Does the sun ever shine in North Canton?
Of course! How else could the city be dubbed "The Dogwood City?
Just not in the chambers of North Canton City Council nor within the law director's office in city hall located at 145 North Main Street in the heart of the city at Maple Street and North Main.
Undoubtedly, North Canton was in full bloom with American flags at its recently held Memorial Day activities.
Properly and fittingly honoring those who gave "their last full measure" preserving and protecting the unparalleled freedoms we Americans enjoy in our cherished democratic-republican system of government better than 225 years ago.
Tragically, it does not seem that the spirit of Memorial Day seeps into the confines located at 145 North Main.
A week past Memorial Day, 2015; North Canton City Council passed an ordinance described by The Repository's Robert Wang (North Canton City Council, meeting of June 1) thusly:
Approved a new Personal Information Policy that Councilman Dan Griffith, at-large, said would allow for the discipline of city employees who release private, personal information contrary to state law.
Law Director Tim Fox said former Councilman Chuck Osborne has made a public-records request for the names and addresses of everyone who has purchased a Dogwood Pool pass [last] year.
He said the policy is necessary to help prevent a city employee from releasing information about minors with pool passes, which state law allows a city to decline to release. (restructured for ease of readability)
Seems to the SCPR that the law as yet another move by unelected Law Director Tim Fox endorsed by elected council members to blot the sun of transparency from the skyline of North Canton.
Osborne, who is a candidate for the Ward 3 seat of council,
- currently held by Republican Stephanie Werren,
- wife of appointed Canton Municipal Court judge Curtis Werren, and also
- recently appointed as director of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Stark County)
- one of seven councilpersons voting for the Councilman Dan Griffith (Republican-at-Large) initiative
If North Canton Council members and Director Fox had one "come let's reason together" bone in their respective bodies, then they would extend government processes to accommodate Osborne's request and still protect that which needs to be protected.
Fox, Griffith and the rest of council can talk about preventing/disciplining the release of:
- private, personal information contrary to state law,
- information about minors
the legislation and the denial of Osborne's request.
The Report has written numerous blogs about North Canton City Council as being Stark County's most antagonistic deliberative body vis-a-vis its constituent public.
Recently yours truly designated members Dan "Jeff" Peters (as seventh worst):
- a Ward 2 Republican and president of council
- a council-at-large Republican
- long term since the early 2000s
- except for the 2005-2007 term
As The Report sees the situation, Fox is doing what is expected of him by at least a majority of council member (that being four members) and that his dominance in North Canton government is a consequence of an abrogation by council of their responsibility in North Canton "strong council" form of local government to control the unelected administrative processes of the city's government so as to ensure that those processes are:
- transparent, and
Last night's action is additional evidence of North Canton Council's hostility towards any citizen of the city that wants a full measure of democratic-republican enhancing government made available.
Only when some (preferably four) of the seven are replaced, can North Cantonians expect a re-emergence of democratic-republican values in North Canton government.