Tuesday, October 8, 2013


UPDATE AT 12:35 PM  

(Note:  The information that Doug Lane is correcting that which was furnished by council president John Snyder)


In reviewing today’s SCPR I noted some facts that need clarification. The North Canton Chamber will not be opposing Issue 13. We are not taking a stand pro or con on the matter but will be hosting (with TAP) a forum on October 17th to help sort out the facts. I will not be debating Chuck Osborne on the merits, but will be serving as moderator. Plans are to have someone present the current system laid out in the Charter, Chuck or someone in favor of its passage will present and an individual not in favor will present. As moderator I’ll do my best to have all participants stick to the facts and avoid personal opinion in their presentations. We anticipate an open Q & A at the end.

I appreciate you correcting the record. The Chamber has occasionally endorsed issues, but will not be doing so with this issue at this time.



NOTE:  Osborne tells me that "he will not" be appearing at the October 17th event at the Hoover complex in that he plans on being out of town on that date.

He also informs me that he advised North Canton Chamber of Commerce representative Randy Smith of such yesterday morning.


Hello Martin,

Saw your report this am. The conjecture that the proposed Charter amendment is aimed at present Mayor David Held is not accurate. Mayor has told me that after this upcoming term as Mayor he will have served 10 years as Mayor and that he intends to pursue other interests. Mayor Held is free to run in 2015 as a full-time Mayor if he desires. For well over a year, there has been discussions and legislation proposed in Columbus to reduce the number of Solid Waste Districts in Ohio and quite possibly Mayor Held may find himself no longer employed with the state, thus he would not have to choose between private employment or public employment.

As far as any increase in costs for a full-time Mayor that is not true as well. In fact there could easily be a reduction in costs. Five years ago, City Council saw fit to create a high level position titled, Director of Administrative Services. That position was in effect an assistant to the City’s Administrator. This resulted in three individuals running day-to-day operations of the City with salaries and benefits totaling approximately $206,000 annually (Mayor at near $31,000, City Administrator at nearly $100,000 and Director of Administrative Services at near $75,000).

The intent of the charter amendment is to make the office of Mayor available and accountable to citizens and businesses and this could come at less expense to the taxpayers.

By restructuring salaries and eliminating the Director of Administrative Services position, citizens of North Canton can have a Mayor who is available and accessible for less expense (with added savings in health care costs with one less individual on the City’s healthcare rolls). I would envision salary and benefits for a full-time Mayor at $85,000 and for City Administrator at $65,000 or something very close to that. This is far less than the $206,000 annual costs that has been expended in the past for the three positions that have been staffed in the Mayor’s office.

When City Council created the position of Director of Administrative Services five years ago, no one seemed to be concerned about the expense then. Why is that? Now when there is an opportunity to save money for taxpayers and have a full-time Mayor powers that be are suddenly thinking about personnel costs.

The Director of Administrative Services position was created for demoted City Administrator, Earl Wise, who held the position for approximately 7 months. Most recently, William Bartos held the position for 2 years, leaving in February 2013.

North Canton needs a Mayor that is engaged in all aspects of the City’s business and the current City Charter does not allow that.

The current part-time position of Mayor presupposes that the employer of the Mayor will allow that individual to conduct some City business on that employer’s time. This arrangement came to a breaking point in 2001 when former Mayor Revoldt resigned as Mayor at the height of a major water crisis when his duties as Mayor intruded on his employment at the time.

The charter amendment is intended to strengthen the current office of Mayor while maintaining the Mayor-Council form of government.

I should also point out the following past and present City Council members who signed the petition to place the Charter amendment on the ballot: Current Ward 2 Councilmember Jeff Peters, Former Ward 2 Councilmember Greg Sarbaugh, Former Ward 3 Councilmember Jeff Davies, and former at-Large Councilmember Jim Repace. In addition, the signatures of 952 citizens of North Canton, well above the 746 signatures that were needed.

The bottom line here is that it is time for a change and that the City needs a full-time Mayor who is available and accessible during business hours and who is fully engaged. Citizens should have at least one of its eight elected officials representing residents full-time at City Hall.

Thank you,

Chuck Osborne



Those of us assembled at North Canton Council's work session last evening were expecting a discussion and, perhaps, a consensus to pass a resolution opposing North Canton citizen activist and former councilman (early 2000s) Chuck Osborne initiative petition (Ordinance 13) which would compel the city to make its mayor full-time rather than its current part-time status.

