Thursday, July 31, 2014



FIXING 9-1-1
On Tuesday, December 30, 2008 the-then Stark County commissioners (Democrats Todd Bosley and Tom Harmon and Republican Jane Vignos) voted 3 - 0 to "impose" as 0.5% sales tax on Stark Countians.

The trumpeted reason given by the commissioners was that the tax increase was needed to fix what was termed to be a broken Stark County 9-1-1 call receiving and dispatch system.

However, the fact of the matter is that of the approximate $22 million that the increased tax would raise, $16.5 million was for Stark County general fund operations whereas $5.5 million was earmarked for the 9-1-1 rebuild project.

As it turns out, the SCPR thinks it was one huge political mistake for Bosley to have pushed for the "imposed" levy.  It appears to the SCPR that Bosley was the impetus behind "imposing" the tax.

A centerpiece of Democrat Bosley's 2006 surprisingly victorious campaign against incumbent Stark County commissioner and Republican Richard Regula was fixing 9-1-1.

But the way to go about fulfilling his promise to voters was to convince them to pass the sales tax as a ballot initiative.

The Report thinks that bypassing the voters who in the November, 2009 general election "repealed" the tax made it impossible for him to win reelection in 2010 and was persuasive in his deciding to run against the-then 50th Ohio House District state representative Todd Snitchler (R, Lake).

Although the wide disparity in numbers (in Snitchler's favor) in the state representative election make it obvious that Bosley was not going to win even if he had not tarnished his standing with Stark voters in his push to "impose" the sales tax; his having been a participant in the imposition likely sealed the deal for Snitchler.

The SCPR goes through the "since Bosley" phase of the 9-1-1 project because at Monday night's Canton City Council meeting Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher (Bosley 2006 "for commissioner" campaign manager) spoke in recognition of Bosley's commitment to fixing Stark's broken 9-1-1 after council had passed an ordinance authorizing the expenditure of funds in support of merged (Canton, the Sheriff and Regional Emergency Dispatch; see below) dispatching service for much of Stark County.

9-1-1 Project Manager Joe Concatto was present at Canton City Council on Monday night along with Stark County Commissioner Thomas Bernabei in support of a resolution by council to include the Canton Communications Center (CCC, now being led by former police chief Dean McKimm) in a plan whereby the CCC joins with the Stark County Sheriff's Dispatch Center (SDC) and the Regional Emergency Dispatch (RED) Center as a first step in bringing all of Stark County together into a complete countywide system.

There is no doubt about it, Fisher is correct, Todd Bosley was focused on fixing Stark's 9-1-1.

The Report thinks he deserves credit (at great political cost to himself) for the funds being available for the current set of county commissioners
  • Janet Creighton, a Republican; 
  • Thomas Bernabei, a Democrat; and, ironically, 
  • Richard Regula, a Republican (who made a political comeback from his 2006 defeat by Bosley in November, 2012 by defeating long time city of Canton political figure Bill Smuckler)
to vote yesterday to authorize the expenditure of monies held since 2009/2010 (collection of the sales tax ended on March 31,2010) for a Computer-Aided-Dispatch system.

  • SCPR Note: "the specific expenditures"
    • $1,407,416 for licensing and implementation,
    • $499,320 for a 6 year pre-pay maintenance agreement
    • $1,000.00 (5% per year cap increase) for annual source code escrow fees
Project Manager Concatto spoke with the SCPR after the commissioners acted today about the importance of the "imposed" sales tax revenue being held in reserve so that the commissioners had the financial ability to act.

The SCPR thinks the commissioners deserve credit for protecting the money in reserve inasmuch as there was pressure brought to bear to apply the money for general fund purposes over the years it has been held.

There are many other "key" Stark County political and government figures who deserve recognition for their effort in keeping the 9-1-1 rehab project alive.

Chief among them is Randy Gonzalez.

Joe Concatto spoke with the SCPR about Gonzalez's contribution.

Gonzalez recently retired as the chief deputy for the Canton Municipal Court.  Moreover, he stepped aside as the chairman of the Stark County Council of Governments' (SCOG) Governance Committee which is the entity that has nursed the 9-1-1 project along.  He does, however, continue as the fiscal officer for Jackson Township.

Gonzalez has worked longer (for over 20 years) and harder than any other Stark Countian in furtherance of Stark County having a countywide 9-1-1 operation.

Joe Concatto, a former Canton fire chief and member of Janet Creighton's administration during her term (January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2011) as mayor of Canton has done superlative work as project manager.

Commissioner Thomas Bernabei has pushed the project along.  The SCPR sees Bernabei's major contribution as being willing to ask the hard questions and getting answers that make sense in getting Stark County the very best 9-1-1 setup at the best pricing available.

Concatto at yesterday's commissioners' meeting laid out well Bernabei's important role in getting the project to its current stage

And, of course, there are others.

These folks were recognized at the commissioners' meeting yesterday which recognition is presented in the following video.

The commissioners weighed-in yesterday with their individual comments.

Commissioner Creighton ("it is a poster project of collaboration in this county.  And it should be held up to show others that when you put your minds together ... some good things come to pass."):

Commissioner Regula:

Commissioner Bernabei:

There are those who have been an impediment to the realization of united Stark County 9-1-1 call receiving and dispatching operation.

As far as the SCPR is concerned one such person is Mayor William J. Healy the city of Canton.

In the video of Concatto's presentation to Canton Council (see above) and Mayor Healy on Monday night, Councilman Bill Smuckler (a long time Healy political nemesis and adversary) needled the mayor in saying "does this mean we are finally going to get together a countywide 9-1-1 system?"

Of course, the mayor gave him "a smart aleck" answer.

Smuckler back in 2011 was saying that the mayor's reluctance to getting Canton on board with a countywide 9-1-1 was costing the city $400,000.

Another sore point in the progress towards making Stark's 9-1-1 countywide is that a number of Stark County's political subdivisions either do their own dispatching (e.g. Alliance, Minerva and North Canton) or have Nimishillen Township's CenCom do dispatching for them.

9-1-1 Project Manager Concatto leaves up to Nimishillen Fire Chief Peterson to answer the question of what the future holds for Nimishillen's CenCom.

The SCPR believes that Todd Bosley, when he was a Nimishillen Township trustee, formed an alliance with long time fire chief Rich Peterson in the order of making a then-new facility (located on Columbus Road) the focal point of an countywide 9-1-1 system as part of Bosley's 2006 commissioner campaign.

The SCPR has written quite a few blogs about the Nimishillen factor and here is a partial listing for those readers are interested in getting into the fine details of the evolvement of CenCom.
The short of it is that Nimishillen lost out on being "the" hub of Stark County countywide 9-1-1 operations.

Moreover, Nimishillen has a very large mortgage to pay on the building which houses its dispatching services and, accordingly, it appears that the township is just trying to "stay above water" and therefore officials may feel that the township has no alternative but to compete with the county for political subdivision dispatching business.

Area media reports indicate that Nimishillen's CenCom serves a total of 25 agencies (not all of them in Stark County) and takes in about $800,000 a year in revenue

Some of the Stark County agencies include:
  •  Fire Departments
    • Canton Township,
    • East Sparta,
    • Greentown,
    • Hartville,
    • Magnolia,
    • Marlboro Township,
    • North Lawrence,
    • Osnaburg Township,
    • Perry Township,
    • Sandy Township,
    • Uniontown,
    • Washington Township
    • Waynesburg,
  • Police Departments
    • Uniontown
The Stark County commissioners have sent a letter out to all Stark County political subdivisions trying to interest them in joining a centralized Stark County system.

Here is a sample of the letter sent out:

July 3, 2014

Hon. Mayor Alan Andreani
Alliance City Hall
504 East Main Street
Alliance, Ohio 44601

Dear Mayor Andreani,

The Stark County Commissioners are in the process of purchasing a countywide Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system that can be used by all dispatch centers in the County.

The contract price for the purchase is approximately $1.4 million and will be paid from funds previously set aside by the Commissioners for 911 Dispatch and related purposes. The purchase of a CAD has been recommended by the Stark Council of Government’s (SCOG) Governance Board. An integral part of the CAD purchase is the purchase of a maintenance contract for an initial 6 year period at an additional cost of $598,950 (or discounted to $479,160 if prepaid.)

The Commissioners wish to make this CAD available to all political subdivisions within Stark County. 

There are currently eight (8) dispatch centers that dispatch for all police and fire and EMS services in Stark County and the CAD software would be connected to those dispatch centers via the existing 9-1-1 Optiman connection. There would be no cost to each political subdivision for the acquisition of the CAD (which includes training and data conversion), however,the future maintenance costs described above (and any other operational costs, of which none are specifically identified at this time) would be shared by any users. 

Stark County is contemplating prepaying the maintenance costs and then receiving contractual reimbursements from any CAD user over the 6 year period of the maintenance agreement. 

A CAD System provides the capability through displays and other tools for a dispatcher to handle calls as efficiently as possible and to more easily and readily view and understand the status of all units being dispatched.  The system includes modules for call input, call dispatching, call status maintenance, event notes, field unit status and tracking, and call resolution and disposition.  The CAD system also includes interfaces that will be used with the 9-1-1 system, the radio systems, CJIS, NCIC, and Leads.  

The CAD system we will be purchasing is designed to work with local mobile data terminals presently in police cruisers, fire trucks and medic units.  

The proposed CAD is a very robust system that can work as an individual CAD for each dispatch center but also the dispatch center can be connected to a countywide system. 

The CAD is designed to service any dispatch center or political subdivision in Stark County which may choose to participate. 

As presently contracted, it  will be used by Stark County (through the Sheriff’s Dispatch), the City of Canton and the Regional Emergency Dispatch (RED)  Center in Western Stark County operated by LOGIC (Local Organized Government in Cooperation), which is a Council of Governments of Western Stark County political subdivisions. 

As initially proposed, the Stark County Sheriff, Canton and the Red Center will pay one-third each of all maintenance and other operational costs; any other participating political subdivisions (through their dispatch center) would pay a prorated share of those costs based on population serviced or some other agreed upon formula, which share would then reduce the share of the initial 3 participants. 

The CAD as proposed is a state of the art system and will remain state of the art via updates as long as the maintenance contracts are kept in place. Again, the cost of acquisition of the CAD is being paid by Stark County; and it is anticipated that the costs of this maintenance agreement, when shared by all, should significantly reduce existing CAD maintenance costs for most all entities.

Participation in the new CAD is not in any manner conditioned upon mandated consolidation or elimination of any existing dispatch centers.  We simply want every dispatch center that wants to, to have access to this great resource.

If your political subdivision or the dispatch center that dispatches for you has any interest in participating in the CAD and/or arranging a more detailed meeting on the subject, please contact Commissioner Tom Bernabei (330-451-7368) or Project Manager Joe Concatto (330-806-9770.) 

Thank you.


Thomas M. Bernabei
President, Stark County Board of Commissioners

The combined Canton Communications Center, Sherff's Dispatch Center and Regional Dispatch Center should be up and running in about nine (9) months.

It could be that once those outside the county centralized dispatch system see how well it is working and the minimal costs (very minimal if all Stark County agencies of government participate)

An excellent example of:  "Build it and they will come," perhaps?

For only when all of Stark County is united under the umbrella of the newly purchased CAD system, will the work of the likes of Bosley, Gonzalez, Concatto, Bernabei be vindicated!

And if it is, Stark Countians and anyone traveling through the county will benefit with first rate emergency services.

Here is RED Center director Mark Busto speaking to that particular matter.


Complete video of Concatto presentation to the Stark County commissioners.

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