Thursday, May 10, 2012


UPDATE:  05/10/2012 AT 11:15 A.M.

Council President Jon Snyder has refined the numbers on North Canton healthcare insurance costs for members of council.

The exact numbers are:  $13,916.88 for the family plan and $5,380.88 for the individual plan.


There he goes again.

North Canton civic activist Chuck Osborne raining on Mayor David Held's parade.

Going back at least 10 years, Osborne and Held (and North Canton City Council) have gone back and forth at each other on quite a few issues in the context of North Canton government operations.

Last night at Walsh University, Mayor Held presented a positive picture for present and future North Canton in his annual State of the City address.

Revenues up, expenses down, 1250+ new jobs at the former Hoover factory complex with the promise of more to come.  One would think that Held was on the top of the world.

And for appearances sake, he was.

But earlier in the day, he had to deal with questions as a consequence of the persistent, chronic and seemingly everlasting Osborne showing up at North Canton City Hall with a petition with which he put North Canton on notice of that he intends to compel, via an initiative petition ordinance, North Canton government to curtail its healthcare coverage of elected part-time officials. (Petition filed to limit North Canton officials' health benefits, Robert Wang, The Repository, May 9, 2012)

The initiative petition ordinance (subject to voter approval in November if Osborne collects some 746 valid registered voter signatures by August 7th) limits healthcare insurance to single coverage with the proviso that if coverage is available through another employer then North Canton will provide no healthcare insurance whatsoever.

Osborne claims that his ordinance, if approved by North Cantonians, would save North Canton about $111,000.  He also suggests that there will be other additional cost savings.

North Canton Council President Jon Snyder disputes Osborne's figures saying that there are four family coverages at about $12,000 per year ($48,000) and one single coverage at $4,000 for a total of $52,000.  He says he has no idea where Osborne gets his $111,000 from.

As far as Osborne helping North Canton save money is concerned, Snyder says that Osborne's civic activism costs the city thousands of dollars in an given year.  While he says Osborne has every right to do what he is doing in terms of his manifold public records requests and inquiries necessitating that the city officials consult with legal counsel, such does cost North Canton lots of money.

The SCPR's take is that city officials cannot win the argument on debating the "true" cost of healthcare as against what Osborne says the cost is.

Cost cutting in any amount is definitely the thing to promote these days when it comes to government operations.

And city officials can just plain forget the "Osborne costs North Canton more than his activism saves the city" argument.

The Report believes that the general public in our democratic republic sees the likes of Osborne as being as an acceptable expense in support of those who aspire to "whistleblower" status.

The winning and persuasive factor for Osborne with the voting public is that in pushing part-time elected officials, via his ordinance initiative, off the North Canton taxpayer dollar onto another employer's expense, North Canton (a self insurer) pays less in healthcare costs which means that the unspent for healthcare purposes monies will be available for other city operations which relieves pressure on the need to consider raising North Canton's 1.5% income tax anytime soon.

So it appears that Osborne has stumbled onto the right issue in terms of it likely being a winner with the voters.

However, as The Report sees it, he is his own worst enemy in that it seems that he may have worn out his welcome with North Canton's voters.

At Mayor Held's address last night, yours truly spoke with a person who likely knows North Cantonians pretty darn well.  This person said that she knows many people in North Canton that refuse to answer the door when they know that it is Chuck Osborne knocking.

One of the examples that Osborne cites from his prolific initiative/referendum activities is his 2005 successful effort to collect 860 signatures and thereby get Issue 31 on the November, 2005 ballot.

The result at the ballot.

Osborne's effort fails by over 500 votes.

Interestingly, last night in his State of the City presentation, Mayor Held pointed out an instance or two in which CIC money was a difference maker in North Canton attracting some of the new 1250+ jobs at the former Hoover complex.

The real test for Osborne (assuming he is wearing thin with voters) will be finding 746 or so voter registered North Cantonians willing to have their name on his petition.

If he can get by that hurdle, he may win this time around.

Saving taxpayer dollars is an easy message to sell.

No comments: