Sunday, March 15, 2009


It is problematical, at the very least, to swallow the lines that Canton Safety Director Tom Nesbitt and Mayor William J. Healy, II fed Repository politics and government writer Kelli Young (posted below).

What follows is the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) take on those lines or omissions of as to the real reasons why Nesbitt is on his way out of the Healy administration.

The Report believes that "Nesbitt declines to give his reasons for leaving" because one of the unarticulated reasons (in the Report's analysis) is not flattering to Mayor Healy and the other is bound up in the well known expression "don't burn your bridges behind you" by making public declarations of disgust.

Reason number one. The Report believes that Healy has given his safety director a heave-ho in so many words, but with time to find a new job. Forget all that malarkey that Healy says to Young, to wit:
“I think he’s [Nesbitt's] done a fine job for us, and you don’t like to see turnover when you have good employees,”[....] “But I’ve found that when you find really good people, they tend not to stay long term because other opportunities come their way... . If that means I can (either) have a really good employee for a year or have an average employee for three years, I’ll take the really good employee and then replace him with another good employee.”
Mayor Healy appears to have an intoxication with anybody whom he perceives to be, in an allegorical sense, "a greener pasture: " a New Yorker, Nebraskan, Akronite, Clevelander, Las Vegasan, Arizonaian or from wherever. From elsewhere, that's where the good employees come from if you follow Healy's words and actions.

Never mind the destabilizing effect of having "the exotic" from wherever come and be a key person in the administration and then move on after only one year.

Can you imagine being an employee with the city of Canton over the duration of the Healy administration? These folks will experience one directive change after another after another from a succession of one year at a time cabinet members.

Down home Cantonians or Stark Countians (let's say a Tom Bernabei), to use Healy's words, are the "average employee" who work "for three years" and coincidentally provide continuity and stability. Healy's "three year employee" language translates into: they are "a dime a dozen" unless, of course, you have to fire one of them because he turns out to be every bit the equal or superior to (management skill wise) the Mayor himself."

The thing about folks like Healy, who are afflicted with "the greener pasture syndrome," is that they soon learn that the person brought in from the Land of Exotica - puts his/her pants on the same way everybody else does. Then disenchantment sets in and it is only a matter of time until "the exotic" is nudged out a la Nesbitt.

The Report believes that reason number one is only part of the answer as why Nesbitt is looking to leave Canton after a little more than one year on the job.

Reason number two. The Report has learned that Nesbitt has been saying quite generally to various Stark County leaders, in more or less private settings, that the Healy administration is falling apart and near being in shambles. So this must be the "rest of the story" for being out looking for a new job.

Nesbitt lucked onto a grand opportunity for staying put in Canton when the Stark County commissioners took a bold step in January in imposing a sales/use tax to fund a countywide 9-1-1. Somehow he was able to get ear of Randy Gonzales who is head of the Governance Committee of the Stark County Council of Governments (SCOG). He applied for the 9-1-1 Project Manager position, AFTER - The Report believes - he had assurances from Gonzales that the job was his.

Gonzales did try to deliver.

But he did not figure on Stark County Commissioner Todd Bosley taking the stance of Nesbitt "over my dead body." And Gonzales fought Bosley tooth and nail to get Nesbitt in. However, In the end, it was more important to Gonzales to get on with the business of putting the countywide 9-1-1 system together than holding out for Nesbitt.

Gonzales' need to compromise (Bosley was pushing equally hard for Nimishillen fire cf Rich Peterson), is why Nesbitt has to go to Plan B (all those other opportunities). The Report believes Nesbitt was both stunned and irate when he learned that Gonzales could not produce for him. The Report has previously reported on Nesbitt's immediate reaction to not getting named 9-1-1 Project Manager. (CLICK HERE for a direct link to that piece)

The Report thinks there are other reasons for Nesbitt's impending departure such as Healy being frustrated at Nesbitt's inability to get rid of Canton police chief Dean McKimm. Because McKimm is protected by civil service rules and regulations, Nesbitt has not been able to produce for his boss.

The tragedy of all of this political intrigue is that it is a roadblock to solving the very real problems Canton has.

Even if there weren't rampant disharmony at Canton City Hall, the best of leaders would have a huge challenge to redirect Canton from being a dying city into being a rejuvenated city.

With the way Mayor William J. Healy, II is handling Canton City Hall, is there any basis for optimism for turning the city around?

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