UPDATE: 08:47 AM
The one line that Masillon should be focusing on to know what is "really" at play in the Massillon city government and politics "flare up" at Monday night's councl meeting is Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry's statement:
But to mask the "power politics" aspect of the fight over whether or not the money will be provided by Massillon City Council to fund a parking ticket officer, the mayor has decided to become inflammatory about the matter in claiming that the defunding is a racist/sexist act because her hire is a black woman.
What the mayor fails to mention is that the hire is not just any black woman but she (Dwan St. John) is a "politically connected 'black' woman;" the wife of none other than Deametrious St. John who until March 1, 2014 was a Stark County Democratic Party recommended appointee (the governor of Ohio actually makes the appointment at the behest of the local party in most instances) to the Stark County Board of Elections.
Deametrious (a pivotal figure in the creating of the Stark County Black Caucus) played a key role in putting former Catazaro-Perry safety director George T. Maier (Stark County's Democratic Party appointed sheriff) on the November, 2014 ballot when his qualifications under Ohio Revised Code Section 311.01 was challenged by a-then Massillon Democratic Party Ward 1 precinct committeewoman (Cynthia Balas-Bratton).
The SCPR has tabbed Deametrious St. John as a card-carrying member of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr Loyalty Club.
If there is any "ism" at play in Massillon, the SCPR thinks it is political "cronyISM!
If this matter was about the merits of the downtown Massillon merchants' need to have the city government help solve their parking problem, those councilpersons who go through the arithmetic of how the Catazaro-Perry administration has configured the job, then a "reasonable" executive would say:
"you know what, you have a point. Given Massillon's precarious financial position and the fact that we have current employees doing furlough days, it was a mistake to create a fulltime position by merging two part time jobs (i.e. the parking officer position and an income tax department job) because doing so obligates the city to pay benefits which - in a tight budget - is not a thing to do."The SCPR thinks that the KCP administration focus has not been on the numbers and the merits of the matter but on somebody's determination that Ms. St. John was to be hired (no posting of the job done) and in the mix it was concluded that one way or another she was to be put in a fulltime position.
After all with with her having a masters degree, it certainly would be a case of "being underemployed" were she only to be a part time parking officer which means no more than 30 hours per week, with no health care and retirement benefits, no?
The SCPR conjectures that the merits of the matter (from the Massillon taxpayer standpoint) did not match the Catazaro-Perry political needs, and, perhaps, St. John's financial needs and therefore "the public be damned" and "we - the administration are going to do as 'we dam well please,' and if I (KCP) need to get politically nasty to get my way - I will do so!
Hence, the racism and sexism charges.
For one who does not have the merits on one's side, the only alternative to prevail is to confuse matters and through out a "red herring or two," no?
To the SCPR there is a big political umbrella overlay to the St. John hire.
One of those voting to defund the parking ticket officer position is Ward 2 Republican councilwoman Nancy Halter.
Well, from the Maier Loyalty Club perspective, her action has to be politically motivated, no?
For she is a part of the campaign of Republican Larry Dordea who is running against guess who for Stark County sheriff this November.
- SCPR Note: Republicans (four in number) do not control Massillon City Council. However, there is a gigantic rift in the Massillon Democratic Party (i.e. Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero and former mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr are avowed political foes of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and his political sycophant and chief deputy clerk of courts Shane Jackson) and consequently a number Democratic members (except for council president Tony Townsend and Ward 4 councilman Shaddrick Stinson) of council are quick to join the Republicans in stiffling Catazaro-Perry drive to political power.
- became the Stark County Democratic Party appointed sheriff (one time [February 5, 2013] illegally according to the Ohio Supreme Court [reappointed on December 11, 2013]
- largely through the efforts of his brother Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and former Stark County Democratic Party chairman
- [currently Massillon clerk of courts
- who is the power behind Catazaro-Perry becoming mayor in 2011 in a political grudge match between Maier, Jr and longtime political adversary and longtime former mayor Frank Cicchinelli.
- SCPR Note: many think, as does The Report, that Catazaro-Perry is merely the "window dressing" in the mayor's office and that Maier, Junior and his loyalists run the executive branch of the city of Massillon
- is currently Hartville police chief,
- former Alliance police chief,
- currently a Republican member of Alliance City Council,
- which is presided over as president by Dwan St. John attorney Steve Okey (who claims that the council defunding, as does Catazaro-Perry) was racially motivated,
- Note: Steve Okey himself was recently appointed president of Alliance City Council over fellow Democrat Sue Ryan in an Alliance Democratic Party fight that included George T. Maier political operative (in the context of Maier's political campaign for sheriff) Derek Loy who, by the way, is an employee at the Stark County sheriff's department.
- Note: The SCPR thinks Okey sought and was appointed president of Alliance City Council and a part of a grand political grand plan put together by Maier, Jr in cahoots with recently retired SCDP chair Randy Gonzalez to be "a political thorn in the side" of Dordea on his home turf.
- Note: Okey is becoming quite accomplished at having a role in legal proceedings/inquiries vis-a-vis Stark's political subdivisions.
- He filed his own lawsuit against Alliance City County (dismissed by him, interestingly enough, when he became council's president) for alleged violations of Ohio's Sunshine Law on secretive voting procedures.
- Although The Report thinks that Alliance City Council was ill-advised in its "sometimes" practice (which Okey himself participated in when he was an Alliance councilman) of voting "unsigned" ballots; the SCPR does not buy Okey's claim that he filed the suit out of devotion to open government. The Report thinks it was done to politically embarrass Dordea.
- Already as council president, Okey has generated a controversy in which he tried to leverage his position as president into working a de facto council rule change in requiring "roll call" votes on each and every council vote.
- As with the voting issue, the SCPR thinks that Alliance City Council should do roll call votes except on certain pedestrian, run-of-the mill matters; however, The Report does not buy that Okey's action was anything but politically motivated in order to embarrass Dordea.
- Okey is also threatening litigation with Massillon should it strip George T. Maier son Michael Maier of his sergeant's position as a consequence of a court decision that Michael was was improperly promoted over Massillon police officer Tom Rogers in scoring competitive civil service exams.
There is nothing racial about the fight, it is all about politics.
And The Stark County Political Report predicts that if Steve Okey and his client persist in trying to make this a racial thing, - once the courts see all the political dynamics in play - they will get bounced out of court in a nanosecond.
In the meantime the city of Massillon and its taxpaying citizens will suffer untold expense and a huge distraction from solving the many financial and economic problems that Tigerland now faces.
In the end, it will be everyday Massillonians who do not get their street repaired, jobs created and neighborhoods rehabbed because the politicians have phonied up a fight that in its core is all about politics and nothing about race.
That, folks, "is a bunch of political crap!"
And Maier, Jr and his stand-in Kathy Catazao-Perry owe - not those council members she offended by calling them racists and sexists on Monday night - but the hard working, taxpaying citizens of Massillon who are having to put up with "the political crap" are indeed owed an apology by the figurehead mayor and her chief political sponsor!
Don't count on an apology Massillonians.
Catazaro-Perry, Maier, Jr, et al appear to have no sensitivity whatsoever to the misery and hard times their playing politics with Massillon government visit on everyday Massillonians.