The Republican "bad blood" directed towards Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee (Alliance) appointee Steve Okey as president of Alliance City Council is running hot these days.
On paper, Okey has a very impressive rèsumè.
From Stephanie Ujhelyi's article Garnes Challenges Okey for Alliance Council Presidency (Alliance Review, October 7th):
Okey, 53, is president of both the Okey Law Firm and Ohio Patient Advocates, which are based in Canton. He served as an Alliance at large councilman from 2006 to 2012, then took a break from city government service after losing the mayoral job to Alan Andreani.
An attorney for 28 years, he is a lector and eucharistic minister at Regina Coeli Catholic Church and serves as president of Coming Together Stark County and the Alliance Area Democratic Club. Memberships also include the University of Akron School of Law Alumni Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Ohio Association for Justice and the Stark County Bar Association. He also formerly sat on the Alliance Neighborhood Center board of trustees from 2003 to 2007, serving as president in 2006-2007.As is Garnes (age 67, a retired superintendent of the Alliance City Schools), to wit:
A former Rotarian of the Year, Garnes is a member of the Alliance Rotary Club; Alliance Area Senior Center, where he served as a past president; the Alliance for Children and Families board of trustees; and the Alliance Area Red Cross and Salvation Army boards. He possesses a master's degree in education from Kent State University and a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Union.It seems to the SCPR that the qualities of the two candidates will not be the primary focus of their respective campaigns.
But rather the key will be whether Alliance's voters want an activist president (the Okey model) or one who sees the role of president of council being that of a facilitator (the Garnes model).
And as set forth in the first paragraph of this blog, add "bad blood" between certain members of council and Okey.
Especially Ward 3 councilman Larry Dordea and Councilwoman at Large Julie Jakimedes, both Republicans. The GOP duo were prime movers in two separate council censures of Okey as president of council; one in 2014 and one this year.
While the council presidential contest is not the only contested office in Alliance this year, it certainly is the one which is commanding most of the attention of Alliance's politicos.
Had the Alliance Stark Dems appointed Alliance Democratic Councilwoman at Large Sue Ryan, the SCPR thinks it is likely that she would be running unopposed.
Councilwoman Ryan had been promised by a majority of the Alliance precinct persons that they would be voting for her in April, 2014 when the vote took place.
The Report wrote at the time that Ryan was politically naive to believe that there would not be a lot of political arm twisting applied by the likes of then Stark Dems' chairman Randy Gonzalez and that she was likely in for a big surprise when the voter actually took place.
Ryan in June of this year did have an opportunity for comeuppance on Okey when he created a controversy in refusing to approve by signature legislation passed by council on his assertion that the ordinance was unconstitutional.
And who thinks that Ryan (not seeking reelection) a Democrat like Okey will be supporting Okey for "election" as council president?
As instance of "what goes around, comes around," no?
Ryan, the SCPR thinks, is vastly superior to Okey as someone who can work with others for the betterment of the body politic.
Okey's career on Alliance City Council (2006 - 2012) is checkered with politically inspired strife and turmoil.
Not exactly a quality one would want from the person sitting in the council president's chair.
Because of his record as a councilperson in generating unnecessary conflict grounded in left of center politics, it was predictable that he would bring acrimony to Alliance City Council by virtue of the manner he carried out his duties as council president.
For those readers who want a refresher on a couple of Okey's past antics, here is a list of links of SCPR blogs which the details, to wit:
The Alliance presidential contest may not appear to those of us who live outside of Alliance to have the stakes that next year's U.S. presidential election does, but don't tell Okey, Ryan, Dordea, Jakimedes and even Republican mayor Alan Andreani (who got Garnes to run) that.
Of course, the Republicans are out to control Alliance City Council as a result of the November 3rd election which they likely will do.
But make no mistake about it.
There will be a lot of celebrating in Alliance Republican circles in a Stark County Democratic Party appointee Steve Okey being defeated on November 3rd and thereby removed as council president when the new council takes office on January 1, 2016.
That will be getting "first things first!"
One more thing.
Maybe even Democrat Sue Ryan will let out a yelp or two also, no?