Monday, February 1, 2016



When a win or lose basketball shot is missed, a win or lose football pass is dropped or a win or lose baseball ground ball is booted; the offending player has to feel like crawling in a hole out of sight of the onlookers.

The Stark County Political Report thinks that mistakes made while newly elected Canton City Schools Board (CCS-BOE) member Eric Resnick was president of the Canton Joint Recreation District (CJRD) could have been fatal to the November 3, 2015 Canton Parks levy (#37) passage.

What mistakes?  One might ask.

There are those who believe:
  • that the CRJD's handling of the termination of its former director from CJRD employment was not done in the most prudent way,
  • that the mechanics (i.e a non-bid contract plus another possible factor [see below]) involved in the hiring of the Sally Henning law firm to represent the CJRD in the director employment situation, 
  • that Resnick as a CCS-BOE appointee should not have continued on the CJRD board after the expiration of his term on December 31, 2011 due to his failure to qualify for the ballot in the 2011 Canton BOE election for reelection to the BOE, and
  • the apparent opposition of Resnick, an associate of the Henning law firm in CJRD matters (i.e. Fladen, and, perhaps Henning herself) to the merger of the Canton Joint Recreation District with the Canton Parks Commission was uncalled for,
combined to be a significant if not "win or lose" fumbling and bumbling that resulted in the defeat of Issue #37

But that is not the official line of those promoting the current levy issue which will be on the March 15, 2016 ballot.

The official line is that the voters were confused into think that Issue 37 was going to result in a 1 mill increase in the overall revenues collected for Canton Parks and therefore voted "no."

The Report believes that such indeed could have been a factor.

But the SCPR thinks that the turmoil within the CJRD as outlined above as spewed out into the public was more of a factor in Issue #37's defeat than officials want to square up with now.

Under the leadership of  CCS Vice President John R. Rinaldi, Jr. (a past bitter political opponent of Resnick) who barely won a new seat on the CCS BOE in the November, 2015 general election, Canton public officials (elected and unelected) are trying a rescue effort to keep Canton's parks afloat financially.

The SCPR thinks that the least Resnick should do or have already done) is to financially contribute to the Issue #37 and now the Issue #5 effort.

And when one sees the billings to the CJRD (totaling nearly $58,000 of CJRD taxpayer dollars) from the Henning law firm, maybe even the Henning/Fladen names should have already appeared on the last two campaign finance reports, one would think, no?

Maybe The Report missed them, but does anyone see Resnick, Henning or Fladen on the foregoing campaign finance reports for the Canton Park Levy Committee (CPLC) filings?

 In recent days, the CPLC posted a video (taped by the CCS-Audio/Visual folks) on line (LINK).

Here is a LINK to the Issue 5 Facebook page.

Readers of this blog who have the eligibility to vote on Issue #5 should definitely watch the 42 minute (plus or minus) video.

Resnick was present at the meeting as can be seen in the linked video and excerpt therefrom as shown here.

How's that for chutzpah?

Chutzpah is a character commodity that Resnick, the SCPR thinks, has in spades.

Resnick, who likes to talk, was strangely silent at the meeting.

The Report thinks he should have arisen and apologized to those assembled in support of Issue 5 for his work as president of the CJRD in concert with other CJRD connected persons the SCPR thinks was tantamount to undermining the viability of the Canton Parks system going forward.

To The Report, Resnick's work was a political power struggle in the sense of having injected controversy into the question of whether or not the Canton Parks Commission and the CJRD should be merged and which entity should survive.

To repeat, The Report believes that the controversy left a bad taste in the mouths of Canton voters.

Why would taxpayers want to finance a turf fight?

See this SCPR blog (LINK) in which lawyer Fladen (saying that she was acting as a concerned individual taxpayer, Ward 8) contacted the SCPR beseeching yours truly to do a blog on the controversy communicating her point-of-view because The Report had not published her letter to the editor on the matter.

Pardon The Report's skepticism.

