Tuesday, February 25, 2014


UPDATED:  08:35 AM




















Along the pathway of North Canton governance, council members had a choice to make.

They could have gone down "the road less traveled," but they chose to take "the primrose path" - apparently - prepared by Law Director Tim Fox.

From what the Stark County Political Report could detect from the abundance of apologies to North Canton voters at last night's council meetings, they are now wishing they had taken "the road less traveled."

The question has been whether or not Issue 5 (denying healthcare "family" coverage to part-time council members or "single" coverage when other employer provided coverage is available) is "valid" legislation that binds North Canton's council members?

In May, 2012 North Canton civic activist Chuck Osborne initiated a ordinance petition for the November, 2012 general election ballot which presented the question to North Canton voters.

Since 2012 was a presidential year ballot, large numbers of North Cantonians came out to vote.

The result?

So come the "new" term of council beginning December, 2013 the ordinance goes into effect, no?

Not so fast, SCPR readers!

While the people of North Canton may have spoken in overwhelming numbers, North Canton Law Director Tim Fox had not yet had his say.

And as we all know, elected officials across Stark County - when they do not like "the will of the people," they are known to try to find a way around "the will of the people."

Like in the case of the 2008 Stark County Board of Commissioners (Bosley, Harmon (Democrats), and Vignos (a Republican) anticipating that voters might object in a "free will of the people election" decided to "impose" a 0.5% sales tax on Stark Countians for a widely advertised purpose of fixing Stark County's broken 9-1-1 emergency call/dispatch system but more or less hidden purpose of adding money to the county general fund.

Stark Countians were having none of it and in November, 2009 by huge numbers removed the tax from the Stark County fiscal landscape.

Accordingly, "following the will of the people" was a "painless" lesson for onlooking North Canton council members to learn, but what have they done since November, 2012?

You've got it!

They chose to ignore "the will of the people" and follow the advice of North Canton law director Tim Fox that Osborne's ordinance is invalid and could be ignored.

Consequently, four members of council (Peters, Ward 2; Werren, Ward 3; Snyder, Ward 4 and Kiesling, at-large) chose to take the "easy path; "the primrose path," if you will, and thereby ignore "the will of the people" and maintain their respective city of North Canton (at taxpayer expense) health care insurance coverage.

To the SCPR and to many frustrated citizens of North Canton (personified by citizen activist Jamie McCleaster (leader of the Concerned Citizens of North Canton) it has been mind boggling that "elected" by their constituencies councilpersons would "blow-off" the overwhelming November, 2012 vote of the people of North Canton.

Matters have grown so tense among North Canton City Council members that the SCPR is told by a "highly, highly, highly" reliable source their has been active discussions going on for Snyder to step-down to be replaced by either Councilman Peters or Council Cerreta.

Moreover, The Report is told that consideration has been given to the removal of Tim Fox as law director.

Of course, the SCPR asked Snyder (on camera) "head-on" about these - what the SCPR considers to from an impeccable source - reports.

Here is his response.

The Report made a "video" collection of the statements of quite a number of everyday North Canton citizens who troubled themselves to come out to last night's council meeting and availed themselves of the "Public Speaks" forum on the agenda of the meeting to express their disgust with council.

Readers of the SCPR who care about citizen participation in making their governments accountable should watch each and every one of these videos.

Doing so will inspire scores of Stark Countians to resolve to follow the example of these extraordinary folks and "do likewise" in holding governments across the county accountable.

Here are the videos, pleeeaaaseeeee! watch them!!!

First up, the "dean" of North Canton civic activists Chuck Osborne.

As seen, Osborne:
  • Points out the fact that council has an ordinance on last night's agenda which - on an un-needed emergency basis (since anything passed will not go into effect until December 1, 2015) and suggests that perhaps council is trying to deceive North Cantoninans into thinking that it is remedying council's failure to heed the vote of November, 2012 which was designed to have to gone into effect as of December 1, 2013,
  • Reviews how city council looked on as the ordinance was formulated in May, 2012 and processed through the electoral process without council objection,
  • Describes how the lack of implementation of the initiative ordinance was discovered by another North Canton citizen by happenstance, and
  • Questions the proper role of the law director in advising on the ordinance,
Next, Citizen Glenn Saylor:

As seen, Saylor says:
  • "actions of law director [Fox] was a 'poke in the eye' to the citizens of North Canton,'
  • Cites North Canton city ordinance in outlining the duties of the North Canton law director,
    • "communicates legal policies, procedures, decisions to:
      • city council,
      • city officials, and
      • the general public (emphasis added by SCPR),
    • "[law director] had an obligation to notify the public [of his opinion of the invalidity of Ordinance 5] since it was the public who passed the ordinance in the first place,"
  • Does not buy into there being an "attorney/client privilege on the health care ordinance,
  • Asks that council's recorded by amended to reveal the exact date (am members present) in late 2013 that Fox counseled city council on the invalidity of Ordinance 5,
  • Chides council "which loves to pass all sorts of emergency legislation" for not doing so in correction of the alleged defects of voter passed Ordinance 5 so that it could go into effect on December 1, 2013,
Then Citizen Palmer.

As seen in the video, Palmer:
  • Chastises council for ignoring her and other North Canton citizens in previous protests for council not enforcing Ordinance 5,
  • Cite language in a Repository editorial demanding that council fix and enforce the will of the voters of North Canton expressed by them voting overwhelmingly for it in November, 2012,
  • Returns to her having been ignored before and insists that council hear her this time,
Palmer was followed by Citizen Jamie McCleaster (leader of the Concerned Citizens of North Canton [CCNC]).

McCleaster, in the video, takes council to task:
  • For ignoring him and other CCNC citizens when the appeared before council two weeks ago complaining about the heath care ordinance issue,
  • For council president Jon Snyder (who the SCPR shows on video later on in this blog apologizing on three occasions last night) having threatened him with a lawsuit two weeks ago,
  • For not having guidelines in place (which he offers up on behalf of the CCNC) for how council conducts itself,
Next Miriam Baughman.

Baughman in her videotaped presentation shows:
  • She likely is more knowledgeable than anyone on council (she goes back to 1961) and certainly much more that Law Director Tim Fox on North Canton's charter, and
  • That contrary to what Fox is reported to be saying as being an invalid process, North Canton instituted council power to provide for health care insurance benefits for councilpersons in 1981,
  • That - in a telling point on what appears to the SCPR to be a "flawed" Fox analysis - the overwhelmingly voter approved Ordinance 5 "merely" negated a prior ordinance,
Finally, Citizen Kimmie Peters makes her SCPR videotaped appearance.

As seen, she pummels council with:
  • "I have never been so embarrassed by a city government (i.e. North Canton city council) as I have been over the last couple of years,"
  • "You really have destroyed my trust and I think the trust of a lot of the other people who are here."
      It is truly amazing how what should be the obvious road for any elected official to follow becomes "the road less traveled" when the voter paved road does not match the collective un-wisdom of those who hold office.

      What is even more amazing is how North Canton council members have rallied around Director Fox to empower and enable him to deny to North Cantonians an accounting - chapter and verse - how he came to arrive at his advice to the councilpersons.

      Director Fox is not sharing with North Cantonians the specifics of how he arrived at his advice to North Canton council members or Ordinance 5?

      How could that be?

      How about council hiding under what is known as being the "attorney/client privilege?"

      And it has to be council, for the privilege does not belong to the attorney, it belongs to the client.

      So, the SCPR cornered four of the councilpersons last night after the meeting and asked them whether or not they individually are willing to waive the privilege for each and every one of themselves?

      Here are their responses.

      To top off the evenings event in which council members Snyder, Kiesling and Werren gushed with apologies for not following the will of North Canton's voters, the SCPR lodged some really tough, head-on questions with council president Jon Snyder.

      Undoubtedly, Snyder could not have been happy with these questions, but he answered them.

      His answering the questions is more can be said for the likes of Stark County Democratic Party Randy Gonzalez, Stark County Democratic Party Central Committee appointed sheriff George T. Maier, Stark County Democratic Party Board of Elections member Deametrious St. John, Stark County GOP chairman Jeff Matthews and Republican state Representative Christina Hagan.

      Most Stark County elected/appointed officials do "face the music" of answering SCPR "pointed" questions when strange things appear to be happening on their watch, but not Gonzalez, not Maier, not Matthews and not Hagan.


      Here is Snyder last night "facing the [SCPR's] music!"

      Here is Sndyer in a kaleidoscope of film footage apologizing "all over creation - now that I have been caught" on ignore "the will of the North Canton people."

      Last night, North Cantonians assembled at council meeting saw an "old-fashion" evangelical-church-esque altar call in a "come to Jesus" moment.

      Here is Marcia Kiesling apologizing.

      Here is Stephanie Werren,

      And last week the SCPR wrote an article (LINK) on Councilman Daniel "Jeff" Peters (Ward 2) making contrition.

      But for the "Hell, Fire and Brimstone" administered by North Canton's civic activists, would there have been any repentance?

      The SCPR thinks not.

      Apologies are one thing; action is another.

      At a Snyder initiative, Council last night began consideration of an ordinance mirroring Osborne's Ordinance 5.

      And - as pointed out in the Public Speaks - there is no need for the ordinance to be declared "to be an emergency."  For even if passed last night, it will not go into effect until December, 2015.

      Council is not allowed - by virtue of Ohio statutory law - to pass legislation on council pay/benefits that impacts on the council passing the legislation.

      And there was a bonus.

      Councilman Doug Foltz announced that he was going to be hard pressed to ever again vote for "emergency" legislation.


      Guess who has been complaining about that happening all too often?

      You've got it, one Chuck Osborne - civic activist "persisting and enduring" City of North Canton, Ohio.

      Osborne, McCleaster, Conley, Balas-Bratton and scores of many other Stark Countians who make the sacrifice of having their good names slammed by errant public officials are the unsung heroes of Stark County.

      Proof of whether or not Snyder, Werren, Peters and Kiesling are truly repentant will not be forthcoming on the health care issue unless and until they compel Law Director Tim Fox to explain to North Canton voters the chapter and verse of "the primrose path" the SCPR thinks he created for North Canton council!

      Who is in charge, North Canton's city council members or Law Director Tim Fox?

      We shall see in coming weeks, no?


      Where Is The Healthcare Story?  Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 2:39 PM

      From:   Chuck Osborne

      To  Robert Wang 


              Robert Cyperski 
              Martin Olson
              Gayle Beck
              1 More...

      Hello Robert,

      I am growing increasingly concerned as to why the story on the Healthcare Ordinance and the brazen violation of that Ordinance by members of City Council, with the support of the Law Director, has not been published.

      This should be a front-page headline story in the Repository. Here you have a City Law Director who is surreptitiously subverting a lawfully enacted ordinance that was overwhelmingly approved by the voters 3 to 1 in the November 6, 2012,

      General Election and who is actively encouraging elected officials to violate the law.

      The path followed by citizens to enact this Ordinance was long and arduous, and the required process was followed to the letter.

      The City was duly alerted on May 9, 2012, that a petition was being circulated to gather signatures with the goal of placing the issue on the ballot. The City was provided a certified copy of the ballot language.

      On June 7, 2012, the City was presented with petitions containing 1,108 signatures for review and submission to the Stark County Board of Elections for validation.

      On June 15, 2012, The Stark county Board of Elections issued a letter certifying the validity of 1, 090 signatures, far in excess of the 746 signatures needed to place the issue on the ballot.

      On July 5, 2012, the North Canton Finance Director, Karen Alger, and Clerk of Council, Gail Kalpac, co-signed a letter to the Stark County Board of Elections stating, “Notice is hereby given that in pursuance of a resolution passed by the

      Members of Council of the City of North Canton, Stark County, Ohio, on the 5th day of July, 2012, there will be submitted to the vote of the qualified electors of said city, at the General election to be held November 6, 2012.…”

      On November 6, 2012, the Healthcare Initiative, known as Issue 5, passed overwhelmingly with 6,480 votes (71.76%) YES and 2,550 votes (28.24%) NO.

      On November 27, 2012, the Stark County Board of Elections certified the vote, and according to ORC 731.31, became law on the fifth day after the Board of Elections certified the official vote. Issue 5 became a lawfully enacted Ordinance December 2, 2012.

      North Canton’s part-time elected officials had ample warning, a full year’s notice, that come December 1, 2013, the beginning of the next term of City Council and the Mayor, they all would have to comply with the Healthcare Ordinance.

      If the City, or the Law Director, had any questions or objections to the lawfully enacted Ordinance, why were they not raised prior to December 1, 2013?

      Why would elected officials openly violate a City Ordinance based on secret assurances from the Law Director in backroom private meetings that the Ordinance was invalid?

      When was the public going to be made aware of any of this?

      My point in all of this is to ask if it is your editors who are holding up this story? Knowing that your Editorial Board has undertaken to support the Jackson – Plain – Canton Agreement, wholeheartedly (with several editorials urging passage), I question whether it is the intent of the Repository to shield North Canton City Council from controversy or distraction until the agreement is passed by City Council.

      The violation of a lawfully enacted City Ordinance by City Officials is simply “government out of control” and it is hard to fathom that a paper that holds itself out to protect and further democratic ideals is failing in those pursuits!

      When is this issue going to appear?

      Thank you,

      Chuck Osborne

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