Thursday, November 10, 2011


Updated at 9:00 AM

Admittedly, the evidence is thin, but the SCPR believes that outgoing Massillon Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. (defeated in the May Democratic Primary by Mayor-elect [as of Tuesday] Kathy Catazaro-Perry] had a lot of "behind the scenes things going to help the Massillon Republicans take control of Massillon City Council (Council).

It keeps ringing in the ears of yours truly having heard Johnnie A. Maier, Jr in his days of being Stark County Democratic Party chairman of how - in his opinion - Mayor Cicchinelli was a nominal Democrat and in reality a de facto Republican. 

Maier and Cicchinelli's relationship goes way back.  As far as the SCPR knows, it goes back at least to the days when both were students at Kent State Stark.

The Report's impression is that though - on the face of it political allies - the reality is that they have always been more or less competitive.

However, in recent years the competition has turned politically deadly for Mayor Cicchinelli.

And the battle ground of the political fight?  The consummately ambitious Kathy Catazaro-Perry.

Both were intoxicated by her effervescence, elan and energy and could see that she was bound to become political asset extraordinaire.

With Catazaro-Perry's entrance into the Massillon political scene in the early 2000s, a "below the radar" battle ensued between the two old friends to bring Catazaro-Perry under his sway.

The result was in early.  Maier won the battle and Catazaro-Perry joined his political entourage in naming "all things Cicchinelli" as being evil.

It was no surprise that Catazaro-Perry decided to take Cicchinelli on in May of 2011.

Cicchinelli has tried to keep a "stiff upper lip" about it all, after all; "anything goes in politics!"

But The Report believes that he is deeply hurt by what he seems to deem as having been political betrayal at hand at old friend Maier.

Hence, it only stands to reason, that he might want to make it difficult for the newly elected Catazaro-Perry to govern.

However, he likely loves Massillon more than anything else in life other than God and his immediate family, and any desire "to get even" must not hamper the future of his beloved Massillon.

Sub rosa supporting of the emergence of a Republican-controlled Massillon City Council fits perfectly with "pay back" and having in place a check and balance of the Catazaro/Maier/Jackson political axis, no?

That's The Report's take and accordingly the SCPR can see the hand of Mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. in the outcome of Tuesday's Council races.

What does the Republican takeover of Council portend for Catazaro-Perry?

There will be a honeymoon period in which the Catazaro-Perry administration and the Republican-controlled Council bend over backwards to work with one another.

But in time politics will assume center stage.

Likley to be a rubbing point early-on would be a Catazaro-Perrry appointment of George Maier (brother of Johnnie Maier), if it materializes.

If it does, Repubicans will have an early sign that Catazaro-Perry is, in fact, beholden to her political mentor.

A conclusion:   in the end, despite the talk of working together, politics will never be far from her mind given the likelihood that Johnnie Maier will be whispering instructions in her ear on a day-to-day basis.

While they are undoubtedly content with control of Council for now, the Republicans will be looking to build a base over the next four years for a more Republican-like mayoral candidate (as opposed to the "common-man" Lee Brunckhart) come 2015.

Catazaro-Perry is highly indebted to organized labor for her meteoric rise in Massillon politics and she must deliver for them if she is to maintain its undying support.

Looking out for organized labor interests has never been a priority with Republicans and when it appears to the Council Repubicans that the Catazaro-Perry administration is playing to union interest, you can bet there will be a parting of the ways.

Over the next four years, Massillon city government and politics is likely to be one of the most interesting viewing and listening posts in all of Stark County.

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