interview job applicants in secret?

    Our view: North Canton Council won't resolve trust issues this way

    Posted Jun. 18, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

    Members of North Canton City Council filled a vacant council seat Monday night. “I think we all agreed that we could not go wrong with either choice,” Council President Jeff Peters said of the two applicants afterward. 
    While having a vacancy isn’t good, having only qualified applicants to fill it is a good problem to have. Which makes us wonder even more: Why interview the applicants in secret? 
    After longtime Councilman Jon Snyder resigned in May, former city Law Director Roy Batista and real-state agent Dominic Fonte applied for Snyder’s Ward 4 seat. Council members interviewed them behind closed doors June 9. On a 4-1 vote Monday, they chose Fonte. 
    This isn’t to say council had anything specific to hide, but what would council members ask the applicants in private that they wouldn’t want to ask in public? Why not let residents watch the process from start to finish by conducting the interviews in an open session? 
    You’d think that with all the trust issues council created by ignoring voters’ mandate to limit city-paid health insurance for part-time elected officials, council would want to go out of its way to choose a council member — a job that these voters usually do themselves — in as transparent a way as possible.
    The SCPR concurs with The Repository editorial board.

    Over the years, (increasingly so since Daryl Revoldt left the council presidency several years ago) it appears to The Report that North Canton City Council has become "the least transparent" of all of Stark County's city councils.

    And the addition of Tim Fox as law director seems to have had the catalytic effect of making North Canton Council the least open, the least accessible, the least communicative and - to say it again - the least transparent of all of Stark County's city councils.

    In a post-council-session interview with newly appointed Dominic Fonte, he acknowledges that he knows that work needs to be done to restore trust that engaged North Canton citizens have in their city council.

    And here is a series of video clips of all of North Canton's councilpersons (Doug Foltz was absent) dealing with their "upset" of The Repository editorial, the Fonte appointment and other matters.







    The SCPR is not optimistic that matters are going to improve anytime soon between the seemingly beleaguered council and eagle-eyed activist citizens that attend each and every council meeting.

    Why is that?

    Because the person that the SCPR thinks is the main problem in fueling the discontent remains fully ensconced as law director.

    Either Tim Fox has to have a "born again" experience in terms of abandoning his "apparent to the SCPR" hostility to citizen participation in the life of North Canton government, or council is going to have to wrest from him the public perceived control he has over council and the mayor in order for a healing to take place so that trust once again takes hold between North Cantonians and their government.


    Here is video (excerpts thereof) of other Concerned Citizens of North Canton who spoke during Public Speaks at last night's meeting.



    Monday, June 23, 2014


    As far as the SCPR knows, Stark County Democratic Party (SCDP) appointed sheriff George T. Maier is not Irish. (He's Romanian)

    Accordingly, a "green" four-leaf clover would not be appropriate in wishing him Good Luck! in his effort to fend off the lawsuit filed by former Stark County sheriff Tim Swanson, which Swanson filed in February 14, 2014,  claiming that Maier had usurped the office of Stark County sheriff from February 5, 2013 through November 6, 2013 and that Swanson was entitled to the pay for that period of the time because he was "as a matter of law" (as set by the Ohio Supreme Court in in Swanson v. Maier, quo warranto) the legal sheriff of Stark County.

    But blue is.

    For what color could be more appropriate for one of "the men of blue?"

    And as the SCPR sees it, Maier is going to need a bit more good luck.

    He certainly has had more than his fair share of it so far.

    The most surprising of which happened when Republican Ohio secretary of state Jon Husted sided with Stark County Democrats (Ferruccio and St. John) as he broke a tie between them and Republicans Board of Elections members Braden and Cline to place Maier on this November's ballot over the objection of the-then (February, 2014) SCDP precinct committeewoman Cynthia Balas Bratton.

    The Ohio Supreme Court upheld Husted on his decision.

    While Maier is undoubtedly trying to focus on getting ballot validation from Stark County voters come November's general election, he has to be distracted by the possibility that he will have to ante up tens of thousands of dollars as a consequence of losing the February filed personal liability suit, if, in fact, he loses it.

