Monday, November 4, 2013



In an early draft of North Canton City Council Resolution 70-13, the drafter of the resolution (thought to be self-described "tough guy" and Law Director Tim Fox), council names names and, according to council president Jon Snyder, went over the top in terms of being "inflammatory," to wit:

The final version passed on October 14th had all the personal references and inflammatory language stripped out.

Early on, Mayor David Held maintained "a low profile" on the issue.

It appears to the SCPR that because of his obvious personal interest in the outcome of North Canton civic activist Chuck Osborne's effort to compel (by initiative petition) the amendment of the North Canton Charter to provide for North Canton having a full-time mayor.

But now "the cat is out of the bag" with his campaign fund support for the following ad sent out recently.

Notwithstanding his telling certain North Cantonians that his current run for mayor (unopposed) is his last, the SCPR is not buying.

If it suits his purpose, should Osborne's proposal fail, there is no doubt in my mind that Held will run again and will come up with some sort of political cockamamie to justify the turnabout.

That's what politicians do.

And make no mistake about it - David Held is one of Stark County's more accomplished politicians.

He is not all that out front about it, however he has a network of Stark County politicos that he is constantly on the phone with (so the SCPR believes) hatching "this" politically based thing or "that" politically based thing.

When affordable cellphones hit the market, such was a "I thought I died and went to Heaven" moment for the good mayor.

If Osborne's initiative passes, then Held will have to make a choice down the line;  does he run for full-time mayor and leave his post as Stark-Wayne-Tuscarawas Solid Waste director or vice-versa.

Osborne's proposal "inefficient, costly and ineffective?"


But the SCPR does not believe for "one New York moment" that such is Held's primary motivation.

A sidenote.

Isn't it interesting that Law Director Tim Fox's name is not on the Held "paid for" flyer.

The Report is told that Fox is Held's guy and that Fox's "tough guy approach" is getting widespread criticism from within the Held administration, on the part of council (e.g. Snyder's  "inflammatory" appellation) and even outsiders (i.e. media types including the SCPR) who deal with the administration.

The SCPR for one would not be surprised to see Fox get dumped by council; especially if Osborne's Ordinance 13 passes.

If it doesn't pass, there may be a chance of grace and mercy for Fox.

However, The Report thinks he is going to have to get a copy of Dale Carnegie's  How to Win Friends and Influence People and absorb it into every fiber of his being AND convince council that "he is a born-again man."

While the SCPR also believes that Ordinance 13 should be defeated, as The Report always does (not replicated by any other Stark County media), here is Chuck Osborne's full remarks on why he thinks his Ordinance should be passed by North Canton voters, to wit:

As I see City Leaders position themselves in opposition to the charter amendment to make the office of North Canton Mayor a full-time position, known as Ballot Issue 13, I am reminded of the quote from Lord Acton which says, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Opposition from North Canton City Leaders is rooted in the fear that if Issue 13 passes, they will have to share power with a full-time Mayor and that is not to their liking.

North Canton’s charter, originally adopted in 1960, was structured to create a strong Council-weak Mayor balance of power. The idea that the balance of power might shift to a weakening of the power of City Council and to a stronger Mayor is distorting City Council’s judgment on the merits of Issue 13.

Issue 13 seeks to strengthen the current Mayor-Council form of government. A full-time Mayor should be available and accessible during business hours. Shouldn’t at least one of North Canton’s eight elected officials be engaged and focused on City business on a full-time basis?

Citizens expect to find their Mayor at City Hall working during regular business hours on their behalf.

Unfortunately, current members of City Council apparently feel that a shift to a weak Council-strong Mayor balance of power undercuts their prominence and position of power. That need not be the case. Let us all do what is right and fair to the citizens and the community. A full-time Mayor can be beneficial for all. A full-time Mayor, who is engaged in City business as his priority and who is available and accountable will help all of us.

Politics and a quest to retain power by certain individuals does not benefit the citizens of North Canton.

I find it interesting that former Mayor Daryl Revoldt says the City does not need a second full-time administrator when over the last five years Mayor Held and City Council has seen fit to create the position of Director of Administrative Services and staff that position twice in the last five years. The first time the position was held by outgoing City Administrator Earl Wise for seven months. Most recently, that position was held by William Bartos for two years. The salary alone was approximately $65,000. Benefits for that position would easily add another $10,000.

That position served as an assistant to the city administrator.

At the present time, taxpayers are already providing salary and benefits totaling over $30,000 to North Canton’s Mayor. With less than what has previously been paid to staff the assistant city administrator position (titled, Director of Administrative Services), North Canton could have a full-time Mayor.

Presently, there is no requirement that the Mayor spend any time at City Hall during business hours with the exception that the Mayor attend City Council meetings. This is because North Canton Mayors, past and present, have held full-time jobs elsewhere and were unable to do so, as most employers are going to expect their employee to devote full-time attention to the position they were hired to perform.

I find it curious that Mr. Revoldt cites that while Mayor he worked full-time running then-congressman Ralph Regula’s district office and that this arrangement did not prevent him from being a good mayor. I would have to ask then why in 2001, at the height of the North Canton water crisis, did former Mayor Revoldt resigned the office of North Canton Mayor? Why would someone who considers himself to be a “good” mayor resign in the middle of a major safety crisis facing their community?

For far less than the cost of past salary and benefits paid to individuals who have held the Director of Administrative Services position (pseudonym for assistant city administrator) citizens can have a Mayor that is working full-time at City Hall and who is accessible to business owners and citizens alike during regular business hours.

It is a sad commentary that an individual is given a title of “Mayor” along with a salary and benefits to do a job and then that individual turns around an appoints someone who is not accountable to the voters to run the City.

At the current time, all eight elected officials are part-time. To working citizens, part-time means less than a forty-hour work week. Currently, for all eight of North Canton’s part-time elected officials, it means four evenings a month, approximately, eight hours a Month.

In 2010 North Canton City Council discussed the possibility of making the Mayor’s job full- time but took no action to put the issue on the ballot for voters.

It is not likely that members of City Council would risk upsetting a part-time Mayor who preferred to remain in office part-time. A Charter amendment on this issue will have to be initiated by the citizens of North Canton.

Citizens should be able to find their Mayor at City Hall. North Canton needs a working Mayor.

It is not well known outside of government channels unless one has been paying close attention, but the current Held Administration has employed three individuals to run the day-to-day affairs of the City. First there is the Mayor himself, who receives nearly $31,000 in salary and

benefits. Next there is the City Administrator, who is appointed by the Mayor to handle affairs of the City as the Mayor has a full-time job elsewhere and cannot be at City Hall during business hours. With salary and benefits, the City Administrator receives slightly over $97,000 annually. Twice in the last five years, the City has staffed a position titled, Director of Administrative Services. This position was an assistant to the City Administrator that paid over $72,000 in salary and benefits. In total, these three positions cost taxpayers slightly over $200,000 per year.

The purpose of the proposed Charter Amendment is two-fold: First, to bring to City Hall a Mayor who is available and accountable at all times. Secondly, given the past personnel costs that the City of North Canton has been spending between the Mayor’s office and the City Administrator’s office, the City can have a full-time Mayor for less expense to taxpayers.

Eliminate the third position in the City Administrator’s office, and let a full-time Mayor take the lead role running the City with the assistance of a City Administrator.

With a full-time Mayor, the salary of the City Administrator should be greatly reduced from what it is currently paid for added savings as the demands of running the City will be mostly carried by the full-time Mayor with the City Administrator assisting the Mayor.

With a portion of the costs paid to the former Director of Administrative Services in combination with the current salary paid to the Mayor, North Canton could have a full-time working Mayor and reduce personnel costs in the Mayor’s office, saving money for taxpayers.

Three positions reduced to two positions does result in savings.

And the City will have a Mayor who is available and accessible at City Hall at all times where one would expect to find their Mayor!!!

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