Tuesday, September 27, 2011


By the SCPR's calculation, former North Canton Councilman Chuck Osborne (currently running for an at-large seat) walked into IT last night.

IT being the political fist of Mayor David Held and Councilman Doug Foltz (Ward 1 - running unopposed this time around).

Osborne is known for his political polemics directed against Held and North Canton City Council (Council), in general, on most regular meeting nights of Council.

Last night Osborne decided it was time to lash out at the part-time Council members for having in place a healthcare family/individual plan as being too costly for North Canton in light of the financial stress that all local government units are under these days.  Moreover, he pushed his political dagger in deeper and twisted it a bit in holding up Hudson, Ohio City Council as an example of selfless public service in that its members are paid $120 a year (contrasted to North Canton's $4,800) with no healthcare benefits and a mayor who is paid $3,300 annually (as contrasted to Mayor Held's $15,000).

If one adds the cost of North Canton's healthcare plan, the participating five council members in the family plan (Councilman Cerreta takes neither plan) costs North Canton ($4,800 + 13,916.88) $18,716.88.

Council President Jon Snyder (who is paid $5,700 annually as president) has the individual plan and thereby only costs the city ($5,700 + 5,380.08) $11,080.08.

Mayor Held is at ($15,000 + 13,916.88) $28,916.88.

Sounds like Candidate Osborne has scored a knockout punch of his own?

Not really.

After Osborne's "public speaks," Mayor Held came out with a flurry of counter punches in defense of Council (and, of course, implicitly himself) in pointing out that Osborne himself accepted the family plan during his term as a North Canton councilman from 2002 through 2004.

Here is a video of Held's rhetorical pugilism on Osborne.

As if the Held effort was not enough of a pummeling, after the meeting Councilman Doug Foltz revealed to yours truly that while Osborne was councilman he was on board to raise councilpersons annual salary from $3,600 to the present $4,800.

When The Report questioned Osborne about these two revelations, he wanted to differentiate himself out of his own criticism.

Paraphrasing:  "I was a new councilperson and all I knew was that out of the blue I had a family healthcare plan that I really didn't need because my wife had coverage for the family from her work."  "North Canton was in much better financial condition then."  And, on and on and on.

As readers of the SCPR know, such separation does not work with yours truly.

For The Report, Osborne's criticism is political hypocrisy:  pure and simple!

Nobody critiques local government officials more than the SCPR.  And, generally, The Report is pleased to see the likes of Chuck Osborne do his research and bring merited criticism to bear on the councils of government.

At the very least, Osborne should have noted that he had taken the healthcare benefits and the salary when he was on Council.  Moreover, he should have explained why, as a council-at-large candidate this election cycle, he should be taken as a credible critic and his request that Council act to end family plan benefits before the end of the current term of Council should be taken seriously and not as some sort of political gambit designed to enhance his chances of being elected.

He failed to do so and therefore the SCPR admonishes him for such.

The SCPR does have a word for Mayor David Held.  Undoubtedly, he immensely enjoyed taking his political nemesis to task.  But The Report's experience Held indicates to yours truly that he is hardly flawless in his own right.

Several weeks ago in a conversation with Held, he fed the SCPR information to the effect that Stark County Educational Service Center (SESC) Superintendent Larry Morgan was about to retire and that North Canton Superintendent Mike Gallina was by prearrangement was set to replace Morgan.

Well, yours truly's spouse is an elected member of the SESC and as The Report is wont to do, checked out Held's allegation.  Answer:  "not true.

So a man (Held) who wants to be treated with fairness and chastises others who transgress, gets unfair with fellow - though unelected - public officials?

All of which brings into question Held's motivation for correcting Osborne.

Was it because he "really" feels that participating Council members deserve the effect - with healthcare benefits - of quadrupling their pay from North Canton (doubling - in the case of Jon Snyder) or was he himself being political in the sense of currying favor with Council and in the sense of taking advantage of the Osborne misstep to pay Chuck Osborne back for the numerous criticisms that he has lobbed Held's way?

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