    On Friday, Swanson's attorney (Craig T. Conley) filed what is known as a Motion for Summary Judgment following the failure of Maier (by his Columbus attorney Thomas Rosenberg) to get the Swanson personal liability filing dismissed "right-out-of-the-box."
    What is a Motion for Summary Judgment?

    A Motion for Summary Judgment is a document that asks the court to end part or all of the lawsuit without going to trial. This request asks the judge to decide whether the issues in the case are really in dispute under the framework of laws that we follow. If parts or all of the lawsuit do not have legal issues that can be argued, a trial isn’t necessary and the court can eliminate all or parts of the case.

    Under what circumstances will a Summary Judgment be granted?
    Summary Judgment is granted if the judge finds the following:

    1. There is no genuine issue of material fact that would make a trial necessary.
    2. The party making the Motion for Summary Judgment is entitled to judgment under the law.
    3. The evidence demonstrates that reasonable minds can only conclude in favor of the party filing the Motion for Summary Judgment.
    Conley has told the SCPR he expects a Judge Lewis D. Linton, Jr (of the DeRolfe line of school funding cases fame) to rule rather quickly inasmuch as Judge Linton is a visiting judge who does not have a full case docket as do sitting Court of Common Pleas judges.

    While the Swanson personal liability case has nothing to do with Maier being on November's ballot, one does have to wonder whether or not a Maier loss on the personal liability claim might not "stoke the fires" anew of Maier's arrogance in proclaiming:

    Kind of like former president George Bush proclaiming a "Mission Accomplished" assertion in the Iraq war, no?

    As far as the SCPR is concerned, there has been a definitive ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court that Maier is qualified under "all" the provisions of Ohio Revised Code Section 311.01 to be Stark County sheriff.

    Moreover, the SCPR keeps hearing that it is not out-of-the-question that Maier will have to face yet another quo warranto as his right to be in office as this blog is written.

    Since February 5, 2013 (the date the the Stark Dems narrowly appointed him sheriff 92 to 84 over Louis Darrow to replace the unable to serve sheriff-elect [November, 2012] Mike McDonald),  George T. Maier has had both good luck and bad luck.

    The SCPR thinks that he needs to conjure up some more good luck if he is to "finally" make his January 12, 2013 guarantee (in hindsight) stick.

    One final question.

    Is the SCPR truly wishing George T. Maier:  Good Luck?

    Why would anybody question that?

    Friday, June 20, 2014


    APRIL 7, 2014

    The Stark County Political Report was amazed to read within the past few days in Stark County's only countywide newspaper (Porter: Hite firing casts long shadow, The Repository, June 19, 2014) that a controversy over the non-renewal of North Canton's legendary? baseball coach apparently has put the school systems' August 1, 2012 hired superintendent of schools Michael Hartenstein in question in terms of the quality of his leadership.

    Hartenstein, who came to North Canton from Parma (where he still lives), has one year left on his initial three year contract.

    The SCPR suspects that Porter way overstated the significance in the context of the entire North Canton community of the baseball coach's non-renewal.

    Porter claimed that 200 North Cantonians showed up to protest the move whereas a Suburbanite present at Wednesday's school board meeting reported has said the number was more like 70.  (Community voices support for fired Hoover baseball coach Hite, Patricial Faulhaber, The 19, 2014)

    The SCPR checked with a person whom The Report has found to be a highly reliable source (Source) on North Canton school board matters and this individual says that there could not have been more than 100 people present.

    To The Report,  it is a tip-off that Porter may be sensationalizing the significance of North Canton schools' action on the coach in that he apparently cannot count.

    According to Porter's profile on Linked-in, he has been a sports writer/columnist for The Repository since 1991.

    To work sport journalism for over 20 years, one must really have to think sports are a high priority in American and more particularly in North Canton life.

    And he may be right.

    However, the SCPR is skeptical that most North Cantonians see the significance that Porter implies that the baseball coach's non-renewal in the place of priorities in the North Canton City Schools (NCCS).

    Here is an excerpt from Porter's column:

    The bottom line is a board of education meeting at North Canton City Schools was overrun with supporters of a baseball coach. North Canton isn’t the kind of place that typically has circus-like board meetings. This is a district that is, after all, ranked by U.S. News and World Report. It’s a place that runs the business of education well.

