Friday, July 24, 2009


The graphic to the left is the basic attitude of Massillon clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr.

So, when one agrees with Maier, one does has to pinch him/herself.

One of the fundamental tenets learned by lawyers is that there are always two sides to everything. Apparently, this is not something Maier was schooled in. Yours truly's experience with Maier indicates that there is one way - the Maier way and that's it and if you don't agree me "Hit the highway, Jack and don't come back no more, no more, no more ... "

It is fitting and proper that Maier, who served as a political party chairman (Stark County Dems) for some six years; because he filters everything through self-interest, be a man who lives by the motto "you can agree with me .. . or you can be wrong." And that's fine for Maier, his family, friends and political loyalists. But its not good for the well-being of the body-politic-at-large.

But every once-in-awhile, even a Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. hits on an undeniable truth and Maier can say "you can agree with me ... or you can be wrong" and be in tune with the general public perception.

The Massillon Independent reports that Maier said of the current budget crisis in Massillon:
“It’s not a balanced budget and seven, eight months later they’re shocked they are still in the hole, I’ve said to several of them that’s not the way you do budgeting.” (City Officials 'scrambling," July 21)
A truism, if there ever was one.

But who are the "several of them" he has admonished?

Could one of them be Kathy Catazaro-Perry?

The lady who many of us think is "chomping at the bit" (no that she;s a horse getting ready for a horse race) to get at Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr.

Catazaro-Perry keeps saying that Mayor Cicchinelli doesn't have a plan. And the SCPR agrees with her that such appears to be the case. He appears to be just getting form day-to-day. But is Council and Catazaro-Perry any different?

Where is her plan? Why hasn't Catazaro-Perry prevailed with Council leadership and her colleagues on council to implement a basic "financial-fact-of-life plan" that her political mentor and protege Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. is mouthing?

All of this proves that Massillon city government is in an absolute mess. It is getting to look more and more like Canton. However, Massillon has seasoned, stable mayor. Canton does not. Massillon has a chance to pull out of the morass. Canton does not.

Massillon and Canton and their affliction of Democratic Party dominance are proving disastrous for these two communities. Both Massillon and Canton are an application of Will Rogers famous quip: "I am not a member a any organized political party. I am a Democrat." And the disorganization is permeating into local institutions of government.

One would like to believe that if Republicans were more prevalent in both cities' government, Massillon would have a "balanced budget," Canton would have checks on an out-of-control mayor, and on and on goes the list of beneficial effects that might inure to the citizens of Massillon and Canton if there was a competitive two party system in Stark County.

Though he hit on a "kernel of truth" in describing the malady that afflicts Massillon city government, Maier's "you can agree with me ... or you can be wrong" fundamental attitude and its inherent self-service ramifications - given Maier's role as a Stark County leader whether one likes him being a leader or not - is not, in general, good for Stark.

However, in this instance yours truly is absolutely thrilled to agree with "his Stark County political eminence" (Maier).

Massillon Council would be wise to heed's Maier's observation, come next year's budget.

Another interesting note about Maier.

As clerk of courts and being elected in his own right, he has no obligation to make the 20% cuts asked by Mayor Cicchienlli.

But he is helping out.

What will be interesting to watch is when he lets people go, is who he keeps and who he dismisses.

The SCPR is told by a source that his recent reduction in staff was a Ferrero relative whereas he elected to keep on a Maier family relative. Also, he recently hired Greg Hawk (a Canton councilman who owns his own hot dog shop business), who, apparently, is staying on.

These are interesting times in Massillon and you can be sure that former Stark County chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. will be a major player.

The question becomes: a major player for who's benefit?

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