Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Last night at North Canton City Council, Law Director Tim Fox reiterated the rules for "Public Speaks" at regular sessions of the council.

Here is Fox in a SCPR video making his presentation.

And well he should have in light of potential civil liabilities that may be sustained if such rules and actions based on the rules are not adequately constituted in terms of policies and procedures (including supervision and training) for dealing with what council members to be unruly Public Speaks participants.

It appears that Fox's guidance for council members is that above all, they be even-handed in applying the rules.

Another concern is that local officials provide for the proper training and supervision of any personnel who might be called upon to enforce those rules in terms of forcibly ejecting a Public Speaks citizen exercising his/her Constituional First Amendment rights.

The SCPR has learned that Fox took his cue from an incident which occurred in a Canal Fulton (Lawrence Township) on November 1, 2011.

In that evening's Canal Fulton City Council meeting (extracted account taken from plaintiff's allegations contained in pleadings of Mouse v. Swartz, et al, Stark County Court of Common Pleas, filed November 1, 2012) the following is alleged to have occurred:

Now to the part of the lawsuit that had to perk up the attention and interest of Law Director Tim Fox of North Canton.

The complaint alleges six "causes of action."  And it is the sixth, the SCPR believes, that gets to the heart of Stark County local government concerns, to wit:

The Report has been covering local government meetings for nearly five years now.

And in the course of such coverage, yours truly has observed a number of tense moments when local government leaders were put to the test in properly managing their Public Speaks segment of a given meeting.

In one instance, North Canton civic activist Chuck Osborne was escorted from a council meeting at the direction of the-then council president Daryl Revoldt.

Current council president Jon Snyder told The Report last evening that Fox's presentation was not designed to target Osborne who is North Canton's most frequent presenter at Public Speaks.

Rather, Snyder says, the publication of the Mouse complaint on its filing with the Stark County Court of Common Pleas and the startling allegations gave North Canton Council pause for thought as to its policies, practices and preparation in prevention of a replication of a Canal Fulton incident in North Canton.

Fox doubled down on Snyder' point in telling The Report that it fair to say that his goal is to ensure that there is not a duplication of the Canal Fulton incident in North Canton.

The Report captured Fox on video in making his presentation.  It is interesting to note that he says nary a word about Canal Fulton as if he got a message from God that it was time to refresh everyone on the need to have a decorous public discussion during the time set aside for same.

Off camera, his discussion with the SCPR was quite another thing.  In this venue, he expressed his astonishment at the allegations made in the Canal Fulton pleading and his determination to prevent a similar occurrence in North Canton.

Off camera?

Yes, off camera at Fox's insistence over the protest of yours truly.

He had the lame excuse that he doesn't come across well on camera.


The Report thinks the refusal was a retributive action on his part because of his distaste for prior SCPR blogs on questionable procedures employed by council (in the opinion of yours truly) in his becoming law director.

As SCPR readers know, a video does not lie.

Reporters taking notes are always open to an allegation that they "misquoted" the subject.

Okay.  Go on camera.  Tell your story in your own words.  That's the SCPR response.

So The Report doesn't want to hear it from Fox that he was "mistook!"

The SCPR has seen many different versions of Public Speaks throughout the county and is convinced that Canton council President Allen Schulman is the most effective moderator of citizens addressing council.

He manages to keep order and decorum while managing to give citizens their full say.

If you take the same system and put Majority Leader David Dougherty in charge, Public Speaks in Canton does not go nearly as well.

Jon Snyder of North Canton seems to have Schulman-esque skills.

You can bet that all Stark County government entities that have Public Speaks forums will be paying close attention to the outcome of Mouse v. Swartz, et al.

As well they should!

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