Thursday, June 11, 2015


UPDATE: 08:55 AM



No member on Massillon City Council has told The Stark County Political Report that she/he sees Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry as Massillon Public Enemy No. 1 in terms of solving the city fiscal crisis.

But in terms of having an aggressive "no-question-about-it" attitude "we absolutely need to have this tax issue pass;" the mayor has been "missing-in-action" and consequently is - the SCPR thinks - council's number one problem (a more euphemistic term than "enemy") in coming up with a restoration plan that is "reasonably certain of implementation."

Council is clearly frustrated with the non-existent (if not hostile), anemic levy efforts on the part of Catazaro-Perry since she has been mayor.

Take a look at the following segment video of Monday night's work session, part of which was devoted to discussing putting together a revised Massillon fiscal restoration plan.

  • SCPR Note:  the most disturbing aspect of Monday's meeting as shown in the above video excerpt is Councilman Paul Mansion reference to the pettiness of the mayor and Council president Tony Townsend (both members of the Commission) in terms of who was not to be allowed to serve on a committee to secure passage of a tax issue designed to provide critically needed additional revenue to city government coffers
    • SCPR Note:  the entire video of Monday's work session on the restoration plan discussion is accessible at the end of this blog.
Reasonably certain of implementation" is the standard that members of the Massillon Financial Planning and Supervision Commission (Commission) hung their collective hats on in rejecting the joint mayor/council restoration at his May meeting.

Amazingly enough, nobody (at the last Commission meeting) looked in the eye of "the elephant in the room" (i.e. Mayor Catazaro-Perry) and said:  "Mayor, when are you going to get off your duff and go all out on a levy effort!"

That wouldn't be polite, would it?

But it might be effective in putting heat on Catazaro-Perry to stop the political infighting with council's majority and get on with the business doing what is good for Massillon over her personal political interest to keep stirring the pot, no?

Over the seven plus years that The Report has covered her stint as a Massillon councilperson (Ward 3, 2006 - 2011) and mayor (2012 - 2015 ?), she has proved in spades to The Report that she is "in over her head" as a public official and cannot function without instructions from the Maier Massillon Political Machine.

Consequently, just on May 22nd she was named the SCPR's fourth worst elected public official for the first quarterly reporting cycle on this inaugural edition (2015) of The Report bottom 10 Stark County political subdivision elected officials.

But she does have her supporters.

A top level Stark County elected official in a recent conversation with the SCPR talked about how awesome Catazaro-Perry is in championing the cause of learning disabled children.

And her on bio on the Massillon City mayor's page shows an impressive list of civic accomplishments, to wit:

So clearly Catazaro-Perry has her societal talents.

Unfortunately for her and to the distress of many Massillonians, she does not have adequate political/governmental ability.

Over the years of the SCPR's blogging, yours truly has made excuses for her in assigning her troubles to not being who she truly is but rather what Massillon political operatives Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman and current elected Massillon clerk of courts) and R. Shane Jackson (Maier's chief deputy and the political director of the Stark Dems) think she ought to be.

Now that she is nearing the end of her term as mayor (likely her only one), The Report thinks that there is no more room for excuses and that she now owns her identity as mayor all on her own.

For four years now, she has blamed former Mayor Frank Cicchinelli (whom she defeated in the Democratic primary of May, 2011) for "all that ails" Massillon.

On several points, the SCPR agrees that Cicchinell has been deserving of criticism and blame for placing Massillon in a less than stable government foundation.

For instance, his aggressive annexation posture was - in the view of the SCPR - a short-term quick fix for immediate cash flow that did not adequately account for the costs associated with annexing residential type areas.

About the only annexation that Cicchinelli did that was a "no-brainer" from Massillon's fiscal self-interest standpoint was the R.G. Drage Center.

A cash flow bonanza that entailed very little additional servicing cost on Massillon taxpayers.