    And Wednesday night North Canton lost a little bit of itself because a superintendent didn’t have the pulse of the community, nor did he know the passion of it.

    He does now.

    Give the man some respect for admitting a mistake with a flawed process.

    But don’t quit watching. While the scene at the board meeting was unusual for North Canton, it might have been just what the community needed.

    A wake-up call to keep its leaders on their toes.

    Here what an actual parent of North Canton students had to say (in part)  to the SCPR about Porter's perception of the meeting:

    I do think he (Coach Hite) has used the media to paint a picture that may not be entirely accurate about his dismissal, but we will never know.  

    Regarding the community’s opinions on where Hartenstein lives:  it does not bother me that he lives in Parma.  In fact, I am certain that his distance from personal ties here has allowed him to make the decisions that administrators in the past would avoid.  

    There are two articles in the Canton Rep today that paint two different pictures of what occurred at last night’s meeting.  

    Todd Porter is off in his assessment, making it sound like Hartenstein admitted a mistake.  He did not do that, he only clarified that the non-renewal was not about player time as many suggested, that it was about the overall operation of the program by Hite.  

    He also stated that he will review the process with the board over the summer in order to improve how they review such matters going forward.  

    I was surprised that one board member discussed what was said by Hartenstein in executive session.  

    There were 4 people who spoke in support of Hite.

    The SCPR believes that the North Canton City School system is among the very best academic institutions in Stark County, in Ohio and even reaching into national circles, if not beyond.

    A daughter of The Report (now a medical doctor) had a taste of North Canton high quality education in participating in a NCCS course as part of the Stark County collaborative among various school districts as a Lake High School student.

    For Porter to play up the baseball situation as an indication that Hartenstein is "out-of-touch" is a bit much.

    Perhaps his love of all-things-sports has impaired his judgment?

    Hopefully, Porter is not of the ilk of a barber who once told The Report:  "You know what, if it weren't for sports, life would not be worth living!"

    The Report thinks it is a pretty empty life that lives and dies sports.

    Education is far more than sports.

    And these days, with the undue emphasis in America on sports and entertainment, it is more important than ever to have school administrators who understands our misplaced priorities and who have the grit and determination to put "first things first" and emphasize academics as being at the top of our school systems' priorities.

    On April 7, 2014 Superintendent Hartenstein made a "State of the Schools" presentation at an event at Walsh University.

    The SCPR was there and videotaped the presentation.

    Hartenstein did bow and scrape to the Porter types in iconing his presentation with a reference to the North Canton "Vikings" of athletic prowess.

    But he quickly got serious about that things that really matter in public education in outlining the strengths of the current NCCS educational infrastructure and where the system aspire to be in the future.

    What should concern North Cantonians more than anything else is the prospect that the school system could be falling on financial hard times beginning in 2016 as indicated in Hartenstein's presentation.

    The SCPR thinks it is irresponsible for Porter to make the coach non-renewal saga out to be more than it really is.

    Bring it up, talk about it, encourage improved communication if indeed the facts of the non-renewal indicated that the action resulted from a failure of communication and understand.

    However, the SCPR has the feeling that Porter is imposing his seeming priorities in life onto the NCCS.

    Here is Hartenstein at Walsh University on April 7th.

    Thursday, June 19, 2014


    It was a point of pride that the Stark County Political Report wore yesterday, when, in a "frank - to say the least" conversation with Republican Stark County treasurer Alex Zumbar as another county official (unelected) said (a paraphrase):  "you know Martin has been consistent in his insistence that all Stark County political subdivision jobs (county, city, township, board of education et cetera) be offered to the general Stark County taxpaying public."

    Over the six years plus of the publication of the SCPR, yours truly has done quite a few blogs in which The Report is of the opinion that a job was given to a politically connected person and the general taxpaying public was never provided an opportunity to apply.

    It appears to the SCPR that all too many Stark County officials see their authority to hire and fire as being their private fiefdom and "the public be damned!"

    And the phenomenon cuts across political party lines.

    Yesterday's SCPR exchange with Zumbar concerned plan (PLAN) offered by Zumbar to have the Stark County Land Reutilization Corporation (SCLRC, a non-profit quasi-governmental corporation) to hire his chief deputy treasurer and former Stark County treasurer (August 23, 2010 - September 20, 2010) Jaime Allbritain as an - get this - "an independent contractor" to do the administrative/financial accounting work of the SCLRC.

    The Report's objection?

    That the contract was not put out for bid for the private sector to have an opportunity to bid on.

    It is a bit ironic that arch-conservative Republican Alex Zumbar does not favor bidding out the project whereas the political "middle-of-road" SCPR does.

    Conservative Republicans are known for their worship of the private sector and insistence that if the job can be done by the private sector then, by golly, government needs to stand off and have private enterprise do what it does better than any government can hope to do, that is, a much more efficient and effective job.

    It is a bit curious to the SCPR that Zumbar is taking an opposite of what one would expect of him given what is undoubtedly his underlying political philosophy, apparently, when it comes to others.

    The Report suspects that the SCLRC job is seen by Zumbar as an opportunity for Zumbar to beef up Allbritain's income (potentially up to $25,000 per annum) inasmuch as it seems to the SCPR that she is not all that well paid for being a chief deputy to Zumbar.

    Although the SCPR has in the past rated Zumbar very high as a steward of the public trust, he has come under criticism from the Stark County commissioners and, of course, in this blog now by The Report.

    The SCPR does think well of Zumbar's administration of the treasury in general and has written quite of few blogs to such effect over the years he has been treasurer.

    However, as readers of The Report know, nobody, absolutely nobody, is immune from the critical eye of The Stark County Political Report.

    In The Report's animated talk with Zumbar yesterday, he gave a laundry list of reasons why in his view it was of critical importance for the SCLRC to approve the "independent contractor" status for Allbritain.

    From the SCPR's standpoint none of the offered reasons and rationale stand up to The Report's insistence and position that a responsible public official has a duty to make county/township/board of education employment/appointment available to each and Stark County taxpaying citizen.

    While it appears to be legal to do what the Zumbar's plan supposes to do, it is to the SCPR an arrogation of political/government power that is demonstrated all too often by Stark County political subdivision officials.

    And the SCPR thinks that the taxpaying public should start thinking of making a point to these local government officials and speaking to them in terms they clearly understand by increasingly refusing to approve tax increase measures.

    It is not a happy day for the SCPR to start advocating in such a manner.

    Especially now.

    The State of Ohio (Republican John Kasich's administration) has devastated local government funding to the point that local governments have no choice but to ask taxpayers across Stark County's cities, villages and boards of education as well as special taxing districts to make up for the state's bailout.

    The county itself has a renewal of the Justice System Sales Tax (JSST) coming up in 2019.

    That date seems a long ways away, but to use the truism "it will be here before anyone thinks."

    The county commissioners have worked hard to rein in those county officials who want to break the budget in handing out in excess of the county's 2% guideline raises.

    And the SCPR has worked hard to ensure that all Stark County taxpaying citizens has an opportunity to get taxpayer supported work.

    The Report has excoriated:
    • Rick Campbell of the Stark County recorder's office, 
    • Nancy Reinbold, the Stark County clerk of courts, 
    • George T. Maier (Stark's appointed sheriff by the Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee), 
    • Canton mayor William J. Healy,
    • Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro Perry,
    • Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr,
    • Stark County auditor Alan Harold,
    • North Canton City Council,
    • Canton Local's Board of Education,
    • Canton clerk of courts Phil Giavasis,
    • Plain Township's trustees,
    • Jackson Township's trustees, and
    • Zumbar previously
    for what the SCPR believes as having injected a  political factor into the hiring process and thereby cut out ordinary Stark County taxpaying citizens.

    As extensive as the list is, undoubtedly there have been others in the 2500 blogs published by the SCPR in six plus years that yours truly does not recall at the moment.  Moreover, there undoubtedly have been quite of number of hirings that involved political influence which have not come to the attention of the SCPR.

    If Zumbar's plan goes through without first bidding the PLAN to the private sector, then as far as the SCPR is concerned what Zumbar is doing is tantamount to an "in your face" to the Stark County taxpaying public.

