Wednesday, January 9, 2019



In terms of "accountability," it appears to The Stark County Political Report  that nobody in North Canton government "in leadership positions" is willing to "own up" to the debacles in city's  government processes which seemingly are  occurring with disturbing regularity.

North Canton government more and more resembles the chaos and "the shuffling of chairs" of the President Donald J. Trump administration than one might expect of a Stark County local government entity.

In all fairness to North Canton government officials, Massillon, too, has taken on a tone of avoiding accountability for the decisions made by the mayor and council on the Affinity Medical Center matter.

All we are getting from Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry these days is SPIN, SPIN and more SPIN on her (largely aided and abetted by council) Massillon's version of trying to  "turn a sow's ear into a silk purse."  Massillon, when all is said and done, will fortunate indeed to have netted at zero once the costs and revenues/capital return of the ill-advised "let the city accept title to AMC" are calculated.

Only the charitable impulses of The Altman Foundation is "saving Massillon's 'financial' bacon" on the city's foolhardy decision to accept ownership of the AMC complex.

It is not that long ago that Massillon emerged from the Ohio auditor's "fiscal watch list."

If much more of what this blogger thinks is mismanagement (Catazaro-Perry) is in the offing, it is not a stretch to see Massillon right back in the financial soup which, of course, would be an "ironical twist" of major dimensions from a mayor-elect (2012) who initiated the effort which led Massillon being put on the Ohio auditor's "fiscal watch" list in the first place.

And, of course, let's not leave out Alliance with its financial viability condition currently under the scrutiny of the Ohio auditor's office much in the same fashion that Massillon only recently shed.

Only Canton under the able leadership of Mayor Tom Bernabei appears to be on a positive track of recovering from some 50/60 years of extremely poor leadership in Canton city government.

In Canton, Mayor Bernabei does act the role of "the buck stopping" with him and his leadership team.

To repeat; Alliance, Massillon and North Canton governments seem to be always pointing the finger at others for their governance woes.

North Canton however has taken "leadership dysfunction" to a whole new level that make Alliance and Massillon look considerably better than North Canton when one does a comparison.

Until 2008 and the closing of the Hoover complex in the heart of North Canton (directly across the street from city hall), North Canton government  was able to muddle through in appearing to have a semblance of quality leadership perhaps because city income tax revenues and civic involvement of Hoover's management masked a deteriorating "quality of leadership in North Canton government" that like Canton (until Bernabei) has been underway for some time.

The SCPR thinks that North Canton government decline first became apparent with the hiring of then newly elected Ward 3 councilman Tim Fox as law director.

Anybody who knows anything about North Canton government knows that its officials have had to deal with civic activist Chuck Osborne for some 20 years or so.

Over those years of civic engagement, Osborne likely has, via his "due diligence" and "work ethic" and having served one term on council, earned the reputation of being the most knowledgeable North Cantonian on the intricacies of North Canton government even, perhaps, surpassing the likes of Daryl Revoldt (currently council-at-large), David Held (currently mayor), Doug Foltz (the longest standing Ward councilperson).

In a sense, Osborne "shows up" the leadership figures holding office in current North Canton government in the context of "knowing" and "understanding" the city and its government.

And that does not sit well with those leaders and many, not all (e.g. Revoldt and Held) seemed to set on a course with the hiring of Fox as law director to assign him the task (implied, not directly articulated) of reigning in Osborne.

To be sure there are other North Cantonians who do splendidly as civically engaged citizens.

But they are not "unruly" as Osborne can be from time-to-time.

Hence, Council (likey led by now council president Daniel "Jeff" Peters) appears to have made Fox understand that an "unstated job function" was for him to get Osborne under control.

The seeming Fox effort to control Osborne  (now some six years in the making) has been, the SCPR thinks, an unmitigated disaster.

Only the work of Mayor Held and Councilman Revoldt in constructively trying to work with Osborne has prevented North Canton/citizen engagement from devolving into a "knock down and drag out" fight.

The apex of  what the SCPR sees as being the Fox mismanagement of his/Council's relationship with Osborne (under what The Report this is an obvious mandate from Council), occurred in November of this year.

The occasion was a North Canton Planning Commission meeting when Fox called Osborne a jackass when the two got into a tiff about whether or not Osborne was "to close" in proximity as Fox was in conversation with another person.

Consequently, Fox is reported by a number of North Canton officials and others to have name-called Osborne "a Jackass."

The "Jackass" thing seems to have been the catalyst for a reputed effort by council to remove Fox as law director, or, alternatively, relegate the position to "part-time" as it was prior to Fox's ascension to the directorship.

At one time, post-Jackass, there were four (4) votes to remove Fox.

However, when Mayor David Held got wind of the effort, he prevailed on at least one of the four and perhaps more to change their stance.

Held, sort of, denied to the SCPR that he intervened to save Fox.

However, one could infer that in the voluminous conversation between this blogger and Held yesterday (January 3, 2019) one could interpret in Held answers to questions on his reputed action/inaction on the Fox matter as claimed by others that he did get involved in the question of Fox's remaining on as long director.

In the foregoing context, this blogger "believes" that Held was in fact involved in saving Fox's job for him by convincing a majority of council to keeping Fox on.

Of course, such is this blogger's assessment.  To repeat, Held never admitted in direct language to The Report that he had saved Fox's job at least for the time being.

The SCPR believes that North Canton Council (in a majority context) is responsible for the political warfare between Fox and Osborne stemming from the "implied" 2012 mandate fueled by believed to be confirming conversations between various council members and the law director.

If The Report is accurate in the foregoing assessment, such is not to excuse Fox for his conduct.

In the view of this blogger, even in the face of "sharp" engagement of citizens with government officials, the official needs to be "the adult in the room' and not insult them by calling them names like:  "Jackass."

Unfortunately, our president of the United States of America has set, for the past two years, a model of insulting those he contends with in an adversarial way.

So the question becomes:  Did Law Director Fox "go over the line" in calling Osborne a "Jackass" because he had carte blanche with his employer (i.e. North Canton City Council) and/or has he adopted the Trump model of lashing out in a pejorative way with the likes of a Chuck Osborne.

This blogger is conversant on a more or less regular basis with Citizen Osborne.

And, in the context of these conversations and various blogs written on the ongoing Osborne/Fox acrimonious tete-a-tetes, this blogger has told Osborne he could be more effective as a citizen activist if he would take on a more diplomatic tone in his relationship with Fox and other North Canton government officials.

This blogger sees very little if any inclination of Osborne to tone down his rhetoric.

So in one sense one can understand the frustration of Fox and his apparent sponsors:  a majority of Council and Mayor Held.

However, the bottom line is that "the buck stops" with the likes of Fox, the majority members of Council support him and Mayor Held.

As one North Canton official has told the SCPR, North Canton government has many dicey issues of city  government has under consideration and is wasting time and effort on the Fox/Osborne matter.

Accordingly, it is obvious that there is a least one official who has his/her priorities properly ordered and willingly admits that when there is discord and dissonance in government as the SCPR thinks there currently is in the halls of North Canton government, and agrees that city "leadership" officials need to accept responsibility for the turmoil and discord that seems to be taking over North Canton government and take corrective steps.

Moreover, while this blogger knows very well the highly important role that citizens holding government accountable as Citizen Osborne does; he needs to try to do so in a manner that there is a meaningful exchange that does not lose its effectiveness of by the use of excessive rhetoric.

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