Tuesday, August 4, 2015


As The Stark County Political Report's only county political subdivision mayor deemed worthy by yours truly to be on the initial SCPR "Top 10 List" (List) of elected officials, Alan Andreani returns to the List for this quarter but elevated one spot to #8.

His elevation is based on an unusual factor for the SCPR.

Andreani advances for his role in persuading former Alliance City Schools superintendent Arthur Garnes to take on Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (the Alliance member of the committee) Alliance City Council president appointee Steve Okey in the November election.

Okey, as the SCPR predicted he would be, has been a major disruptive force in council's proceedings on what The Report thinks has been based on nothing but sheer politics to make Steve Okey look good.

Okey appears to think he is smarter than everybody else in the world in trying to clothe his disruptive activity on being for:
  • having Sunshine prevail in Alliance City Council government, and
  • having council legislate in a "Constitutional" manner
The SCPR is all for Sunshine and Constitutionality in government at all levels and generally sympathetic to the like of Okey.

In fact, The Report blogged that he did the politically right thing in insisting that Alliance City Council clean up it voting procedures on certain questions that came before council.

However, though he did the right thing, the SCPR thinks his motives were anything but high-minded "for political Sunshine" and "for legislative Constitutionality."

It is painfully obvious to yours truly that Steve Okey is one the most blatantly political public officials in all of Stark County.

Folks like Okey do great deal of damage to the general public's confidence in the integrity of our democratic-republican system of government in which the expectation is that our officials be about what is good for the general welfare of the citizenry and not primarily about personal political advancement.

In the "for Sunshine thing," The Report thinks his lawsuit against Alliance City Council - on the wacky and out of sync with transparency in government council voting procedures on some issues - was designed to embarrass Councilman Larry Dordea who was then a Republican candidate for sheriff of Stark County against Okey Democratic political ally George T. Maier.

In the "for Constitutionality thing," yours truly thinks the effort was an example of disjointed Okey thinking which in his own mind would make him a political Sir Galahad of sorts and thereby make him more likely to retain his seat as Alliance City Council in his upcoming challenge from Republican Arthur Garnes in November.

Yours truly may have more in common with the likes of Okey than the opposite side of the fence on political point of view basis but not on the ethical dimension.

Okey, The Report assesses, thinks all to well of himself as a politico which leads to an arrogance which causes him to think he can run roughshod (like some of his political allies) over others.

Alliance Republican elected officials (and, perhaps a Democrat or two) led by Mayor Andreani are through elective processes consummately committed to replacing Okey with Garnes.

And the SCPR thinks that Andreani who defeated Okey in the November, 2011 mayoralty race and is running unopposed (a phenomenon that yours truly does not like) is exactly the person to spearhead the effort to put Okey on the Alliance political sidelines once again.

Okey could be a constructive "loyal opposition" public official but apparently does not have it in him to put politics in its proper perspective and work for the public good as opposed to what The Report thinks is his perception of his personal political advantage.

As impliedly mentioned above, The Report is uncomfortable using a political factor as a basis for an elected official being on and in fact elevated on the List.

That the SCPR is willing to do so, speaks volumes of how harmful yours truly thinks Okey and his political ilk are in turning average citizens off on our cherished democratic-republican system of government.

So thank you Mayor Andreani for taking up the charge to put Okey on the political sidelines in The Carnation City.

It is difficult to see how Okey survives an all out Republican effort to remove him from Alliance elective office.

Of course, there is much, much more the Alan Andreani than his opposition to Steve Okey.

Back on April 1, 2015, this is what the SCPR had to say about him in selecting him as the only Stark County based mayor on the initial "Top 10 List."

Today's blog is on Alliance's Mayor Alan Andreani.

As readers will note, the first quarterly SCPR Stark County Top 10 Leaders List is dominated by councilpersons.

So it is with some degree of relief that The Report today includes on the List a municipal chief executive.

Of Stark County's major city (Alliance, Canton, Massillon and North Canton) only Alan Andreani of Alliance merits selection.

He ranks first on Stark's major city mayors with the rest following far behind in terms of being anywhere near the Top 10 List but on a relative basis just in "the mayor category" William J. Healy, II of Canton second, David Held of North Canton third and Kathy Catazaro-Perry bringing up the rear as being, in the assessment of the SCPR, an inept mayor.

Healy is improving but Held and Catazaro-Perry seem to have no chance whatsoever of ever gracing the Top 10 List.

In his own words, from the Alliance city government website, Alan Andreani describes himself:

I became Mayor of the City of Alliance January 1, 2012.

(a SCPR insert)
(apparently, to be unopposed in 2015)

Prior to my public service to the City of Alliance, I was the superintendent of the Marlington Local Schools and also held other leadership and administrative positions with the school for twenty-two years including assistant superintendent, elementary and secondary curriculum director, business manager, high school principal, and Washington Elementary principal.Before entering the administrative roles I served as a science instructor at Marlington High School.

Following my career in public education I became an adjunct professor at the University of Mount Union. During my ten years there I served in the Department of Education where I taught a variety of courses as well as supervising student teachers.

I was appointed to Alliance City Council in February of 2004 when the Honorable Dixie Park was appointed Stark County Probate Judge. I was re-elected three times to the Council-at-Large position where I served as the Chairman of City Council’s Safety and Judiciary Committee and as a member of the Finance and Utilities Committees.

My education training includes a doctorate in educational leadership from Youngstown State University.I also received a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters degree from Kent State University. I am a graduate of Alliance High School.

I am honored to continue my family’s tradition of service to our hometown as its Mayor. My family has been blessed to live and work in this community for many decades. I look forward to continuing the progress of the past and to lead Alliance to a prosperous future.

It was not long after becoming mayor that Andreani faced a fiscal crisis somewhat similar to Massillon's.  However, this chief executive has had the wherewithal to keep Alliance from being named by the State of Ohio Auditor's Office as being in fiscal emergency.

For he not playing politics with the future of the city by setting himself as being some sort of savior figure as The Report thinks Massillon's mayor (Kathy Catazaro-Perry) is doing in billing herself as coming to the financial/fiscal rescue of a city that she herself pushed the state officials into designating as being in fiscal emergency and thereby humiliating the once proud city of Massillon.

And make no mistake about it, Alliance is stressed financially and fiscally.

But Alliance's skillful CEO, a Republican, is working with the Democrats and his fellow Republicans on council (a body he was one a member of) to steer Alliance through the crisis which was pretty much the doing of the State of Ohio.

The SCPR thinks that Alliance's problems are largely the results of huge state funding cuts to local governments (i.e. dramatic cuts in "local government funds," the elimination of the estate tax and the like) with the election of Republican governor John Kasich in 2010 (reelected in 2014) and the lopsided Republican controlled Ohio General Assembly.

Back in October, 2013 the SCPR spoke with Andreani, Councilman Larry Dordea and Alliance's auditor Kevin Knowles about an impending levy.

Unfortunately for Alliance, the levy failed in the November, 2013 election.

Different from Massillon's Mayor Kathy, Mayor Andreani had not engaged Alliance City Council in "a blame game."

Rather he presented and continues to present a different model.

He has worked diligently with Alliance City Council to steer Alliance through the tough fiscal times brought on by the Republicans in charge in the Ohio State House.

If Andreani is to be faulted for anything, it is his apparent failure to get the faces of fellow Republicans Kasich and Stark County Republican members of the Ohio General Assembly (namely, Scott Oelslager, Kirk Schuring and Christina Hagan [of Marlboro Township and who represents Alliance]) jawboning them to restore state monies to localities such as Alliance.

Normally, the SCPR is bullish on the likes of Steve Okey (a Democrat) being part of the political mix in a given community as an accountability factor on government especially when the government is the captive of the opposite political party as is the case with Republicans controlling the executive branch of Alliance government.

However, The Report trusts in the case of Okey that Alliance voters will see fit to remove him from being president of Alliance City Council.

Democrat Sue Ryan a councilperson for a number of terms in Alliance would have been a much better choice for the presidency in terms of not letting politics been a factor in the function of the office.

Being the consummate politico the SCPR thinks he is, Okey who the SCPR thinks engaged in some major political arm twisting with the aid of former Stark County Dems chairmen Johnnie A. Maier, Jr and more recently Randy Gonzalez, "snatched victory from the jaws of defeat" at the last moment when about a year ago Okey wrestled the Alliance Dems' Central Committee appointment to replace longtime president John Benincasa who had passed away away from Ryan.

Almost immediately, as the SCPR predicted he would do; Okey engaged a confrontation with Alliance City Council over the manner in which council voted (unsigned ballots) on certain issue.  It was an issue that he filed a lawsuit against council on a motivation (The Report thinks) to embarrass Republican councilman Larry Dordea in his race against Okey political protege George T. Maier for sheriff of Stark County.

While the SCPR agrees that council's manner of voting was unacceptable in our democratic-republican form of government; a seemingly politically inspired Steve Okey who had participated in the very same unacceptable procedure as a councilman himself nor his political sycophant friend Derek Loy were hardly the appropriate persons to push the issue.

Some good citizen of Alliance who was not into partisan politics for political advantage needed to step forward and demand that the practice stop and stop immediately.

So it was heartwarming to learn that Mayor Andreani went out a recruited a former popular Alliance superintendent of schools to run against Okey for the council presidency.

The recruit, Arthur Garnes, as a longtime educator, as is Andreani, is much more suited to keep politics in their proper place than is the highly politicized Okey.

While Okey has been on his best behavior ever since his confrontation with council (which resulted in his being censored by council) back in June, 2014.

However, the SCPR's take is that should Okey be elected; he would take same to be license to become a partisan troublemaker on council.

Again, to say.   Folks like Okey can be important assets to keep government accountable.  But the SCPR doesn't think Okey has the self-discipline to keep political factors on the back burner.

In recruiting Garnes, Andreani may have spared Alliance residents having to endure pitched battles between the presidential chair, the rest of council and the chief executive of the city.

For the forgoing reasons, the SCPR sees Alan Andreani as the ONLY Stark County major city mayor deserving of being #9 on the SCPR's Stark County Top 10 Leadership List.

No comments: