Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Why so much intergovernmental fighting in Stark County?

As the SCPR sees it, for two basic reasons.

First, Stark County is a bastion of turfism.

A little over a year ago Merle Kinsey of COMPASS (Community Objectives Met through a Partnership with all Segments of Society) appeared at the Belden-Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce meeting (reference: Are 'turf wars' hurting county, The Repository, Monsewicz, May 21, 2008).

Kinsey had some revealing comments, to wit:
"People here, when they meet you, they want to know what high school you went to because they know each other there, or at least they know something about each other. We're at a point in time where we have to move out of that."

"Stark County has 23 government jurisdictions, 18 school districts, five library systems, four health departments. ... Why do we need 18 school superintendents in Stark County? ... We have 11 dispatchers in Stark County. You have one point in Stark County where you have four dispatchers for one accident,"
Second, Stark County has mediocre leadership at best.

Only Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley seems to be making much of an effort to bring the county together. He has mediated between the Stark Veterans Service Commission and the Stark County commissioners, a neighborhood access dispute out in Lawrence Township and attempted to mediate between Sheriff Swanson and the cities of Alliance and Massillon over the cities failure to pay for county incarceration services.

But Bosley is more the exception than the rule. And, to be fair, he can go to war as well as if not better than most. However, when he does so, it is usually for larger community issues rather than parochial interests.

More typical is the leadership (if that's what you can call it) of Trustees Celeste DeHoff and Dean Green). It seems as if it is one fight after another with these two against Massillon. They seem to want to fight with Massillon at the drop of a hat. But, then again, they even fight with their own citizens (e.g. Tuscarawas Township v. Faber, et al)

It is a more than a little bit interesting that Celeste DeHoff''s campaign treasurer when she ran for state representative in 2008 was, guess who?

Massillon Councilperson Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

Who is Catazaro-Perry always at war with?


Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr., that's who.

Maybe these fights are more personal that meets the eye?

If such is the case, doesn't that say something about the quality of government leadership coming out of Tuscarawas Township.

Currently there is a road maintenance issue going on between Massillon and Tuscarawas Township.

It is a bitter war of words as evidenced by Massillon Public Service and Safety Director Mike Loudiana calling Trustee Green a liar. In the past DeHoff has talked how she cannot trust Mayor Cicchinelli.

Who loses in these battles?

The good folks of Tuscarawas Township and Massillon, that's who.

As a specific consequence of the acrimony (mostly, if not completely, emanating from DeHoff and Green), Tuscarawas Township residents now have a "partially" repaved road.

Who pays the the legal fees that are engendered in these skirmishes when they escalate into lawsuits? Of course, the taxpayers.

It is not just Massillon and Tuscarawas Township who are at intergovernmental war.

There are many more:
  • Massillon versus North Canton (economic development competition)
  • North Canton against Canton and Jackson Township (economic development)
  • Canton v. East Canton (annexation)
  • Nimishillen Township contending Stark County Central Dispatch
And on and on goes the list.

No wonder Stark County can't seem get its act together.

What company would want to come to Stark County with all the intergovernmental warfare that is going on?

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