Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Indeed, it appears to the SCPR that none other than Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry is her "own worst enemy" in terms of getting Massillon headed in the right direction.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the ongoing saga of the Catazaro-Perry administration's decision to layoff a combined total of 19 policemen (9) and firemen (10) effective May 20th.

Ostensibly, it was designed to pull Massillon out of a $1.1 million or so deficit that Catazaro-Perry says political bogeyman Frank Cicchinelli (the former mayor) left her.

But there is disagreement as to whether or not the layoffs will do the trick in pulling Massillon even in its budgetary numbers.

In the short term, they certainly will not.

Perhaps, over the longer term.

But Massillon needs financial relief and it needs it now!

And there is some thought that the layoffs were a "roll of the political dice" calculated to scare Massillon City Council into approving Catazaro-Perry's insistence that Massillon needs to reduce the city income tax credit for those who work outside the city by 50% then 35% so that the city can get several hundred thousands of dollars into city coffers this year.

If such was the motivation of the mayor's closest strategists and advisers (e.g. her "kitchen-cabinet" of the likes of de facto mayor Johnnie A. Maier, Jr., [former Stark County Democratic Party chairman] and Shane Jackson [Stark Dems political director] and others), Mayor Kathy should be looking for advice elsewhere.

Reading Matt Rink's piece Layoffs complicates fire talks, June 17 (The Independent) CLOSELY, it seems to The Report that all the mayor succeeded in doing with the layoffs was to "dig her financial hole deeper" and complicate her life "by leaps and bounds" and she has to attribute the troubles to no one other than herself thus being her "own worst enemy."

From Rink's article:

Layoffs announced in April threw a wrench in contract talks between the city and its firefighters union, says union President Pat Perkowski.
And an excerpt on Safety-Service Director Maier's take on the talks:

If you had asked me this question a week ago, I would have told you ‘soon.’ But some things have changed a little bit. So, to be straightforward, the answer now is ‘I don’t know.’ I’m hopeful we can come to an agreement on a few things, but I’m guessing there will be some things we’ll have to go to the next level (mediation) on.
For the layoffs to provide the kind of budget savings her numbers cruncher (Budget Director Ken Koher) projects there will have to be a rework of the "minimum staffing" mandates that are in the current working agreement.

Getting to such an agreement has to be a road the fire fighters do not want to take.  For if they agree, then the need to hire back the 10 laid off firefighters evaporates, no?

The SCPR asked Massillon Fire Chief Tom Burgasser (last Thursday) whether or not he was hopeful that the 10 would be coming back.  Yes, he said, he is hopeful.  However, he added he could offer no concrete specifics to justify his hopefulness.

And this is just the firefighter negotiations.  The police union negotiations will not begin until the end of this month.

It appears that Massillon City Council for the most part wants to work with the mayor, but is not about to be politically manipulated and bullied into doing things just because "word has come down from on high."

If Catazaro-Perry wants to be successful mayor of Massillon, she should be learning by now that that her "kitchen-cabinet" is not going to get her there.

Establishing a mutually trustworthy relationship with Massillon City Council will be far more productive for her becoming NOT her "own worst enemy!"

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