R. A. MALLONN
"TRUTH ABOUT CHARTER"
The Stark County Political Report has been hearing political chatter for sometime that there was "real" opposition to Canton Councilman Edmond Mack initiative to bring charter government to the city.
But that was all it was. That is until yesterday when The Report discovered this filing with the Stark County Board of Elections.
FORMAL OPPOSITION MATERIALIZES?
Upon discovering the Canton City auditor R. A. Mallonn filing, The Report sent a copy to Councilman Mack, to wit:
Fw: Canton Charter PACs
Martin Olson <firstname.lastname@example.org> Oct 5 at 1:43 PM
To: Edmond J. Mack
Just obtained a copy of Designation of Treasurer on R.A. Mallonn on Truth About Charter.
Does R.A. stepping forward in opposition surprise you?
Can you identify ... those who you know to be actively opposing the charter?
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Travis Secrest <email@example.com>
To: Martin Olson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, October 5, 2015 1:36 PM
Subject: Re: Canton Charter PACs
I take back my e-mail from a few moments ago. Attached is a DOT for "Truth About Charter". This is the only documentation that we have.
Sorry for the confusion.
>>> Martin Olson <email@example.com> 10/5/2015 1:30 PM >>>
Please send me pdf format copies of documentation that the BOE has on file from for and against PACs on the Canton Charter Commission issue.
As yours truly understands Mack's posture on the issue, he is hopeful that Cantonians will on November 3rd say "yes" to the idea of charter government to Canton and elect 15 commission members who in submitting final approval to Canton's voters likely in November, 2016 will produce a proposal that will mirror Canton's current form of government as an Ohio statutory city.
It is not lost on Mack that three prior efforts to make Canton a charter government city lost likely because the elected commission proposed too many changes for the voters to swallow.
There are folks that are still around from the 1962 effort who adamantly believed that "poison pills" were inserted to the commission's presentation to Cantonians to ensure that they reject charter government.
It appears that the current effort is two pronged:
- first, defeat the proposal on November 3rd and thereby nip Mack's effort in the bud,
- SCPR Note: One of the opponents to the proposal (Ward 9 Councilman Frank Morris, III) told The Report last night that his best guess is that voters will - by a narrow margin - approve the consideration of Canton going charter and elect 15 members because he thinks most of Canton's political power brokers are squarely behind the proposal,
- second, should, as Morris thinks it will, Mack's idea be accepted by Cantonians; the anti's appear to be bent on electing enough of the 15 commission members to once again insert enough "poison pills" in what is presented to Canton voters a year down the road so as to ensure its failure for a fourth time.
(restructured for emphasis sake)
Edmond J. Mack <firstname.lastname@example.org> Oct 5 at 4:26 PM
To: Martin Olson
Thank you for the email.
I have heard that efforts were potentially underway to form an “anti-Canton Charter” committee, and that it would indeed be labeled “Truth About Charter.” Based upon the Designation of Treasurer form you had emailed, it appears that such a Political Action Committee has indeed been formed.
Based upon what you had emailed, a few observations:
First, the Committee is using the email address of Deametrious St. John as its official email address, and the telephone number of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local No. 94.
It is surprising that Mr. St. John would be involved in any “anti-Canton Charter” effort, as I was under the impression that Mr. St. John lived in Plain Township – not Canton.
I am not sure why he would be interested in opposing the Canton Charter Issue when it does not impact him one way or another. At least as of today, it does not appear that this has changed, as Mr. St. John is still registered to vote in Plain Township, as reflected in the attached. Similarly, the President of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local No. 94, Mr. David Kirven, does not live in Canton either. Rather, he lives in North Canton, which is actually a city that has already adopted a charter.
Second, I am surprised that R.A. Mallonn, our City Auditor, would agree to serve as the Treasurer for an Anti-Canton Charter Committee.
During our conversations about this issue, Auditor Mallonn has expressed openness to a Canton Charter, provided it maintains the checks and balances that our City currently has with its elected offices. The Charter of the City of Newark, Ohio, for example, maintains such balance. I am especially concerned that Auditor Mallonn is utilizing his City of Canton-issued email address in connection with service as Treasurer of the Anti-Charter Committee, as reflected on the Designation of Treasurer Form you had provided. This is because such conduct is specifically prohibited by Canton City Policy. See, City of Canton, Computer Networks and Communications Policy, Section 2(d) (“Additionally, inappropriate uses of computer resources include, but are not limited to: … Generally, any usage which a reasonable person would judge to … involv[e] political or campaign issues[.]”); Section 3(c) (“The e-mail system shall not be used to distribute political information pertaining to candidates or issues.”)
Third, it will be interesting to learn the source of funding for this Anti-Charter Committee.
While it has been discussed that some of this funding may be provided by labor organizations, by utilizing the statutory political action committee mechanism, any labor-funding will create separate filing disclosure requirements for any contributing labor organizations, with several deadlines rapidly approaching that each contributing labor organization must adhere to. See, R.C. § 3599.03(C). These separate disclosure laws are unique to ballot issues. As the Ant-Charter Committee appears to be using facilities of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local No. 94, this labor organization may have to be reported as a “Sponsoring Entity,” which brings even more disclosure requirements that the labor organization must adhere to. See, R.C. § 3517.082.
Finally, a benefit of Mr. St. John and Auditor Mallonn’s involvement with this Anti-Charter Committee is that they are both undoubtedly well-aware of the accuracy required of any political materials distributed in connection with spreading their “Truth About Charter” message, and the liability that can ensue for their failure to ensure this accuracy.
Among other provisions, R.C. § 3517.22(B) reads in part: “No person, during the course of any campaign in advocacy of or in opposition to the adoption of any ballot proposition or issue, by means of campaign material, …, shall knowingly and with intent to affect the outcome of such campaign do any of the following: ... (2) Post, publish, circulate, distribute, or otherwise disseminate, a false statement, either knowing the same to be false or acting with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, that is designed to promote the adoption or defeat of any ballot proposition or issue.” I have no doubt that Mr. St. John, Auditor Mallonn, and all others involved will ensure compliance with both the letter and the spirit of these laws.
I hope these observations are useful, and thank you again for reaching out.
Edmond J. Mack
Last night, The Stark County Political Report had the good fortune to catch up with Auditor Mallonn at the end of a regular session of the Canton City Council meeting.
Here is the video:
The SCPR thinks that in the case of Kirven and Mallonn selfish political interests are the reason for their opposition.
Kirven (along with AFSCME official Robert Thompson, a candidate for the charter commission, [LINK to web article that presents an interesting take on AFSCME]) apparently have concerns about whether or not organized labor will have the clout it has had in getting Canton government going forward to condition city business on doing business only with those companies who have unionized workforces or alternatively agree to pay "prevailing wages" whether workers are unionized or not.
One would think that some members of Jefferson-Jackson support Mack's initiative and might be a tad upset with the $500 contribution being made, no?
Mallonn has to be worried that down the road Cantonians will decide to eliminate his office as an elected position and that he would not be the appointee of the then in place administration.
The Report thinks that his only interest is having business of the Truth About Charter group in his work as a political consultant.
So this fight is mostly about selfish interests versus the public interest.
One exception the SCPR thinks is the point raised primarily by Councilmen Kevin Fisher (Ward 5) and Thomas West (Ward 2) which focuses on:
- a charter commission the membership of which does not include representation for the interests of the respective wards and section of the city, and
- consequently results in a restructuring - down the road - which diminishes their constituents voice in Canton government.
A major reason Canton cannot seem to get into the headwinds of moving in the right direction seems to the SCPR to be that there are too many actors hanging on the structure of Canton's government for selfish interests.
Voters approving going forward with a charter commission in November can thereby serve notice - if the selfish candidates for he commission are filtered out - that a new day is dawning for Canton.