Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Last week "the roof fell in" on Massillon.

For "true" Massillonians, the most devastating thing had to be the annihilation of the Tiger football team on Friday last:  56 Perrysburg, 7 Massillon.

Things were so bad that the Massillon superintendent of schools apparently couldn't take any more and left in the 3rd quarter.

And it wasn't long after that he announced that the highly successful football coach was fired.  A coach who was the second most winning coach in all the glory of Massillon Tiger football.

Those of us who live outside of Massillon instantly think "football" when Massillon is mentioned.

Though the Massillon "football" Tigers are never, ever likely to be the Tigers of the Paul Brown era ever again; football will be repaired and "hope springs eternal" will once again be "the heart throb" of the "true" Tiger fans.

One Massillon City Council person did tell the SCPR that the days of Massillon football glory are over and the fanatics (the SCPR's word) will just have the deal with "the new realities."

Another person who has trouble dealing with "the new realities" in Massillon is Mayor Katherine Catazaro-Perry.

Mayor Kathy is one of those "splash and dash" politicians who dot the Stark County government/political landscape who the SCPR thinks has very little substance and consequently is not a match for the daunting problems which currently plague Massillon city government.

So what does one do?

Go into denial?

Maybe she has been spoofing Massillonians all along.

Look at this chart that she had placed in the glossy public relations quarterly.

And view this video of long term Councilman Paul Manson (Democrat, at-large) as he says he now has reports that the deficit Massillon now faces is not $2.6 million, not $1.1 million (see April 4, 2014 SCPR blog), but rather $700,000.

  • From the October 17, 2013 SCPR blog:
    • The SCPR is being told that Massillon's unions are doing their own audit of Massillon's books and are reporting that the deficit is not the reported $2.4 million

While she was spouting her $2.6 million stuff, the SCPR alone of all Stark County media wrote questioning the validity of her number.

Before she became mayor, she wrote the State of Ohio auditor asking that "the once great city of Massillon" be placed in fiscal emergency.

This move rather obviously was designed to make former mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr "the fall guy" for all the troubles that Massllion and every other Stark County city is facing as a consequence of drastic State of Ohio local government funding cuts.

Catazaro-Perry  took Cicchinelli on and defeated him in the May, 2011 Democratic primary as the candidate of Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr (a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman and long time antagonist to Cicchinelli) who, in the estimate of the SCPR should be billed as Massilon's "co-mayor."

So maybe she has been (on the advice and instruction of Maier and his appendage R. Shane Jackson [Johnnie's chief flunky err deputy) gaming Masillonians with "phony-baloney" financial numbers all along during her three years as mayor and the voting Massillon public has figured that out in twice defeating an income tax.

It is appearing more and more that her game plan all along since (actually as mayor-elect) becoming mayor has been to paint a bleaker picture than she knew to be the case so that she could appear at re-election time (next year) to have been a managerial wizard of sorts and brought Massillon from the dire to nearly break even.

And in the process she - in her and Johnnie's mind -  will have played Massillon City Council for being "the fool" in taking her seriously.

Catazaro-Perry and Maier may find out soon that the fools are not the city council folks at all but the two of them.

With the failure of the latest levy effort which Mayor KCP only gave lukewarm support to (having outright opposed the first levy effort), it appears that there is no way to make up even a $700,000 deficit and that the city department of governments may be looking at 15% across-the-board cuts which will be the equivalent to "cutting into the bone" of the provision of city services and will be felt by rank-and-file citizens in virtually every aspect of what Massillon does; not just police and fire.

Relations (see the Manson video above) between the mayor and council continue to deteriorate.

Catazaro-Perry has not attended Committee of the Whole work sessions for some time.

If Catazaro-Perry and Maier are gaming council, they will find one thing, after another thing, after another to "go to war" with council over in order to make council appear to be the culprit come the elections of 2015.

To the SCPR, Catazaro-Perry and Maier are into political gamesmanship, pure and simple and, of course, the citizens of Massillon are the real victims.

If Cicchinelli decides to take her on in the May, 2015 Democratic primary; undoubtedly, she will say that a return to Cichinelli will be the pathway to insolvency.

In such an eventuality, should she win; the SCPR thinks that she is looking at facing Republican Councilman Ed Lewis, IV in the general election.

She will once again attempt to scapegoat.

She and Lewis have been at each other from time-to-time over the past three years and she will drag those confrontations up as evidence that council's voting majority (following Lewis' lead) are to blame for Massillon's troubles.

Never mind that she is the one who lashed out at council (not an uncommon phenomenon) and even called council racists for questioning the financial underpinnings of the Dwan St. John hiring.

The essence of this blog is that the SCPR sees co-mayors Catazaro-Perry and Maier playing it "every which way."

On the one hand, in her glossy Massillon Magazine she portrays the city as coming out of the difficult times.

Look at what she wrote in the Fall 2014 Massillon Magazine:

  • I began my term as Massillon’s mayor in 2012, we started with a token carryover of only $416.79 in our general fund, and inherited $2.6 million dollars of unpaid bills. Massillon was in serious financial trouble as a result of habitual deficit spending, and our city had been going deeper into debt for five consecutive years. As we conclude my third year in office, Massillon has made great strides in lowering that debt.  Our city is on the right track and headed towards financial recovery.This did not come easily. We made tough decisions, cut spending, and created the change necessary so our city grows and is able to best serve our residents. Massillon is moving forward again. There is still much work to be done ... .
But the reality,  as the SCPR sees it, is that such is the equivalent to Mister Rogers' "Make Believe."

Massillon was once the City of Champions.

Nowadays it appears that those days are long gone and, whether Catazaro-Perry realizes it or not, Massillon these days is a city of "troubles, troubles & more troubles" much of which is the making of an intransigent mayoralty.

She is a "my way or the highway" type person just like her mentor and co-mayor Johnie A. Maier, Jr.

The end game for anything Maier touches, as the SCPR sees it, is for his personal political aggrandizement.

It is hard to see how the "do it my way, or else" and personal political benefit game plan gets Massillon truly on the rebound.

On Monday night a number of issues came up:

  • some discussion of the levy failure, the 2015 budget and the path going forward,
  • Councilwoman Michelle Del Rio-Keller's work on resolving what to do to make The Legends golf course a profit making activity,
  • the location/relocation of the Massillon Health Department, and
  • the Massillon Municipal Court's (represented at the meeting by Judge C. Roland Centrone) dicey relationship with council
The SCPR has extensive video to share with SCPR readers on these troubling issues that Massillon faces.

Accordingly, this introductory blog is billed as "Part 1."

Additional parts will be published in coming days to cover all the Monday night discussions.

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