How well a government, business, non-profit, a family does is all about effective leadership.
As The Stark County Political Report sees it, Canton has it and Massillon does not!
A taletell sign that these two once great industrial centers are doing in terms of effective government leadership is embodied in two levy efforts voted upon by their respective citizenry on March 15th.
On November 15, 2015 as Cantonians voted incumbent two term Democratic mayor William J. Healy, II out of office, they also decided not to provide funding for the merger in process city parks and recreation operations.
But that picture changed in Canton with the election of politically "independent" mayor Thomas M. Bernabei.
Quite a turnaround, no?
Under Healy, at least in November, 2015, the viability of Canton's parks and recreation facilities had to be the thing on his mind as he was fighting for his political life.
And it showed.
Healy, the control person he is, allowed a "take for granted" campaign for Issue #37 to be waged and consequently stunningly the issue went down to defeat.
Canton City Council will now (with Monday's council meeting) be mulling over whether or not to implement a $350,000 Canton taxpayer paid for study on ways and means to over time rebuild Canton infrastructure which has been estimated to take some $460MM.
The SCPR thinks that newly elected Canton mayor Thomas M. Bernabei is the prime architect of reversing the results on the parks and recreation issue.
He went out a got proven Stark County leaders Mike Hanke (former county administrator and Repository editor) and Sam Sliman (a long time Canton [both Republican and Democratic administrations] to put together the effective campaign that achieve a dramatic change in results.
The Report sees the reversal of fortunes on the parks and recreation funding issue as a example of the unseen hand of Mayor Thomas Bernabei exercising his considerable leadership skills seemingly working magic with the very same employees and administrators that worked for Canton and derivative for Mayor William J. Healy, II.
Healy left Bernabei with a $5.1MM in deficit for Fiscal Year 2016.
Healy the same person who complained to the SCPR in early 2008 that his Republican predecessor (Janet Creighton) had left Canton in a financial mess. What he did not say was that she left him with a $3MM plus in carryover.
Though justified to lay it all on Healy and his "what's in it for me and my political future" mentality, Bernabei has done no such thing.
He has rolled up his sleeves, doubled down on city employees/administration officials (which, of course, with a $5.1MM deficit there will be less of) in inspiring them to be "all that they can be" and sought the counsel and advice of people he respects in Stark County leadership circles and thereby has gotten to work on achieving the seemingly "impossible" tasks of:
- stabilizing and then enhancing Canton's financial picture, and
- finding creative, innovative and empowering ways and means to recover a viable Canton infrastructure under the guise of a Canton Comprehensive Plan with precious few dollars to work with,
And this from a man who is approaching 70 years old.
The SCPR is betting on Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei to achieve the IMpossible and indeed as the graphic at the beginning at this blog indicates show that the IMpossible can become not only POSSIBLE but in fact reality.
Pardon the pun, but there could not be a STARKER contrast between Canton mayor Thomas M. Bernabei and Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry.
The SCPR has written many, many blogs about Catazaro-Perry not being her own person but owned "lock, stock, and barrel" but the political triumvirate of Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr, his chief deputy and Stark County Democratic Party political director R. Shane Jackson and Massillon Municipal Court judge Eddie Elum.
Some 20 years the junior of Bernabei, it is readily apparent that Massillon's mayor does not rely on hard work, inspiring Massillon employees/administration officials to be "all that they can be" and seeking out and taking to heart the counsel and advice of Massillon/Stark County leaders who are not in the thrall of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.
Her forte unfortunately for Massillon is that of being a cheerleader for a losing team.
Indeed Massillon does have a proud heritage of having produced storied football champions going back over many decades.
But all of that is past as is much of the city industrial job producing base.
Cheerleading will not work to produce a win on this evaporating state of the economy in Massillon.
What was her first step on being elected in November, 2011?
Ask the State of Ohio to put Massillon in fiscal emergency.
You've got to be kidding, no?
She persisted, likely arm-in-arm with Maier, Jr., Jackson and Elum, and in 2013 got the State of Ohio to go along.
And then she either rendered negative support, sat on her hands or lukewarm support as the city's legislative leadership worked valiantly to put Massillon on a better fiscal footing.
The "lukewarm" support came with the March 15 income tax effort.
As far as the SCPR there is no "brighter tomorrow" for Massillon.
Catazaro-Perry made quite a ballyhoo about having a $1.95MM carryover from 2015 to 2016.
What a canard!
Her safety director (Joel Smith) says he could spend that in a nanosecond in purchasing sorely needed police, fire and street maintenance equipment.
And he citizens of Massillon gave the mayor "a wake up call" in November, 2015.
A true "voter of no-confidence."
Forty percent (40%) of the vote for an incumbent mayor.
Massillonians seem to think that Mayor Catazaro-Perry's leadership has been ineffective and the SCPR agrees with them.
THE STARK CONTRAST
While Canton mayor Thomas Bernabei embraces the impossible and goes about not only creating a picture that everything is possible but in some instances the "new" reality, Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry appears to take the possibility that Massillon could right itself and instead leads the city into a despair of seemingly impossiblity.
Indeed, "A Tale of Two Stark County Cities!"