    What alternative do Stark County taxpayers have other than think once, twice, three times about whether or not to grant new revenues to those who do what appears to be "inside dealing" with public jobs?

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014



    On Monday morning at 10.06 a.m., Stark County commissioner Thomas Bernabei walked out of an executive session of the Stark County Land Reutilization Corporation (SCLRC) because he thought a matter to be discussion would be a violation of Ohio's Sunshine Laws.

    The Sunshine Law issue?

    Whether or not an "independent contractor" is a government employee and therefore the hiring of whom would or would not be a proper topic of discussion in an executive session as provided for in Ohio Revised Code Section 121.22.

    As the executive session was underway, the SCPR was waiting in the area adjacent to the commissioners meeting room located on the second floor of the Stark County Office Building with other area media when Bernabei (one of five members of the SCLRC Board) came ambling out muttering about how he could not abide the proceedings underway without articulating exactly why.

    The exited meeting of the SCLRC board included, among others invited in by the board members (in addition to Bernabei):
    • fellow commissioner Janet Creighton,
    • city of Canton representative to the SCLRC, Lem Green,
    • township representative to the SCLRC, Plain Township trustee Scott Haws, and
    • the Stark County treasurer's office representative and president of the SCLRC Alex Zumbar
    Only in persisting with questioning of Bernabei after the SCLRC meeting concluded did the SCPR learn the reason why Bernabei left.

    On learning of his stance on the Sunshine Law applicability, The Report exclaimed:  "Kudos to Commissioner Tom Bernabei."

    But to extol Bernabei is not the equivalent of dissing those who remained.

    They did have a legal opinion from one Thomas Burns (a lawyer from the city of Canton law department - civil side) that it was proper for the SCLRC board to discuss the independent contractor matter as if an independent contractor is a government employee.

    And that is exactly the reason that Commissioner Janet Creighton gave The Report as why she stayed the course in the meeting.

    The SCPR sides with Bernabei and profusely applauds him for his action in "doing" and "creating" government sunshine in Stark County.

    Just yesterday, the SCPR did a blog raising a question as to whether or not Canton Township board of education members on Monday evening complied with Ohio's sunshine laws in appointing a new member to fulfill the terms of recently resigned member John Martin.

    Bernabei provides a model to Canton Local District school officials and all other county and political subdivision officials as having the spunk to do what he did on Monday in error - if at all - on the side of governmental sunshine.

    The SCPR cannot overstate the courage that Bernabei demonstrated in taking the stance that he did.

    All too many government officials get intimidated by their "peer review" crowd and just sort of cower down and abide the questionable in terms of sunshine law adherence. 

    In March of every year our nation celebrates what has been nominated as being "Sunshine Week."


    Sunshine Week 2014 is made possible thanks to the generous support of Bloomberg and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

    Sunshine Week is a national initiative to promote a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Participants include news media, civic groups, libraries, nonprofits, schools and others interested in the public’s right to know.

    While it is "fitting and proper" for the greatest democratic-republic the world has ever known to annually celebrate government sunshine, it is far more important that "acts enhancing sunshine" be performed daily throughout our government by the likes of Commissioner Thomas Bernabei.

    The SCPR during the six plus years of existence has seen quite a few instances in which The Report thinks government sunshine may not have triumphed.

    In addition to the Canton Local School District matter, The Report recalls a couple of relatively recent incidents involving the Canton City Council in which it is questionable as to whether or not sunshine was allowed by local government officials to be clouded over.

    Especially distressing to the SCPR is the fact that Canton City Council president Allen Schulman (whom The Report has a high general regard for) broke a tie on whether or not council would go into executive session over the matter of whom was to be the new majority leader (vice president of council) on December 17, 2013.

    Schulman is Stark County's foremost office holder political liberal and for him to side against sunshine was unbelieveable.

    Schulman faded, but not Thomas Beranbei when the "rubber met the road" on an actual test of standing up when it counts.

    Rhetoric is one thing; action is quite another.

    Another trouble spot for sunshine in Stark County political subdivision government, the SCPR thinks, is North Canton City Council.

    The Report believes that council and North Canton mayor David Held allowed a legal opinion by Law Director Tim Fox (issued in November, 2013) on the legality of a November, 2012 citizen passed (by a 72% vote) ordinance initiative to lie buried from public scrutiny for about three months.

    And, the SCPR believes North Canton citizen activist Chuck Osborne's claim that Law Director Fox gives him fits in Osborne's efforts to get public records.

    However, the SCPR holds North Canton City Council responsible for apparently allowing Fox to be a barrier to access to public records.

    It is a sad day in the history of the American democratic-republican experience that the SCPR has to celebrate the courageous deed of a Stark County public official.

    Let it be written, let it be said - once again - "Kudos to Commissioner Tom Bernabei" for standing his ground on behalf of "letting the sunshine in" on local government.

    To the rest of Stark County officialdom:  "Go and do likewise!"

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014


    UPDATE:  09:40 AM





    Some of those Canton Local District residents attending last night's school board members may have had to pinch themselves to remind themselves what country they were in.

    For there were questions among them on the appropriateness (procedurally and substantively) on the selection of a new school board member to replace the recently resigned John Martin (late May, 2014).

    It is likely that his "after the resignation" comments (Ex-Canton Local board member: District headed in wrong direction, Kelli Young, The Repository, June 8, 2014) stirred up already riled up dissents to the manner in which the Canton Local Board of Education (BOE) conducts the district's education business.

    For example:
    “We now have a superintendent who does not live in the community (and) that doesn’t experience having a neighbor from Canton Local,” Martin said. “(The administrators are) all good people but (they are) are collecting millions of community taxpayer money and all live outside the district. (They) will not pay a single cent toward our new high school, (and) will never have community involvement because they are not part of the community.”
    “Our entire upper administration now has pushed local people away and brought outside people in,” Martin said. “I understand that the best hire may be from the outside, but I also understand that there’s a tremendous responsibility for a (leader) to develop the people within.”
    What is interesting about Martin's reported remarks is that the reporter's check of records indicates that he on the official record supported the hires he was post-resignation complaining about, but justifies his now complaining on his claim that he did object during executive sessions in which the hires were being considered and that he continues to have concerns about the path that the BOE is going down on the matter of new hires.

    It would be a violation of state law for the BOE to condition employment in the school district on living within the district and it is the official policy of the board to hire the best possible person for the job regardless of where a given applicant may live.

    A specific target of dissatisfaction appears to be Superintendent Kim Redmond who lives in Jackson Township.

    The Stark County Political Report has some very well placed sources within the Canton South education venue.

    What is not stated in the Young report which the SCPR is hearing is that the real discontent with Redmond is not her out-of-district residence, but rather the perception that she is an autocratic superintendent.

    And the discontent on the alleged dictatorial style of Redmond seems to go hand in glove with a criticism of the BOE membership itself in terms of being locked in with the superintendent in her perceived style and who is seen by some critics as being in control of the board which dissidents seem to think acts on things like appointing new board members in accordance with the wishes of Redmond.

    Yours truly has been following board of education processes for over 30 years.  The Report's analysis is that superintendents of school districts work very, very hard to cultivate lock-in type relationship with their respective boards.  It appears to the SCPR that it indeed takes a very courageous board member to differ in public with fellow board members and the superintendent him or herself.

    The Report's spouse served six (6) years as a Lake School District board member.  Currently, she is a member of the Stark County Educational Service Center governing board, now in her 7th year as a board member.

    Accordingly, the Report is not surprised to learn of the assessments that some residents' perception of the Canton Local School District have of their board/superintendent relationship.

    While there is a need for superintendents and board members to have a cooperative and coordinating relationship, it quite a different matter for them to forge a lock-in relationship.

    Who, in such a situation, looks out for the public interest?

    Canton Local administration and board detractors are livid over the appointment of Dianne Williams as the replacement for Martin.

    Nonetheless Williams was voted in last night and sworn in.

    They give three reasons for their outrage at Williams' appointment:
    • She has children in private school,
    • Allegations that her private marketing company had a role in board member Scott Hamilton's campaign, and
    • There were far more qualified candidates than Williams among the nine (9) applicants for Martin's position
    Here is what the SCPR was able to find with respect to the allegation on the Williams having a role in board member Scott Hamilton (17 years on the board) 2013 re-election campaign.