A second Cicchinelli favorite was to budget in Massillon obligations without having certifications in the hope that the money would be there when the obligations matured at or near the end of the budgeting cycle.

The Report thinks it is axiomatic that "it ain't no way" to run a city or any other fiscally responsible entity.

With Cicchinelli out as mayor and Catazaro-Perry in, those two items have lost their relevancy as excuses for the current mayor not getting the job done as are a number of other Cicchinelli policies/projects and therefore the blame game is over for Mayor Kathy.

Having gone over recent times' political history of Massillon, it is now time for Massillonians to hold Catazaro-Perry accountable for not being a helpful and cooperative with Massillon City Council in resolving the fiscal emergency status that she generated in the first place.

Immediately below are a few links to a few of the many, many past SCPR blogs which:

  • detail the movement towards,
  • the determination by the State of Ohio Auditor's office that Massillon qualified on Catazaro-Perry's lobbying to wear the dubious distinction of being in fiscal emergency though qualifying only on one of six criteria that being a mild cash flow problem, and 
  • the effort by council to deal with the consequences of the mayor's quest, to wit:
One of the main points of discussion at council's work session on Monday (and, seemingly, at many, many council meetings going back to the onset of the Catazaro-Perry administration) is the dire condition of Massillon's streets and roadways and the equipment needed to service the city's thoroughfares.

This is, again, an example of Catazaro-Perry being "the elephant in the room."

As reported by Massillon Independent reporter - at the time - Matt Rink (now on the editorial board of The Repository), in an article entitled Political shots fly at council meeting (May 13, 2008); the-then councilwoman (Ward 3) in her inimitable bulldog face style stood by her clearly harmful to the quality of Massillon streets and highways opposition to Massillon getting more money to construct, repair and maintain the city's asphalt arteries, to wit: (an extract)

Mayor Frank Cicchinelli, while assessing the city’s budget, pushed Councilwoman Kathy Catazaro-Perry’s buttons when he told council it lacked the foresight to increase the license-plate fee four years ago.

That’s when he told council that the city would be richer – about $157,500 by a 2007 estimate in The Independent – had some members enacted the fee in 2004, before Stark County Engineer Mike Rehfus got to it last year.

“The political aspect of it killed it,” he said. “There were three or four residents that came out against it. ... I’m not here to say I told you so, but what you have to understand is the $5 we were proposing really didn’t amount to too much. Now our citizens are paying an additional $10 and we are only getting $2.50 of that.”

In 1987, the city imposed the first $5 allowed by law. When it attempted to raise it by $5 in 2004, the measure failed. Catazaro-Perry was one of the members who voted against it. She said Monday she continues to stand by her vote.

Cicchinelli said the increase was defeated because of “the politics (Catazaro-Perry) specifically played concerning that, the politics you absolutely played because two or three people told you they were against it.”  (large print emphasis added)

“We told you at that time the county was going to increase it,” he added. “It fell on deaf ears.”

The mayor said the revenue from a city-enacted license fee would have generated thousands more than any revenue generated from allowing businesses to set up shop on the south side of Lincoln Way East.

So there you have it folks!

Massillon is out hundreds of thousands of dollars if not better than $1 million in funds to deal with her roads, streets and highways cumulatively over the past 10 years or so because of the Catazaro-Perry led fight not to advantage the city with additional license plates fees, no?

Moreover, she has been lukewarm if not hostile to raising sorely needed revenues for the city and she as councilperson led the opposition to a windfall opportunity for more streets and highway maintenance money because of the the opposition of whom?

The SCPR thinks Cicchinelli was referring to Catazaro-Perry political mentors Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., and R. Shane Jackson (Massillon clerk of courts and deputy clerk of courts and Stark Dems' political activists).

Considering the foregoing, hasn't the SCPR made the case for the mayor being Massillon's major liability.

Council has met the enemy (i.e. problem) and it is not some outside factor or former mayor; it is the city's current mayor.

The mayor has met the enemy and all she has to do is to look in the mirror.

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