Tuesday, August 24, 2010


There seems to be a love/hate relationship between former North Canton city councilman Chuck Osborne and most of the current members of Council.

The acrimony came to a head last night when Council President Daryl Revoldt had Osborne escorted out of the council meeting room after a heated exchange after Osborne had made a speech about the North Canton Veterans Memorial Committee's effort to build a memorial at North Canton's Bitzer Park.

Council member Doug Foltz even went so far as advocating the banning of Osborne from council meetings for a period of time to teach him a lesson on decorum.

A video of the cast of characters in what is the SCPR entitles "The North Canton Veterans Committee & Council Osborne Feud" is presented below.

The whole episode raises the question of whether "on balance" Osborne is a positive citizen imput to Council or not.

The SCPR says that he is, but that Council members have a point that Osborne needs to rein himself in and respect the rules of public dialogue.

The Report believes that Osborne is his own worst enemy and with some self-discipline could rehabilitate himself in the eyes of Council, and, more importantly, the North Canton public as an effective "whistleblower" on matters of North Canton government that need to be brought to the light of day for public scrutiny and dialogue.

The life of a whistleblower is a thankless task that is an essential ingredient in the mix of government/citizen/public interaction to keep government honest.

One of the ways that government bodies and officials often deal with whitleblowers is to malign them.  This is what Osborne thinks North Canton Council members in the persons of Council President Revoldt and member Foltz are out to do.  He calls their concerted action a conspiracy against his First Amendment rights.

The SCPR's take?

Actually, The Report thinks the majority of Council value private dialogue with Osborne and think he makes some important points in his public presentations.  Moreover, Revoldt has told The Report that Osborne brings many important points to light and that he values his contribution.  Osborne finds such talk by Revoldt to be incredulous.

Osborne says that members who deal with him suspect that there is a move on the part of other council members (and some members of the Held administration) to discredit him in order to render him ineffective by inducing the public to think of him as some sort of crank.  Osborne includes Revoldt in the category of his detractors and smearers.

Most disturbing, if Osborne's allegation is true, is his statement that several councilpersons tell him in private that they will support him on the floor of Council on a given matter, but they fail to do so, and excuse themselves to him in saying that they feel intimidated by Revoldt.

Osborne says that after last night's Council meeting he received a call from a council member who admitted that he had let Osborne down in not speaking up about his concerns about the North Canton Veterans Memorial Committee project after indicating in private he was going to do so.

While Revoldt did zero in on Osborne as being a deterrent to other citizens wanting to participate in public meeting dialogue because of the disorder that Revoldt believes Osborne brings to the meetings, he (Revoldt) said nothing about council persons being courageous and being persons of their word.  The Report believes that most citizens only have to be sandbagged once by a government official, to bail out of public participation.

If the public perceives that their councilpersons are cowardly, then fewer of them will be engaged in public interaction.

Revodlt and councilmembers need to keep order and decorum in place during proceedings.  Osborne must learn to better manage himself.

But the scrutiny and dialogue must go on.

It is essential to public accountability!

Here is the video.

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