    It appears to the SCPR that the report may be being misread by Williams/Hamilton detractors.

    The "in-kind," The Report thinks, refers to Hamilton having paid for campaign expenses out of his own pocket and has inartfully reported same.  Typically, the "in-kind" designation has the name of the person/entity making a contribution which the SCPR believes Hamilton should have listed under his name. 

    It seems that the most that could be made of the listing is that there was a business relationship between Williams' company and Hamilton in the context of his re-election campaign.

    Perhaps Hamilton should have disclosed the apparent "having done business with" relationship before voting on Williams' appointment last night.

      The SCPR did seek out Ms. Williams for a post-board-meeting interview as her husband who overhead the Cole interview (see below) indicated she might be willing to respond to Mr. Cole's and others' concerns.  However, she proved to be elusive at the conclusion of the meeting which might not be a good sign for someone who as a public official is to be accessible to the public.

      One of the prime candidates for the vacated Martin position based on the November, 2013 election which, of course, included incumbent Hamilton should have been Dan Datkuliak.

      Only 121 votes separated Datkuliak from surprisingly enough board president Brothers.

      Only 240 votes separated Datkuliak from top vote getter Scarpino.

      And Datkuliak has impressive education background credentials himself including having gone through the Canton Local school system as a student.

      Datkuliak went on to become teacher and an administrator in the Canton South venue before moving on to the Chippewa School District in 2009.

      He left education in 2011 because he found it was not "his first love" and that he needed to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a barber which is now in the "town" (i.e. Canton Township) he loves dearly.

      Listening to the likes of Datkuliak, it is a "mystery wrapped in a conundrum" and more benignly "tis a puzzlement" or more darkly "something is rotten in the state of Denmark" that Williams was selected over Datkuliak or as he says:  "one of the numerous other applicants who applied for the Martin vacancy.

      The SCPR was able to get one Canton Local citizen (Chris Cole) to go on camera to talk about various aspects of the dislike that he and others have for Redmond and the BOE membership.  Cole himself, as seen on the video, has no problem with Redmond's leadership style.

      One of the things that those unhappy with Redmond and the BOE membership point out is the procedures employed by the BOE at arriving at the Williams appointment.

      President Brothers did go on camera with the SCPR last night to explain the timeline of considering the Martin replacement appointment.

      First, a copy of the letter that Brothers sent out to the "unsuccessful" candidates dated June 10th, the day after a June 9th BOE work session in which the candidates were interviewed in executive session, to wit:

      June 10, 2014

      Dave Brothers
      Canton Local Board of Education

      Dear ...,

      On behalf of the Canton Local Board of Education, I would like to thank you for taking part in the interviews for the empty board seat.  We appreciated the time you gave us and the loyalty and concern you have for the students and the community.  All of the applicants presented themselves well; unfortunately only one could be chosen.  I am writing to inform you that, after serious consideration, you were not selected for the open position  It is the hope of all of us that you will stay active  and involved in the schools and perhaps even consider to run for office in 2015.


      Dave Brothers

      Next up, the SCPR interview with President Brothers for him to give his/the board's account of proceeding.

      And now, a LINK to a Ohio School Boards publication with respect to the factors that weigh-in under Ohio local of meeting Ohio's Sunshine law.

      To the SCPR there seems to be a reasonable basis (at least to be inferred) for thinking that perhaps the Canton BOE did not comply with the requirements of the Sunshine Law.

      Whether or not such opinions might be validated by a court decision should a contest of the appointment be filed, may be beside the point.

      The Report sees a awful lot of dissension among key Canton Local community leaders.

      The positive for the district is that it after four tries and narrowly (plus 52 votes) convinced the Canton Local voting public passed a bond issue ($36.2 million) to fund a replacement of its 80 year old high school.

      But "bricks and mortar" do not a morale and confidence problem fix.

      The SCPR's look at the Canton Local School District indicates that much repair work is needed by Superintendent Redmond and members of the Canton Local School District if education is to thrive in the district.