Tuesday, February 26, 2013


UPDATED:  03/04/2013

After about a year of non-action, Healy acts to staff Tree Commission:


Council Votes Down Rule Changes

Schulman Reacts

Morris and Cirelli React

Schulman Questions Redflex Representative

Morgan on Healy Failure to Appoint Tree Commission

The Stark County Political Report has seen political figures do some "really" dumb things.

But the apparent attempt by Canton council's political cabal of Dougherty (6th Ward; also majority leader), Griffin (3rd Ward; also assistant majority leader), Cole (at large), West (2nd Ward) and Babcock (at large) last night to slip through changes to the rules of council as if they were merely "cleaning up the rules" ranks up there as being a huge blunder.

Seemingly, the "suggested changes" to council's rules have been in the works for some time.  They were published on February 8th.  But Councilpersons Frank Morris (the 9th Ward) and Mary Cirelli (at large) told The Report (see video below) that they only learned of them on Friday, February 22nd at the end of the business day.

Just on that count alone (i.e. springing changes on council "not involved in the committee process" councilpersons "at the last moment) is not a politically wise thing to do.

And add to that a provision to strip council president Allen Schulman of his task, as the presiding officer, to assign proposed ordinances to committee.

A source (not Schulman himself) tells the SCPR that Schulman, when told of the proposed change, was "bouncing off the ceiling" as in upset.

The Report did get Schulman on camera last night.  If the "upset" account is accurate, then he certainly had cooled down by last night. 

Schulman is much more politically skilled than Messers Dougherty, Griffin, Cole, West and Babock as his measured response shows.

Another of the proposed rule change that was upsetting to the vote "no" group (Cirelli, Hawk, Fisher, Mariol, Mack and Morris) was one requiring that council members submit copies of proposed informal resolutions and other communications (agenda items) to the majority leader and the appropriate committee chairperson.

Seems harmless enough, no?

But not to the six who voted "no" on the "amend council rules" informal resolution.

To pass, the amendment needed eight votes.  It got only five (likely six, if Smith is present).   Who is doing Majority Leader Dougherty's counting?

The six no votes obviously had concerns about the new requirement.

The SCPR understands that "mum was the word" among the dissident councilpersons as they geared up to vote the proposal down in terms of tipping off Leader Dougherty at their plans.


Talk about "a lack of confidence" in Leader Dougherty!

Obviously, the six did not think talking sense to the Leader would change the minds of him and is consorts.

Of Canton council's 10 standing committees, only two are chaired outside the Dougherty, Griffin, West, Cole, Smith and Babcock council combined.

Likely council's most able financial man Greg Hawk (Ward 1), was removed as finance committee chair after serving for years in that capacity when council reorganized in January, 2012.  And he tells the SCPR, he was pushed off; he did not ask for another assignment.

Makes one wonder whether or not Leader Dougherty and assistant Leader Griffin can expect a new term as council leaders in the 2014/15 council?

Councilman Thomas West has practically been down on his hands and knees begging in trying to get his fellow council members (most of who, if not all, are among the six voting "no" last night) to vote as a majority of council in favor of his Redflex traffic camera "pilot project" proposal.

After having put the proposal back on council's agenda for a second reading last night, he had to have Leader Dougherty send it back to committee after it became apparent that council was not going to vote favorably on it likely due to concerns raised by Council President Allen Schulman (in the pre-council-meeting work session) about the desirability of contracting with Redflex given the media revelation that the company has been the subject of an investigation in the Chicago area.

Schulman (in this video) asks Redflex's representative to Canton City Council to get back to council with a full report of the extent to which Redflex is being investigated.

Strange that a man who needs the support of his fellow council members would participate in what seems to be a more or less a secretive rule change process until it got sprung on council at virtually the last minute?

To boot, about a month ago he and fellow councilperson Chris Smith were impliedly accusing councilmembers Fisher, Mack, Mariol and Morris of not being team players in going off and holding their combined meeting with residents of their respective wards.

The Report has got to think West is politically smarter than that!

All-in-all, last night's council meeting was very interesting.

And this blog does not even get into the details the matters of:
  • Schulman skewering state and federal legislators for their making no response (except for Scott Oelslager [Republican state Senator - 29th - chairman of the Senate finance committee] to council's request and explain state and federal cuts to urban communities' funding, and
  • Citizen and civic activist C. David Morgan's chiding of Mayor Healy for not appointing members to the council-voted in Tree Commission which passed a year ago.  (Healy said he will get the job done this week)

    The big story (from a "politics of council standpoint" standpoint) as far as the SCPR is concerned is the snub by the Dougherty, Griffin, West, Cole and Babcock fivesome (perhaps six, if Chris Smith had been present) of the remainder of council on the amended rule proposal.

    The snub shows that there is a deep, deep divide on council and that the majority leader and assistant majority leader (of all the councilpersons ?) were in on the clandestine rule action does not indicate that relationships will improve anytime soon.

    The ultimate loser?

    The citizens of Canton.

    The Report believes that the division is a product of and a consequence of a "divide and conquer" strategy that seems to be embedded into the political sinew of Mayor William J. Healy, II working hand-in-glove with Dougherty.

    It is really weird that they apparently think this helps them politically over the long run and, more importantly, the well-being of Canton.

    No comments: