Friday, December 25, 2009


You might say that Canton mayor William J. Healy, II is the "bah-humbug" SCPR "Lump of Coal" Award.

Healy is a man who cannot work with anyone who differs in any significant way with him.  On January 26, 2009, Healy fired his chief-of-staff and service director Thomas Bernabei.  Later in the year, he rid himself of safety directory Thomas Nesbitt (who left "voluntarily"), but who had publicly been on the outs with Healy.

Morover, he has been in fracases with de facto Canton City Council head Bill Smuckler, Council president Allen Schulman, Councilwoman Mary Cirelli, Councilman Greg Hawk, Canton police chief Dean McKimm, the Canton Professional Firefighters Association, the Canton Police Patrolmen's Association and a whoe host of other.

Healy, singlehandedly has ruined the lot of Christmases in 2009 and therefore is at the top of the SCPR list of "Lump of Coal" awardees with a special desigination of being the "bah humbug" award winner.

Sadly, this Christmas, the entire city of Canton is under a cloud of despair because of the deficient, even harmful "leadership" (using the term loosely) of  Mayor Healy.

Healy could do a lot to lift the spirits of Cantonians by starting 2010 with a precious gift to Cantonians:  a resignation!

Daryl Revoldt is one Stark County's most talented economic development people.  But he is no "civil libertarian."

A hallmark of our American democracy is to afford citizens their constitutional rights.  Foremost among those rights, is the right to free speech.  Revoldt, president of North Canton City Council has found that right troublesome and denied it to North Canton citizen Chuck Osborne in late November, 2009.

Osborne, as he is wont to do, wanted to bring to the attention of Council his belief that Mayor David Held and some of his administrators were remiss (to put it kindly) in allowing street sweepings to be dumped on "rented" land next to a city site up on Freedom Avenue in Jackson Township.

But Revoldt said NO!


Because Revoldt wanted to protect Held and his fellow city councilpersons from themselves.  Revoldt feared that these North Canton's government officials did not have the wisdom and self-discipline to restrain themselves in making "unwise" statements (from a potential liability standpoint in terms of Stark County Health Department/Ohio EPA fines).

Daryl, listen up.  Suppressing free speech is not an appropriate way to deal with your problem.  Get a grip on North Canton's government.

The SCPR has been to many local government meetings where citizens get up at "public speaks" sessions and make very serious charges on officials.  What is almost always the officials' response?  "Mum is the word!"

Hopefully, Revoldt, who otherwise appears to be an effective government official, will have learned his lesson.

But time will tell.

In some ways Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero should have topped the 2009 SCPR "Lump of Coal" list.

His failure to stop a bad Marlboro Township generated process short of prosecution should be very worrisome to all Stark Countians; especially those of us involved in Stark County politics.

What should have been assessed as a communications problem by Ferrero and Sheriff Tim Swanson (January, 2009), turned into a nightmare for Police Chief Ron Devies and his son Kyle in that the communication problem over transitioning from one computer maintenance caretaker to another turned into 5th degree felony indictments.

Of course, Prosecutor Ferrero would never admit that politics had anything whatsoever to do with the his asking for and obtaining the indictments of the Devies family members, but the SCPR suspects and believes that politics (perhaps and hopefully at the unconscious level) did play a role in Ferrero's decision. 

Ferrero is a former Stark County Democratic Party chairman who has many, many political contacts/friends/enemies throughout Stark County.

What Ferrero should have done when he realized who the players were in this situation, was to bow out and bring in a prosecutor from outside Stark County to make any and all determinations involving any "taint" of having a political factor.

No, Ferrero couldn't do that.

His solution?

Sanitize it by filtering the indictments through a grand jury.

Ferrero must have disdain and contempt for the Stark County public.

Even non-lawyers know the truism:  "a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich."

The SCPR said from the very beginning that the criminal justice process invoked by Swanson and Ferrero was going nowhere and 5th degree felonies certainly did not merit Ferrero assigning his top criminal division prosecutor Dennis Barr the task of trying the case.

Desperation soon set in for the prosecution.  They were virtually begging Ron and Kyle to accept a plea bargain as a face-saving way out for Ferrero.

Stark Countians owe the Devies' father and son a debt of gratitude.  They would not bend and they forced the prosecution's hand.  To trial, it was to be.

In an almost never heard-of judicial action; after the "chief"  Stark County criminal prosecutor put on his case, Stark County Common Pleas judge Lee Sinclair "directed out" the prosecution.

The SCPR believes most prosecutors would have gotten the message and apologized profusely to the Devies family.  But not John Ferrero.  Apparently, it was "well, you win some and you lose some" attitude.

For his failure and his "apparent" attitude, Ferrero richly deserves his "Lump of Coal" on Christmas Day, 2009.

Moreover, Stark Countians should never forget this chapter of Ferrero's public performance, and, should he choose to run again in 2012; give him a collective heave-ho!

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