UPDATE: 10:40 AM
OSBORNE RESPONDS TO PETERS
Remarks For Today's Blog
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 10:24 AM
From: "Chuck Osborne" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Martin Olson" <email@example.com>
First I would like to say that I very much enjoy the channel of communications I have with Council President Jeff Peters. With that said, I must differ with what Mr. Peters just stated in his video interview with you.
I do not recall that Mr. Peters told me that there was a second applicant for the Ward 4 Council seat. I came into last night’s council meeting aware of only one applicant, namely, former Law Director Roy Batista.
Mr. Peters told me early last week that indeed, Mr. Batista had expressed interest in the position. In recent days I remarked to Mr. Peters that since Mr. Batista is so imminently qualified and well known, that there really was no need to waste anyone’s time with an interview.
Mr. Peters agreed as we both chuckled about the obvious qualifications of Mr. Batitsta.
I fully expected that Mr. Batista would be appointed last night and was led to believe by Mr. Peters that could happen.
The existence of a second applicant was a total surprise to me last night.
At the end of last night’s meeting, I asked for a copy of the letter of the second applicant and Finance Director Alger, designated to collect letters of interest for the council seat, said she did not have a second letter of interest for the position.
It has taken herculean effort secure a copy of Mr. Batista’s letter of interest as I have been given the runaround since the middle of last week.
Finding out when I came in for last night’s council meeting that there was an another applicant now being considered for the vacant council seat and who did not meet the deadline to apply prompted my public remarks last night.
When Mr. Jon Snyder applied in 1998 for the vacant Ward 4 council seat, Mr. Snyder was the only applicant. If one applicant was satisfactory then, why isn’t a more imminently qualified candidate satisfactory now?
Why wasn’t Mr. Batista chosen last night?
I would put the qualifications and credentials of Roy Batista light-years above the former 4th Ward Councilman. As the public sees time and time again, the best candidate is never chosen.
Politics seems to interject itself and generally it is self-serving for the people in power. This is all very sad for the citizens of North Canton.
At this time, North Canton desperately needs the steady knowledgeable guiding hand of former Law Director Roy Batista. More than 27 years as North Canton’s Law Director should qualify him to serve as a member of City Council.
Something is gravely wrong with the members of North Canton City Council if former Law Director Roy Batista is not chosen.
It does not require a crystal ball to know the outcome here. How sad for North Canton citizens.
For Mr. Domonic Fonte, an applicant that failed to meet the deadline to apply, I ask that he withdraw his name for consideration at this time.
North Canton needs Roy Batista now.
A photo taken by the North Neighbor News (back on September 20, 2013) shows, everything apparently was honky-dory between former North Canton law direct Roy H. Batista and then new law director Tim Fox as Batista swore Fox in as North Canton's latest law director.
And that may still be the case.
Nevertheless, one has to wonder whether or not Fox will abide Batista being the replacement for former Ward 4 councilman Jon Snyder who unexpectedly resigned recently.
Why would one have to wonder?
At the time of the photograph, it was likely not known that the two had different takes on an ordinance initiative (Issue 5 in the November, 2012 general election) put together by a group of North Canton community activists.
The ordinance passed overwhelmingly.
Batista was interim law director (replacing Hans Nilges who resigned on June 29th; final day July 31st) from August 1, 2012 until September 20th, the date he swore in Fox.
Batista had served as North Canton's law director previously for 27 plus years.
In his latest stint as law director, Batista had to deal with approving Issue 5.
His approach was to try to fix what he thought were deficiencies in the framing of the issue.
Not once does Batista question the fundamental right of North Canton's citizens to deny councilpersons health care coverage.
Here are excerpts from his communications which indicate a willingness to help activists to get the initiative process right:
Tim Fox, on the other hand, who was at the time of Batista's review Ward 3 councilman for North Canton, is on record as far as the SCPR can determine as not taking any position on the proposed ordinance.
However, after it passed in November, 2012, it appears that he made made an interpretation of the law that the ordinance was invalid (November 15, 2013) but North Canton government did nothing in terms of making the opinion available to the general public until Mayor David Held released it on February 27, 2014.
And on March 23, 2014, Fox, at the direction of Mayor Held filed a Declaratory Judgment action (against the community activists) asking the Stark County Court of Common Pleas (Judge John Haas) to hold the passed initiative to be invalid, to wit:
In the meantime, apparently relying on Fox's interpretation of the law as articulated in paragraphs 21, 22 and 35 of the complaint, Councilpersons Peters, Kiesling, Snyder and Werren continued to be covered by North Canton government insurance until earlier this year when they terminated the coverage and reimbursed the premiums paid by the city in the face of a public outcry in light of the 71.76% voter approval.
The SCPR thinks that the differences in approach on Issue 5 by Batista (which The Report sees as citizen-conciliatory) and Fox (which The Report sees as citizen-antagonistic) could be a basis of friction between the two should Batista be selected by council to replace Snyder.
Moreover, that Batista is a highly respected lawyer who has a long history (nearly 50 years as an attorney) of ably representing and advising local governments and may make Fox, who has far less experience, feel insecure.
Accordingly, though the SCPR thinks Batista is super qualified to be Ward 4 councilman, he may not be able to muster enough support from among the six deciding councilpersons to get the appointment because they think it would set up a tense situation between him and Fox.
In other words, The Report believes that it may be that Tim Fox has such a hold on at least three council persons that Batista might not be able to get a majority vote if Fox objects to his being on council.
The SCPR did ask President Jeff Peters about such an outcome.
As Peters pointed out in the video, a person by the name of Dominick Fonte (a local realtor of some 25 years; no application document available to the SCPR) applied yesterday and seems to have attractive qualities.
But if Batista does not get the appointment, undoubtedly there will be those who think it was because of a Fox objection.
From the SCPR's perspective, such thinking has plausibility to it.
For it seems to The Report that Tim Fox has the support of enough councilpersons and, more importantly, the apparent unfettered support of Mayor David Held so that he may well be the person Roy Batista has to satisfy if he is to be Ward 4 councilman.
The Report has never seen such a classic case of "the tail wagging the dog."