Sunday, March 27, 2011


It appears that Massillon government has become the:  "Theater of the Absurd!"

The SCPR thinks there are good reasons to vote "no" on the Mayor Cicchinelli proffered budget (which got defeated 5 to 4 on Monday night).  But three  of them are not:  (quotes in this blog are ones created in a speculative context by The Report in furtherance of the notion of Massillon's government resembling - at least in the drama being played out on getting a Massillon budget passed - a "Theater of the Absurd.")
  • "I'm running for mayor and therefore I will vote 'no' on all things Cicchinelli;" likely the thought processes - The Report conjectures - of Kathy Catazaro-Perry.
  • "Hmm?  Call me a 'longtime ex-Republican' and I'll get even.  My publicly announced vote for the Mayor's budget is now history because of Cicchinelli's insult.  I'll show him!" Such The Report believes is the train of thought that must have be running through Councilman Anderson's head in casting his "no vote" on the Cicchinelli budget last Monday.
  • "Hmm?  (The Report suspects Slagle muses to himself) Anderson announces he's going to vote for the Cicchinelli budget?  Wow!  What a golden opportunity for me.  Given the reality of depressed Massillon's revenues due to the downturn of the national economy, the Mayor really has no choice but do creative budgeting and normally I would square up with that reality and grudgingly vote for it.  But with the Anderson announcement, I can have my cake and eat it too.  The budget passes and I get to do a little grandstanding.  Wonderful!"
The Slagle and Anderson exercise as reported in The Independent (see cite below) has a Abbott & Costello quality to it (the famous "Who's on First" comedic skit).  The difference being, however, that Abbott & Costello knew they were being ridiculous, out-of-sync and therefore funny whereas Massillon Councilmen Slagle and Anderson apparently did not.

What is amazing is that Anderson and Slagle would implicitly admit within the hearing of the press (Plenty of bluster, little accomplished in special City Council session, staff report, The Independent, March 25th) that they were functioning (as councilmen) outside the public interest.  Candid?  Perhaps.  But the consequence is that it is this sort of revelation which makes it difficult for citizens to take local government seriously, and the absurdity of it all has the effect of demeaning/discrediting government in the eyes of the public.

Moreover, Mayor Cicchinelli himself has been playing a key part in the "Theater of the Absurd" in calling Friday's meeting in the first place. 

After Monday's regular council meeting in an ad hoc Finance Committee meeting, Slagle gave a perfectly plausible reason why he had a problem with the Mayor's budget.  He articulated quite persuasively that since the state of Ohio is making cuts to local government funds beginning in July (the significance of which Mayor Cicchinelli downplayed), it was unreal for Cicchinelli to present a budget that did not account for the actual total costs of the safety forces in the hope that somehow, some way, the needed revenues would materialize.

So what happened between Monday and Friday for him to say that he voted no on the premise that Anderson was going to vote yes.  Doesn't the Massillon clerk of council call the roll alphabetically:  A - Anderson, S - Slagle?


You have to take the councilman at his word, but Slagle's "I thought Anderson was voting yes therefore I voted no" rationale seems to be out there somewhere, no?

The taxpaying Massillon public should be absolutely revolted by what is going on in Massillon city government!   The dramatic unfoldings have the makings of a tragic-comedy for the residents of Massillon who are apparently facing the possibility of the shutdown of their local government services.

While The Report believes that the Slagle/Anderson vignette is shameful in that it shows priorities other than the well-being of Massillon, such is not surprising coming out of this Council.

The Massillon City Council is rife with personal agendas; apparently - the public interest be damned!

The elephant in the room (or, "the political football") seems to be that the budgetary numbers indicate that Council and Mayor Cicchinelli need to agree on cuts to the safety forces (at least until the revenue picture improves), but no one has the political intestinal fortitude to say so.

Certainly not Catazaro-Perry and her allies on Council.  Certainly not Mayor Cicchinelli and his allies on Council.

Such, The Report thinks, is why Massillonians are seeing the "Theater of the Absurd."

So what is it that  Massillon voters should be looking for in May and November?

To the extent that the availabilities of candidates allow - new set of characters; qualified, however, with the proviso that change for change sake can bring on an even worse scenario.

Voters should not emulate the "knee-jerk" qualities that seem to be in place within Massillon elected officialdom these days.

But rather voters need to exercise rationality and common sense in eliminating the absurd that currently plagues Massillon city government!

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