DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
"[W]e [HUD - Housing & Urban Development; a federal agency of U.S. government] have concerns about [Massillon's] capacity to manage the CDBG Program."
As The Stark County Political Report reads "two letters of concern" from HUD to Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry director of Economic Development Larry Marcus (cc: the mayor), because of three findings on an annual audit by HUD of the administration's handling of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) monies (paid from federal tax dollars), Massillon could be setting itself up to lose approximately $600,000 annually of such funds.
An extract from one of the letters is The Report's source for how much money may be at stake.
As it is, Massillon has agreed to pay some $34,000 plus from the city's financially strapped General Fund.
- SCPR Note: Massillon is under State of Ohio imposed "fiscal emergency" status as of October, 2013 as a consequence of the mayor's initiative earlier in 2013,
- On August 3, 2015 the Massillon Financial and Supervision Commission which includes the mayor as a voting member meets to consider a revised financial restoration plan after several failures of the mayor and the Commission to agree with Massillon City Council's submissions)
Economic Development Director Marcus bore the brunt of HUD's criticism.
Marcus was hired by Catazaro-Perry a little over a year ago.
Here is a 3:45 interview the SCPR did with him after a Stark County commissioners meeting that he attended to let the commissioners know that he was in charge of economic development in Massillon.
Don't know about SCPR readers, especially Massillon readers, but yours truly thinks that the potential loss of $600,000 plus in federal CDBG dollars and having to pay back $34,097 for administration misdeed is "a really big dealy!"
But try as The Report may, yours truly cannot find "nary a word" on the HUD negative audit being reported by the Canton/Massillon mainstream media.
Maybe its there and the SCPR is an unskilled researcher.
Nor is a word to be found in the Catazaro-Perry shill blog - The Massillon Review.
As Stark Countians have come to learn, only The Stark County Political Report can be relied up to publish these stories with any degree of reliability.
The Canton Repository and The Massillon Independent miss so, so much of really "important to citizens" stories.
In this instance, The Report figures that recipient entities of CDBG monies funneled through Massillon government may be just a tad concerned that their source of federal financial help may be interrupted if the Catazaro-Perry administrations does not get its act together, to wit:
All of the communications used as source material are included at the end of this blog for readers to ascertain "on their own" whether or not the SCPR's alarm bells are merited.
For those readers who do not want to take the time to go through of some 14 pages of the HUD/Massillon exchanges of communications, the SCPR offers this analysis.
A summary and analysis of the first HUD audit findings letter (May 19, 2015) to Director Marcus follows. (Note: a reminder. What follows are "extracts" from the letters of parts that the SCPR thinks gets to "the heart of the matter.")
This last statement, "pretty 'dire' language," no?
Though yours truly promised an analysis, what is there to analyze?
Pretty clear, no?
Marcus may be doing and his administrative assistant may be doing an effective job otherwise (though one certainly has to wonder), but not on CDBG matters.
And guess "where the buck stops?"
Of course, with Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.
Though the audit took place in March, its results did not become known until after the May 5, 2015 Democratic Primary election..
Nor did the snafu in spending of over $100,000 in asphalt for road repairs become known until after the election.
Is there any doubt that had both matters come out beforehand that we would now be looking at the prospect of either a Mayor J. David Ress or Mayor Lee Brunckhart come November 5th and there would not be the prospect of a re-match of Cicchinelli/Catazaro-Perry?
In fact, it appears to the SCPR that the Catzaro-Perry administration has not heeded the mandate of HUD on publicizing the result of the March audit, to wit:
It appears to The Report that yours truly's source (J. David Ress, http://www.mymassillon.blogspot.com/) had to obtain the documents published below from HUD.
If it still exists, bet the negative HUD audit report has not appeared in the Catazaro-Perry focused "City of Champions" magazine.
The HUD communications and the bungled asphalt over purchase matter are likely to play big - along with a number of other administration screw-ups - in the November election.
Whether the candidate is "independent" Frank Cicchinelli or Republican Lee Brunckhart or both; it is looking more and more like Kathy Catazaro-Perry is on her last "political" legs.
The promised "full" copies of the document referred to above.
HUD LETTER #1
HUD LETTER #2
MARCUS LETTER #1
MARCUS LETTER #2