STARK CO COMMISSIONER
THOMAS M. BERNABEI
CANTON CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT
WILLIAM J. HEALY, II
CANTON WARD 7 COUNCILMAN
WILLIAM J. HEALY, II
Although fellow commissioner Janet Creighton was a bit over the top in her description of the status of Thomas M. Bernabei in this video take of her comments about his successful effort as a political independent in unseating Canton Democratic incumbent mayor William J. Healy, II on November 3rd; Bernabei's having done so keeps him at the top of the SCPR "Top 10" Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials List.
It has been truly amazing to see Bernabei to take on "the powers that be" in the Stark County "organized" Democratic Party in their support of the incumbent Democratic mayor who raised and spent mega bucks to retain office and come out victorious on this past general election day.
The Report recorded two videos of comments by Democratic Canton City Council president Allen Schulman and Ward 7 Democratic councilman John Mariol this past Monday as they opine on the significance of Bernabei's win.
And as the SCPR always does, included in the videos presented herein are Schulman's/Mariol's generous (from The Report's perspective) assessments (which the SCPR does not share in an overall sense) of the work of now lame duck mayor William J. Healy, II as mayor of Canton.
Readers of The Report know that while yours truly recognizes that Healy over his eight years as mayor has had a few successes; the overall SCPR assessment in disagreement with Schulman and Mariol is that Healy has been mostly mouth and relatively little in terms of actually moving Canton out of the a decades long slide downward as a major Ohio metropolitan entity.
With Bernabei's election, the focus now turns to what he can do in terms of providing much more effective leadership that Healy was able to muster in the face of Healy having at his own hand compromised his effectiveness in the context his generating one scrape after another scrape after another scape after another all of which he survived except perhaps allegations that came in the final days of the Bernabei/Healy match up which some think may have cost him the election.
Right now for a number of observers especially Canton City Council, it is wait and see with Bernabei going forward.
But not for the SCPR.
Bernabei started out on the initial SCPR Top 10 List as the #1 Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Official (LINK), continued on as #1 in the first quarterly update (LINK) and continues to be #1 in this second quarterly update.
Bernabei's bold initiative to take on the Stark County Democratic Party political establishment tells one and all in and of itself what this man is made of.
Even in the challenge of seven sitting councilpersons and the Stark Dems' chairman Phil Giavasis acting at the direction of the Stark County Democratic Party Executive Committee (later withdrawn in light of conflict-in-interest concerns) he came out "smelling like a rose" in terms of the regard that a number of Democratic Party testified under oath that have for Canton's former long term law director, city councilman and Healy administration service director and chief-of-staff.
There is no doubt that his biggest challenge will be to turn the heads of those council persons who abide a negative taste for him for his having challenged the party's nominee (Healy) to retain control of the mayor's office.
Already he has met with a group and perhaps the core of the "we are skeptical of Bernabei" crowd of councilpersons in the persons of Councilmen Mariol (D, Ward 7), Mack (D, Ward 8) and Morris (D, 9; also majority leader) a week ago today.
As is to be seen in the Mariol interview above, Bernabei appears to at the very least have the ear of this potential core opposition group to his taking on an executive function as mayor vis-a-vis council.
The SCPR thinks that it will be no time at all before this group and Canton City Council as whole will understand the special leadership skills that Bernabei possesses as an elected official as demonstrated in his five or so years as Stark County commissioner and will forget the talk about Canton being a "strong council form of government" implying that Bernabei is in for a rocky road in terms of his making a mark with his brand of leadership.
Being a successful mayor of a city that been in a long decline in reversing that decline in the face of a projected $3 million deficit in the first year of his administration is an undertaking unlike he has ever undertaken.
Bernabei with fellow Republican commissioner Janet Creighton, both elected in November, 2010 did foster a turnaround of the fiscal soundness of Stark County government and a concomitant trust in county government in the face of a Stark County treasury crisis that surfaced in April, 2009.
By October, 2011 the county crisis was ended and the effective Bernabei/Creighton leadership was the reason for the speedy and dramatic turnaround.
Will Bernabei be able form a partnership with Canton City Council that will result in a Canton turnaround in terms of "heading in a positive trajectory" within such a short space of time?
The Report thinks so.
But time will tell.
For his past effective service as Stark County commissioner and for his taking on the daunting task of working with a skeptical council in quest of a similar turnaround in Canton, Thomas M. Bernabei remains in this quarterly evaluation The Stark County Political Report's #1 Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Official.