Last Monday (March 23, 2015), The Stark County Political Report started a new feature: Stark County Top 10 Leaders.
On a quarterly basis, The Report plans on ranking Stark County's political subdivision (villages, cities, township and boards of education) leadership in terms of the "Top 10."
See previous blogs in this series for the particulars of how the quarterly "Top 10" blogs will be constituted, revised and what the timetable is for publication. (reference: the Tom Bernabei blog)
And, of course, to see the SCPR's presentations on:
- Stark County's #1 leader; namely, Stark County Commissioner Thomas M. Bernabei, and
- Stark County's #2 leader; namely, Massillon Councilwoman Nancy Halter,
- Stark County's #3 leader; namely, Canton Councilman Edmond Mack,
- Stark County's #4 leader; namely, Stark County Auditor Alan Harold,
- Stark County's #5 leader; namely, Stark County Treasurer Alex Zumbar,
- Stark County's #6 leader; namely, Canton City Councilman Richard Hart,
- Stark County #7 leader; namely, Alliance City Councilwoman Julie Jakmides,
By The Stark County Political Report's assessment, Paul Manson is the glue who holds the coalition of Democrats (who currently are in a majority on Massillon City Council) and Republicans who are committed to functioning as a "check and balance" on Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry together.
Recently, The Report was in conversation with a Republican member of council who backed off on taking a position on a SCPR question out of regard for and sensitivity to the Democrats inasmuch as they are in the majority.
The SCPR thinks that the reluctance was due in large measure to the high degree of respect the Republicans have for the dean of the Democrats; namely, Paul Manson.
Paul has been on council 12 years (as of the end of 2015) having first been elected in 2003.
He did run in 2001 and came very close to unseating Republican Jim Filhour in that election.
This November he seeks his 7th straight election victory.
But things are just a tad changed.
In 2003 his election that Democrats held all of Massillon's at-large seats through successive elections until the win of Republican Milan Chovan in 2011.
The 2015 election outcome could result in a "difficult to keep harmony" scenario developing on Massillon's council.
The problem will not come in an at-large council race.
The Report figures Manson to win along with Republicans Chovan and Ed Lewis.
Mind you in 2003, it was Manson and two other Democrats.
So while it is ironic that two Republicans are likely to win at-large in a largely Democratic predominant voter registration city; Chovan and Lewis have shown that they work comfortably with Manson and most of his fellow Democrats.
There appears to be virtually no chance that Republicans will regain control of council.
Moreover, it seems likely that a Maier Massillon Political Machine (MMPM) allied person could be elected this fall in Ward 2.
And the MMPM folks could make Ward 1 and Ward 6 interesting. On the other hand, the SCPR thinks that MMPM ally Shaddrick Stinson is vulnerable not only in November's general election but also in the Democratic primary.
If Stinson survives this time around, the SCPR will be surprised. This time there will be no Frank Cicchinelli to the rescue like there was in 2013.
If the MMPM is successful in electing a couple of their own to council, look for the coalition (likely still to be a majority) to be challenged by two or three councilpersons who see council's role to more of a "let's be handmaidens of the mayor" than a separation powers "check and balance" function unit.
It will take a strong Democratic leader like Paul Manson to could the "check and balance" coalition together.
The SCPR thinks Manson is a strong, respected leader and will be able to hold the coalition together.
Manson's leadership skills and his demonstrated willingness to "reach across the aisle" and work with the Republicans (both during the 2012-2013 term of council in which they were in control and in the past one-year-and-one-half that the Dems have been in controls is the primary reason that the SCPR selects him as #8 leader on the Stark County Top 10 List.
One of Manson's shining moments occurred on July 14, 2014 when he gaveled down a out-of-control Mayor Kathy as she accused council of being racists and sexists in trying to exercise fiscal control on the hiring being done.
The has received over 1,700 viewings as of today.
To capture Catazaro-Perry's intemperate outburst go to the 9:49 mark of the video.
The SCPR sees Manson working with Republican Ed Lewis, the de facto leader of the Republicans on council, notwithstanding tighter numbers, to ensure that Massillon returns to economic and financial health on a solid and sustainable foundation.
The foregoing capsulizes why Paul Manson is deserving of being the SCPR's Stark County #8 ranking leader from among county political subdivisions.
Next up for tomorrow's blog, #9 leader.
Hint: Tomorrow's leader undoubted wears a carnation in this suit lapel.