But the next thing we knew Jon Snyder (council president) had a motion to adjourn which was passed and gaveled the meeting to the end.

That is when the fireworks began in the give-and-take between the media and various members of council who stayed behind.

Ater all was said and done, I think it is believable to conclude that:
  • The idea for the resolution was the brainchild of either Law Director Tim Fox or Mayor David Held or, perhaps, a shared project.
  • Council was prepared to go along with it even though Council president Snyder said it contained "inflammatory" language until Snyder was called out on it by Osborne's spouse at a chance meeting at Fishers grocery on 44th Street this past weekend.
  • Council will end up passing the resolution but in a much modified form.
  • Council is highly concerned that Ordinance 13 will pass and that Mayor Held will have to choose between continuing as mayor or as executive director of the Stark-Wayne-Tuscarawas Joint Solid Waste District.
To summarize, last night's proceedings; it is apparent to the SCPR that whoever initiated and formulated the resolution's language did council no favors.

BUT FOR the sagacity of President Snyder in pulling it, had the language been maintained, it would have left council members out there having to defend the indefensible.  In effect, the author(s) were in effect "hanging members of council out in the winds of political fury to dry."

And, perhaps, ensured the ordinance's passage?

Here is video Snyder's specific explanation on the history of the "drafting" of the ordinance and his discarding it:

Snyder says:
  • The resolution needs to be redrafted to express the "true" facts of opposition and to extricate the "inflammatory" language in the resolution as originally drafted,
  • The resolution did not come at the initiative of any council member.  He does not know who initiated it.  
  • The law director does not have the authority to initiate legislation,
  • North Canton cannot afford a full-time mayor,
  • A full-time mayor would not have enough to do,
  • Though council opposes Ordinance 13, he endorses the citizens right to consider initiative petitions,
  • Osborne's wife confronted (in a respectful manner) at Fishers' grocery at 44th Street on Sunday and expressed her displeasure at being insulted by the language of the "drafted" ordinance,
  • He will support a resolution if it can be established that having a full-time mayor that the city can afford and who will enough to do to justify having a full-time mayor,
  • That council's is being inconsistent in that it did not have a resolution against Osborne's 2012 initiative and that in hindsight council should have weighed-in on the 2012 effort,
  • North Cantonians think that North Canton has a full-time mayor and that once they learn that such is not the case they will think and vote in favor of having a full-time mayor

The repeated time after time after time after time question of Councilpersons Snyder, Werren, Kiesling and Foltz was:  "Who initiated the resolution?"

None of them would say directly and forthrightly who the person was other than to say on a run through of all the council persons of North Canton City Council that it was none of them.


That leaves only some administrator for the city to have done the deed in the sense of coming up with the idea.

To the Stark County Political Report's way of thinking there are only two North Canton administrators with any motivation whatsoever "to want to come down heavy" on Osborne and his coalition of supporters (Rita Palmer [Osborne's wife], George Daniluk, Larry Tripp, and Hillary Mueller, who is running against Jon Snyder in the fourth ward.


It may be that the resolution was not a Fox original idea (reference Snyder "he does not have the authority to initiate) and that it originated with Mayor Held, (assuming Snyder's denial that anyone on council was involved), but it is hard to believe that Fox did not play a huge role in encouraging and formulation the resolution.

From day one of his becoming North Canton's law director, I see Tim Fox as a self-appointed "tuff guy" who began with Mission One of putting Osborne in his place.

Oh, make no mistake about it, I do think that there was sort of a "wink and a nod" from many, if not all, of North Canton council persons that Fox could clearly have taken as being a signal that he don the role of being a one-person-'political-goon-squad' with Osborne being a prime target.

Osborne is a whiny, irritable guy who plays "gotcha" on the minutest of points of error which occur within council proceedings and the administration of North Canton government.

The Report has witnessed many exchanges between Osborne and members of council and members of the Held administration which bespeak an undertow of mutual distrust and disgust.

And, there is the rocky historical relationship between Osborne and Fox, to wit:
  • From the beginning (going back to September, 2012), Osborne was all over council and Fox at what some think was "an inside deal" whereby the newly elected Republican councilman (Ward 3, having defeated incumbent Republican Jeff Davies) became law director in the first place.
  • As an example of the testiness that has evolved ever since between the two, here is a letter sent to Fox on September 4 of this year:
    • Mr. Fox,
      I am tired of playing this cat & mouse game or “Mother May I” game with you. Whatever you want to call it.

      I have made two requests for these records, the first request going back a week ago to August 28, 2013.

      First of all, your continued interference into the production of records request made to the Clerk of Council is thwarting the Clerk’s obligation to produce records as required by state law.

      Clerk of Council Kalpac has an index for each year’s legislation that has been voted on. That is part of her well organized system of tracking legislation and general record-keeping in the council office. I am sure that is what she worked from when the city began posting legislation to the City’s Website.

      For the time you spend spewing your legalese upon citizens who make records request, the request could have been met and everyone could go on about their business.

      I am sorry to vent but your position as a full-time Law Director does not entail spending your time working against the citizens of the very community you are expected to serve.

      I will give you two options: Either produce the information requested or I will refer this to my attorney. Please advise by the end the business day, Thursday, September 5, 2013, the path you intend to take.

      That is it in a nutshell. Your choice!

      Thank you,
      Chuck Osborne
  • When Fox took office about a year ago, he came out swinging (the SCPR thinks) at Osborne under the guise to giving order and decorum to North Canton's Public Speaks.
  • Recently, Osborne filed a lawsuit against North Canton (currently in process) whereby he alleges that North Canton Council (on the legal counsel and advice of Law Director Fox) illegally used "emergency legislation" designation to thwart citizen review (via referendum) of council's raising of their salaries effective with the next elected council.
    • Of course, who can forget that this lawsuit has a background itself of Osborne having initiated and secured passage of an issue (November, 2012) whereby council was precluded from providing itself from health care benefits.
The SCPR could go on and on with the grievances which have piled up between Fox and Osborne which The Report's way of thinking makes Fox the prime suspect in having conceived of and formulated the ill-fated resolution.


This one is real easy.

The SCPR's archive of blogs (going back nearly six years) is replete with confrontations between Osborne and Mayor David Held.

Here are just a few links:
Needless to say, there is "bad 'political' blood" aplenty between the two.

Seemingly, the "bad blood" has boiled to the point that Osborne wants Held out as mayor.

That's how the SCPR sees this feud as having escalated to a full and complete manifestation in Ordinance 13 whereby Held would be forced to choose between being mayor of North Canton and continuing as director of the Stark-Wayne-Tuscarawas Joint Solid Waste District.

And make no mistake about it, Held and his friends on council are plenty worried that the ordinance is going to pass.

Councilman Snyder and other councilpersons told the SCPR after last night's meeting that citizen feedback is such that many think that North Canton already has a full-time mayor.

Once they understand that their mayor is only part-time, the reactions seems to be:  "Oh! Well the mayor should be full-time" and therefore the worry is that an uninformed voting public (as to the financial/structural complexities/consequences) might well give Osborne a second initiative petition success (reference the November, 2012 health care initiative) two years running.

Councilwoman Stephanie Werren (chair of council's Ordinances, Rules and Claims Committee) and Councilwoman Marcia Kiesling express their concerns in this video.

Their points/concerns in addressing the motivation to put together the resolution in the first place:
  • Voters will be confused in that they think North Canton has a full-time mayor now and that when the learn that the city does not will be likely to vote for Osborne's initiative,
  • Several years ago (this from Jon Sndyer) a North Canton charter review commission proposed a full-time mayor, but it was not adoped by council,
  • North Canton has no money to pay a full-time mayor,
  • It is out-of-character for Osborne wanting to spend more money for North Canton government inasmuch as his record has been to press for cuts and for frugality,
  • Osborne's initiative is a vendetta against Held (denied by Osborne), and 
  • The North Canton Chamber of Commerce and TAP (Talk About Potential) will be publicly opposing the ordinance
In addition to Snyder, Kiesling and Werren, Councilman Doug Foltz (Ward 1) spoke with the SCPR.

His main points were:
  • "If its not broke, don't fix it" in the sense North Canton part-time mayor structure has been in place for 63 years with full-time privately employed persons being willing to serve "effectively" as a part-time mayor, and
  • The resolution itself needs some work before it ready for passage.
There will be a debate on the topic.

The SCPR learned that on October 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the auditorium of the former Hoover Company complex Chuck Osborne will be debating North Canton Chamber of Commerce president Doug Lane on the advisability of Ordinance 13.

While council will have rectified the "over-the-top" resolution, does anybody doubt that Osborne will be doing an "in your face" to Law Director Fox and Mayor Held on the 17th?

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