Sunday, January 2, 2011


One has to wonder why in the world Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. would want to run for re-election as mayor of Massillon?

He has had a long and largely successful tenure in Massillon politics and government.

It is well known that there is a powerfully staffed anti-Cicchinelli force up and running in Massillon:   peopled by such political/governmental luminaries as Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (clerk of courts), Eddie Elum (a Massillon Municipal Court judge), Stark County Democratic Party political director Shane Jackson (Maier's right-hand-man in the clerk of courts office) and Councilwoman Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

At least with this grouping Cicchinelli knows who his political enemies are.

He has had a number of run-ins with this group over recent years.  Moreover, this past year he lost an annexation battle with the Tuslaw schools, is having huge budgetary problems with the Massillon's annual budget and, most recently, with the revelation of the McCune incident (see below)  has to be wondering whether or not his political friends are "really" being friends in the sense of enhancing his chances of re-election.

David K. McCune is Massillon's 6th Ward councilman.  And he has been since Paul Lambert stepped down from the post he last won in 2003 to become Massillon treasurer in 2006.

According to Matt Rink of The Massillon Independent (Parking ticket causes racket amongst council members - December 30, 2010):
  • Earlier than December 30th, Councilman McCune's daughter got a parking ticket for parking in a handicap parking place in downtown Massillon.
  • McCune approached Cicchinelli administration officials about obtaining "forgiveness" of the ticket.
  • The Cicchinelli administration did the right thing and rejected Councilman McCune's entreaty.
  • Apparently, McCune paid the ticket by mailing it in after Massillon Municipal Court hours of operation not knowing whether or not the payment would be considered timely (within 48 hours of issuance).
  • McCune approaches long time Cicchinelli foe Councilwoman Kathy Catazaro-Perry in her capacity as Rules and Courts chairperson to initiate legislation to extend the time within which (five to seven "open for business days") ticketed persons have to pay tickets without incurring the doubling of the fine.  However, Catazaro-Perry knows nothing of McCune's personal element in the ticketing process. 
  • Catazaro-Perry does her due diligence (again, not knowing of McCune's personal element); only to be undone by Councilman Donnie Peters' unmasking of McCune's failure disclose.
  • McCune says that it had nothing to do with a personal objective of avoiding the possibility of a $250 fine becoming $500 if not paid within 48 hours, several council members are not buying.  McCune says his request was motivated at making Massillon government for people friendly.  
As the adage goes, "with friends like [this - i.e. Cicchinelli's political friend McCune], who needs any enemies."

By rejecting the "forgiveness" out-of-hand, Cicchinelli likley avoided any political damage that McCune's maneuvers could have caused him.

But what transpired with McCune and his machinations on the parking ticket is not a positive for Massillon.  Nor is it a positive for the public perception of local government in general.

Along with several members of Massillon City Council, the SCPR is not buying the McCune line.

Being utterly disgusted with McCune's apparent disingenuousness - to put it mildly - (the public good? - "he has to be kidding!"),  it seems to The Report that Massillon would be better off without his remaining on Council. 

Hopefully, Democrats will get the job of removing McCune done in February, however, such may be problematical given the fact that McCune has had little opposition in the Democratic primary since 2005.

Only in 2005's primary election did he have an opponent.  However, those results show that he could be vulnerable in a primary if forces within the Massillon Democratic Party (both from the Administration perspective and Council perspective) let it be known that they do not support David K. McCune for re-election.

If  Democrats fail, there appears to be hope that Republicans have a basis (in terms of unseating him) for offering up a candidate to oppose McCune, should he make it to the general election.  In 2005 (see above), Republicans polled almost 40% of the vote against then Councilman Paul Lambert.

From the SCPR perspective, this could be enough of a base from which Republicans could combine with independents and civic minded Democrats to change who represents in the 6th Ward.  Even if McCune does not survive a Democratic primary, aren't there more Republicans needed to Massillon Council to act as a "check and balance" in this heavily Democratic city?  Let's trust that Massillon Republicans get geared to provide meaningful re-election opposition to McCune.

In a stinging editorial rebuke of McCune (published December 30th), The Independent stops short of calling on McCune to resign.

Nor does the SCPR call for McCune to resign.

How come?

Because The Report thinks that McCune vacating the post would trigger a battle between pro-Cicchinelli and anti-Cicchinelli supporters in the context of a small precinct committee person base that would not necessarily produce a replacement that has the support of a majority of Ward 6 constituent.

The Democratic primary is about 120 days away and presents a perfect opportunity for a much larger bank of deciders (the total registered Democratic voters in the ward) to determine whether or not McCune remains; at least, that is, insofar as Democrats are concerned.

A full blown exercise of democracy will attain in November (should McCune survive a Democratic primary) when Democrats, Republicans, independents and other party-affiliated voters get the final say on who represents the 6th.

The SCPR lauds Matt Rink for his thorough reporting of the McCune incident and commends The Independent' editorial board for their taking McCune to task, to wit:
Such self-serving actions do nothing but damage McCune’s credibility with both his fellow Council members and his constituents, and reek of a disturbing lack of personal and professional ethics.
Had McCune demonstrated a repentant attitude, voters might take the incident as an unfortunate lapse of good judgment on his part.

But he hasn't and, accordingly, voters should certainly remember and express by their vote in November, if Democrats do not remove him in May; that Councilman McCune has lost the public's confidence and turn him out of office.

No comments: