Sunday, November 29, 2009


The SCPR had high hopes for Tom Harmon when he was appointed by the Stark County Democratic Central Committee back in the summer of 2007 to be Gayle Jackson's successor as county commissioner.

And he said all the right things.

But as with ever so many politicians, he never delivered on his rhetoric.

To be sure, these are tough economic times and getting economic development rolling is easier said than done.  In hindsight, The Report believes that Harmon was not a good fit for the office.  Rather, he was a Stark County Democratic Party power broker who was assigned the task to hold the seat for former Jackson Township trustee Steve Meeks who was to have been the commissioner to succeed Republican Jane Vignos until Lawrence Township trustee Michael Stevens got in the way.

Harmon has been a competent caretaker.

However, Stark County desperately needs a commissioner with a fresh perspective, with inexhaustible energy and drive to be a catalytic force in refashioning Stark County into idea an incubator that results in Stark Countians becoming an economic garden spot in Northeast Ohio.

Stark does not need leadership that merely gets us from day-to-day.

Over the long haul, ho-hum leadership turns negative in consequences and Stark Countians suffer.

Harmon's one economic development idea (err, shall we say Elizabeth Burick's) about building a horse expo center at the Stark County Fairgrounds has promise, but it does not go nearly far enough.

As Harmon pointed out in promoting the plan, agriculture is the largest economic unit in Stark County.  What would be better than take the fairgrounds which are located in the heart of Canton and convert them into a a year-around, robust, job producing enterprise that would serve as a collecting point for Stark Countians to come together on a continuing basis.

The fairgrounds idea has enormous potential.

But the realization of the potential will only come with Stark County having a trio of county commissioners who have initiative, creativeness and vision to put such a project together.

Harmon has not been such a commissioner nor does Pete Ferguson seem to have the wherewithal to make such a project a go.  Bosley might, but he needs help.

In the final analysis, the SCPR believes Commissioner Tom Harmon has been a caretaker commissioner.

Will his "apparent" successor be more productive?

Probably not.

Steve Meeks is cut out of the same cloth as Tom Harmon.

As long as Stark County sees a succession of  Tom Harmons, Stark County is going nowhere economically anytime soon.

In the end, Tom Harmon:  "bang or bust?"


Just muddling along.

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