Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Whom should the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report/SCPR) send a "get well soon" card to?

The SCPR is solidly behind the effort to re-create 9-1-1 in Stark County into an effective countywide - centralized - dispatching operations.

But it is beginning to appear as if the leadership coming out of the Stark County Council of Governments (SCOG) is not up to getting the job done.

First, there was the fight between SCOG designated 9-1-1 leader Randy Gonzales and Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley as to whom was going to be appointed project manager of the effort.

Boxley wanted Rich Peterson who is the fire chief of Nimishillen township. Gonzales wanted Tom Nesbitt who is the safety director of Canton. These two Stark County Democratic political powers had to compromise and settled on Joseph Concatto who - ironically - served as safety cirector and chief-of-staff in Republican Janet Creighton's Canton city administration.

Did Bosley and Gonzales settle on the wrong guy?

Secondly, it appears to the SCPR that centralized 9-1-1 is unraveling "faster than the speed of light." Not really. But at least a third of the total number of localized dispatch centers have grave concerns about the plan to centralize 9-1-1 and to use a favorite expression of Governor Ted Strickland: they "are keeping their powder dry."

Last week Nimishillen Fire Chief Rick Peterson recommended that trustees withdraw from the centralized countywide dispatch plan as currently conceived.

On Monday this week, North Canton City Council and the North Canton administration decided to adopt a "wait and see" attitude. North Canton's governors assured safety force leaders that currently unallocated monies for 4th quarter 9-1-1 dispatching operations would be there, if need be. Another interesting nuance coming out of North Canton, is the thinking that the 1/2% sales/use tax imposed in January by Commissioners Bosley, Harmon and Ferguson may not withstand a repeal petition effort currently underway.

And, of course, everyone who is familiar with the move to sell centralized 9-1-1 to local entities with their own dispatch centers, recognizes that Alliance from the get-go has be skeptical of the benefit of centralized 9-1-1 to the Carnation City.

The question that remains is whether or not Project Manager Tom Concatto is the person for the job?

The SCPR suggests that Bosley and Gonzales had better do a reassessment real quick before the whole notion of a centralized Stark County 9-1-1 system is "dead and buried!"

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