Continuing today with the quarterly update of the SCPR's Top 10 List of Stark County's Political Subdivision Elected Officials with #5: Canton Councilman-at-Large Bill Smuckler.
Consistently appearing on the list from update to update is Ward 8 councilman Edmond Mack.
In addition to Mack, Councilmen Richard Hart (a political independent) and Frank Morris, III have made appearances.
The SCPR sees Canton City Council as the top functioning major city—city council in all of Stark County with Massillon and Alliance close behind and North Canton City Council being in need of major repair in terms of its relationship with citizen activists should not be mentioned in the same breath along with Stark's other three large cities.
Because Canton stands out as the most accomplished of Stark's major councils in:
- responsiveness of members relating to petitioning citizens, and
- practices, and
- that promise a better tomorrow for Canton
As the dean of Canton City Council, Bill Smuckler could easily have been an earlier selectee for a place on the list.
The Report picked up on Smuckler for inclusion on the current update because of the key role that he played in bringing new executive leadership to Canton in the election of former Canton law director, councilman and current Stark County commissioner Thomas Bernabei as Canton's new mayor.
While Canton is a strong council form of government, the face of the city is not 12 councilpersons and a council president.
Canton's identity is inextricably tied into the quality of executive leadership emanating from the 8th floor of Canton City Hall.
As the SCPR sees it, Canton has been in need of a change at the top almost from the beginning of William J. Healy, II's tenure as mayor which began on January 1, 2008.
Smuckler defeated Healy in the 2003 Democratic primary for mayor but lost narrowly (some 300 votes) to Republican Janet Creighton in the 2003 general election probably due to fellow Democrat Healy undermining Smuckler's bid in working under the radar for Creighton's election.
- the political hypocrite he is,
- as exemplified by his likely prevailing (in private political wheeling and dealing) upon the Stark County Democratic Party to challenge long time Democrat Bernabei's Stark Board of Elections of his certification of his candidacy as an "independent" candidate for mayor;
The SCPR believes that Bill Smuckler understood that Canton would never solve its problems as long as the political sophisticate was mayor and therefore his being in the lead in promoting the Bernabei "independent" candidacy was in the judgement of yours truly a key factor in Bernabei being elected on November 3rd.
Healy was able to bamboozle most of Canton's/Stark County's elected and appointed Democratic leaders into the "support me because I am a Democrat" line.
But not true blue Democrat Bill Smuckler.
The Stark County Political Report believes that when all is said and done four years hence, those who supported Healy in the 2015 general election will realize that another four years of Healy as mayor would likely have been the death knell for the near term future of the city.
One of Smuckler's strong suits has always been his consistent and well thought out commitment to integrating Canton as the county seat into the fabric of all of Stark County Political Subdivision government and its inherent efficiency and responsiveness in providing base level services to day-in, day-out citizens.
Healy stopped a number of city/county/other-political-subdivision collaborations merely because Canton would not necessarily end up as "the top dog" in the envisioned partnership.
In his mind, The Report thinks Canton being "the top dog" was tantamount to Healy himself feeling he was in charge.
Smuckler as a government official has always demonstrated that he values efficiency and effectiveness over who is deemed to be in charge.
On election night in this encore SCPR video interview of Bill Smuckler, he articulates his belief that the election of Thomas M. Bernabei as mayor is the dawning of a new day of Canton joining with all Stark County Political Subdivision governments to make Stark County a county working first and foremost in service of its citizenry.
For his stepping forward as a unquestioned Democrat in support of the promise of Canton finally getting its act together, Councilman-at-Large Bill Smuckler is highly deserving of being #5 on the SCPR Top 10 List of Stark County Political Subdivision Elected Officials.