But Fladen working with Sally Henning's law firm profited handsomely from her legal work for the CJRD. (see invoices, published below)

Of course, the SCPR, the most independent media voice in all of Stark County cannot be relied upon to write in a vein that a source might desire.

The Report on August 28, 2014 wrote the suggested blog BUT in favor of the merger contrary to what Fladen apparently wanted.

Moreover, the SCPR supported passage of Issue #37 and now supports the passage of Issue #5.

If voters do not, then the only support after December 31st for continuing the programs, services and upkeep of Canton's parks will have to come from Canton's general fund which the SCPR is told - if not scaled back - could cost $4MM per annum.


From a Repository editorial (January 20, 2016):

Enough said, no?


It appears to the SCPR that the legal services of Sally Henning occurred at the initiative of Eric Resnick, the then CJRD president, in November or early December, 2013.

Henning's first recorded work was on December 9, 2013 in an unredacted copy of the invoice as provided recently to the SCPR by a source:


Compare the foregoing with a "redacted" copy (on the claim of attorney/client privilege) of same as provided by the CJRD (Eric Resnick, president) in September, 2014, to wit:

Though the SCPR has a full "unredacted" copy of the Henning billings, The Report has decided to publish only the excerpt provided above.

On examining the "unredacted" copy, yours truly finds it amusing and somewhat ridiculous for Henning under the guise of her client exercising it attorney/client privilege to have put up fight on revealing the contents of the invoice descriptors of services provided.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but it is hard to see anything in the services provided descriptors in the billings that would have compromised negotiations in the now settled Sawaya matter.

Here's what CJRD board member John Rinaldi had to say about the retention of Henning back in August, 2014:

To the SCPR it is truly amazing that a CJRD board member (one of five members) was able to make the Henning "unbid" contract stick.

The remaining four could have and The Report thinks should have left Resnick left to hang out to dry.

Cantonians/Stark Countians will likely never know for sure what prompted the Henning Law Firm hire.

There is suspicion that it may have had something to do with Resnick and Henning having attended the same House of Worship.   The Report verified this connection with one who is privy to the membership list of the religious institution.  Another source says that this factor is not a current association but rather a former connection.

And there is this Resnick statement of his connections.

It is understandable that the new regime handling the Canton parks function want to move on and not dwell on the effect that the CJRD/Canton Parks Commission controversy may have played in the defeat of the November, 2015 Issue 37 ballot initiative.

The Report trusts that the full court rush to get behind Issue #5 will be effective to get affected voters to approve the issue.

For if it fails again, dire consequences will ensue on the volume of basic services (fire, police, streets and highways).

Even with Issue 5 passing, the budget for the parks over this year and next year (when the new levy would kick in) is bare bones.

Take a look:

The SCPR thinks that Resnick as president of the CJRD was the lead player in the opposition to the merger of the Canton Parks Commission and the Canton Joint Recreation District.

And as such completely blew a key play and thereby maybe cost Cantonians/Stark Countians the opportunity to have unfettered enjoyment of nature and recreational needs.

An official tells the SCPR that there is no way that the Canton Parks will be fully funded should Issue 5 fail.

One of the casualties of a failure certainly - one would think - will be the full funding of of the Edward "Peel" Coleman Southeast Community Center.

In a sort of ironic political twist, Resnick, who the SCPR thinks is Stark County's most left wing ideologue politician,  may have in his power fight over control of the Canton Parks provided a reason why voters will not support funding the parks at the level of Issue 5.

For the politically unsophisticated, left wingers are known for their commitment to supporting and building up minority causes and enterprises.

The Southeast Community Center focuses on serving the Canton/Stark County African American community.

Some folks are simply not suited by temperament or self serving political ambition to have any official role in public life. 

The Report thinks Eric Resnick is one of those persons.

He was narrowly elected to the CCS-BOE in November.  Look for controversy galore to surface in future BOE deliberations.

Let's hope that the likes of Black, Rinaldi, Bernabei, Sliman et al can undo the damage that the infighting over who is going to rule the roost on Canton's parks and recreation operation that yours truly thinks the CJRD under Resnick's leadership did.

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