Thursday, March 1, 2012


On February 7, 2011 the SCPR went to Massillon City Council.  In setting up to record council actions for the evening, yours truly struck up a conversation with council Clerk Mary Beth Bailey.

Amid the chit-chat, it came out that years before Bailey had worked for Republican Janet Creighton when she was Stark County auditor (Creighton is now Stark County commissioner).

And that was interesting to learn.

But even more interesting was Bailey's account of how the then Councilwoman Kathy Catazaro-Perry had tried to get her non-renewed for being clerk of council.

The Report thought that was odd and chalked it up to thoroughgoing Democrat Catazaro-Perry  playing a little bit of politics in trying to move the Republican tainted Bailey out and an out-and-out Democrat loyalist in.

After all, Catazaro-Perry is closely allied with Massillon Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. (also a former Stark Democratic Party chairman), who, in the SCPR's experience, seems to like using available public offices to place consummately loyal Democrats in.

However, Catazaro-Perry failed to convince her fellow councilpersons and her effort failed.

So The Report assumed that the Bailey removal effort was old news and that Catazaro-Perry had moved on.

But perhaps not?

Recently, the now Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry submitted her 2012  Massillon budget to council. 

Everyone knew it would be an austerity budget and so there was no surprise that she billed her proposed $34.9 million budget as a "two-year financial restoration plan." 

Among the major cuts the mayor proposed was 20% for Perry Stergios and his law department.

But that proposed cut paled into insignificance when it came out on Republican Councilwoman Nancy Halter's report that in "the devil is in the details" that Mayor Kathy was proposing to cut Clerk Bailey by 42% (2011 to 2012) from $42,469 to $24,600.


What a revelation!

Immediately the SCPR had an aha! moment.

It seems very clear that Catazaro-Perry had not forgotten her council days ill-fated effort to get rid of Bailey and now to the degree she can do so, she appears to be out to make life as uncomfortable for Bailey as she can.

The proposed Bailey cut reeks of Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. Machiavellian-esque politics and what could be a better cover for what appears to be a blatantly political move by Catazaro-Perry than the budgeting process.

With her ever present smile and generally cheerful disposition (in contrast to Maier), one might want to assume that Catazaro-Perry is not nearly as dug in on vengeful personal and partisan politics as Maier appears to be.

But this move is evidence that beneath the veneer,  she totally buys into the Maier model that he learned at the feet of former Ohio Speaker of the House Vern Riffe when Johnnie served as his political manservant during the time he represented Stark County's 56th Ohio House District in the 1990s.

If she is adopting Maier's model, then she can expect lots and lots of trouble from the new council.  Dominated by Republicans 5 to 4 with a few Cicchinelli Democrats sprinkled, council is likely to take her proposed draconian and disproportional Bailey pay cut as a signal that Catazaro-Perry has opted to play hardball politics with them.

For the sake of and well-being of Massillon and her own credibility as being "different" from other politicians, Mayor Kathy needs to turn away from vengeful politics and the like as her guide.

To the degree the mayor engages in such tactics, she hastens the day that she will be viewed as being like any other well-boiled politician.

No comments: