Thursday, September 16, 2010



The last the SCPR knew, North Canton was projecting a deficit of $200,000 for 2011 and nearly $1,000,000 come 2012.

So it is interesting that North Canton City Council is considering passing a ordinance creating the position of assistant law director.

The Report is told that Council wants to create the position in order to enforce its zoning ordinance.

So, enforce it, no?  Isn't everyone in favor of having the law enforced?

Of course.

But it is not quite that simple.

In order do so the powers that be in North Canton have apparently decided that enforcement will come at additional cost to North Canton taxpayers.  But it cannot afford to have its law director do the job.

Although North Canton Law Director Hans Nilges makes a base salary of $49,000 for a 16 hour week plus some time off for vacation, The Dogwood City cannot afford to have him do the work.  Apparently, Nilges has his hands full doing the day-to-day legal business for North Canton and for him to do the zoning enforcement would be at extra cost of $156.50 per hour.

As it is, North Canton has paid Nilges' law firm, so far in 2010, some $4,127 over and above his $49,000 annual salary.  If he worked a 40 hour week, he would earn on the $49,000 standard over $100,000 plus the extra hours.

Under the guise of saving North Canton money, Nilges has brought to North Canton the services of a "new" attorney at $30 to $40 per hour, depending on the type of service.

How much extra will that cost North Canton for legal services?

The word is "not very much."

But haven't we all heard that line before.

As it is, North Canton has been paying largely for its legal services since 2005.  Here are the numbers as obtained by the SCPR from Finance Director Alex Zumbar.

One North Canton citizen has suggested to the city leaders that North Canton can have E.E. Wise, Jr. who works for a base salary of $70,000 plus benefits to do the zoning law enforcement.  Now North Canton is using Wise is an administrative position.  Until recently, he was North Canton's chief administrator making a salary of $86,931.26.

Wise is an attorney who served a number years as a Stark County prosecutor.  Seems amply qualified and prepared to do the zoning work, doesn't he?

In view of the projected deficits for 2011 and 2012, doesn't the citizen make a compelling case for North Canton City County to work it out with Wise for him to do the work?

"Remember the deficit projections!!!"

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