Friday, January 30, 2009


Executive editor Jeff Gauger in his blog - sort of - dealt with the alleged (not doable) attempted firing of Canton Police Chief Dean McKimm.

The STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) has a triple take on the Gauger blog.

First, he tries to discredit that the event ever took place because it is "chatter" on the blogs including his own.

Second, Gauger tries to discredit that the event ever took place by taking the position that everybody who is aware of the history of Canton politics know about former Mayor Janet Creigton's attempt to discipline Chief McKimm for not following her directive.

Third, Gauger cites the following responses:

Trouble is, we haven’t found proof to support the rumor suggesting that the mayor tried to fire the police chief. Rep Reporter Ed Balint has talked to the people involved — or, more accurately, to those who would have been involved. They deny it.

Here’s McKimm: No one talked to me about firing me. Not the mayor. Not Tom Nesbitt, the mayor’s public safety director and, on paper, the chief’s boss. Not anyone speaking for the mayor.

Here’s Nesbitt, and I quote him directly: “Absolutely nonsense” and “total malarkey.” Nesbitt even told us that after hearing the rumor himself he called McKimm to assure the chief that there was no plan to try to fire him. “I wanted to make (McKimm) comfortable,” Nesbitt said.

Here’s Joe Martuccio, the independent city law director: Neither Healy nor anyone speaking for the mayor sought my advice this week about firing McKimm.

And here’s City Councilman Bill Smuckler, a former candidate for mayor and a frequent, out-spoken critic of our current hizzoner: the chatter is a bunch of bunk.

Because of the foregoing The Report went back to the source of the story in the first place. The question. "Are you sure that Healy tried to fire McKimm,"

Answer: "Yes." Then the source went on to detail (in a persuasive fashion to The Report) the basis of the certainty.

So this is a very interesting stand off.

On one side: An impressive list of people who say an attempted firing (remembering, of course, the mayor cannot, only the Canton Civil Service Commission after due process of law) never occurred.

On the other: The Report's source. The Report will be quick to retract its story should it become apparent that the source was in error.

As of now, The Report has no reason to doubt the source notwithstanding the denials (including Law Director Joe Martuccio - whom The Report has the highest respect for).

Public official denials are nothing new to sophisticated observers of political processes. These folks are known to parse the dotting of the "i" and crossing of the "t" in the quest to construct a plausible or nuanced denial.


Anonymous said...

You can't make this stuff up! Better than TV.
Great site for information on the latest boobs of Stark County.

In the Alliance Review today, there was a story about the deputies that are suing WKYC for slander in regards to the law suit again our professional, courteous sheriff. Any Comments?

Anonymous said...

This is tantamount to Clinton's infamous, "It depends on what the definition of the word "is" is".
The Rep is famous for obtaining public documents, so don't you think they would simply make such a request to confirm the threats to 'terminate' the chief, which is understood to have occurred in documented fashion, i.e. in written form and never discussed (talked) directly with the chief. . . . . . because what we are dealing with here is COWARDLY behavior.
You don't threaten to fire someone and then turn around and tell the Rep "I wanted to make (McKimm) comfortable."
But I guess the Rep would rather accept that nonsense, even though they know better. Instead they look for any excuse to ignore this story. Maybe they should let there reporter do a little old fashioned investigative reporting instead of worrying about what the public may learn about Mayor Healy's henchman, Safety Director Nesbitt. Using a little shoe leather and not taking for granted what people are saying but looking for simple documentation for starters.
Why not try the safety director's correspondence with the chief of police? Duh!
Because it is easier to discredit the only truly inquiring reporting effort left in Canton, the Stark Political Report.
What other conclusion is there?

Anonymous said...

1.) When the Rep discovers they have been duped, that is assuming they truly have been, will they still ignore this report from the Stark Political Report? That is will they choose to continue to discount that there is an effort afoot that includes documentation that threatens the chief of police with being fired, even though it may not have been "talked" about in the presence of the chief.

2.) Does the Rep feel compelled to protect the safety director and/or mayor's involvement in these documented directive/s/ that threaten the chief with firing? Again, the editor's action, if niaive to the facts, is certain to result in a retraction at best. In the least he should feel compelled to reverse this rejection of the Stark Political Report's continued insistance that there is a strong basis for this report. You would think that if Mr. Gauger discovers that what Director Nesbitt has said was meant to camoflauge his involvement in this issue he will feel compelled to inform the public accordingly.

3.) Will the Rep take it to the next level and ask the Mayor what involvement he may have had in Director Nesbitt's threats to suspend and/or terminate the chief? Forget the BS about "talked". Dig for the documentation.

Remember, the Rep was the bully pulpit that called for the mayor's office to have control over the hiring and firing of the chief of police in the past.

Wouldn't that have been one fine mess to have gotten us into in this case if the mayor's office could have terminated the chief of police as it had done to the chief of staff?

Wonder if the Rep will reconsider its stance now?

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff!

Glad to see the deputies are sueing WKYC! About time the news media is held accountable for what they report.