Wednesday, June 25, 2014



In all of Stark County government, there could not be a "greater contrast in style" than that manifested by Canton mayor William J. Healy, II and Frank Morris, III.

And the context of the leadership roles (Healy as mayor of Canton; Morris as majority leader [vice president] of Canton City Council), put the two - at times - at loggerheads with one another.

Beyond their official roles which sometimes puts them at odds with one another, one gets the feeling that these two "down deep-in" do not like one another.

About the only similarity between the two is the fact that the two proudly bear the names of their paternal forebearers.

While day-in, day-out union dues paying member Councilman Frank Morris does wear a suit to Canton City Council meetings, one has the distinct feeling that he feels rather uncomfortable doing so.

But the Heavens Forbid! should William J. Healy, II be caught dead in wearing "jeans," especially in the world of officialdom.

About nine months ago, Mayor Healy visited Morris in the hallowed halls of Canton's Ward 9 which Morris zealously represents.

As pictured above, Healy was in a suit whereas Morris was decked out in jeans and a plaid shirt.
  • Sidenote: as the SCPR suggested in October, 2013 he would, Morris has become Canton council's majority leader.
Truly, this picture is worth not one thousand but ten thousand words in communicating the differences in style between the two men.

At a certain level both play the game of "apparently" working together for public consumption purposes for the betterment of Ward 9 and the other eight wards of the city of Canton, but in terms of approach there could not be a more marked difference in approach that these two demonstrate.

But as The Stark County Political Report has written frequently over the past six years, for Mayor Healy there is only one way to work for the improvement of Canton and that is under the auspicious of "TeamHealy" with guess who at the head of everything?

Morris, on the other hand, is willing to work rather anonymously with his fellow councilpersons and as "one of many" within the context of his Ward 9.

Healy the second is an Adlai Stevenson (the urbane, the sophisticated, the intellectual) type Democrat.  Morris the third is a Harry S. Truman ("rough and tumble," "the buck stops here," in-your-face, roll up your sleeves) style Democrat.

They are like "two ships passing in the night" insofar as achieving objectives is concerned.

Given the Morris brusque way of operating, it was no surprise for the SCPR to receive yesterday a copy of a letter that he sent to the Canton Repository yesterday.


Who’s to blame here? As the ward 9 councilmen [sic] I have taken a beating for months regarding potholes, high grass, and dilapidated properties. Yes I understand that this is what I have signed up for and get paid to do. I accept my responsibility as a councilmen and do my very best to represent my ward. Fellow council members and I have attended numerous meetings in the last few months to resolve these issues that face our community.
Yet it still appears that we as council members are not getting the job done.
As the legislated authority we can pass new laws to hold people accountable. We as council members cannot enforce the laws we pass nor do we control the parties that have taken the oath to enforce our laws.  We as council members can pass legislation to enable the City of Canton to contract with landscaper but we can’t administer these companies. We as council members can request a property be placed on the demo list but we can’t guaranty the property will be razed even after council has voted to approve it.

I may appear that I am throwing people under the bus or playing the blame game here.
My intent is only to defend my fellow council members.
They do report your issues, they fight for better service and they do care about our neighborhoods. We are real people with families, fulltime jobs, and work for the betterment of our community. So please remember that if that pothole is still there, if the neighbors grass hasn’t been cut, and the boarded up house is still standing there is a 90% chance it’s not your council members fault.

Frank Morris
Ward 9 Councilmen
(Note:  color of text change added by SCPR for emphasis)
Now why would majority leader Morris think that "it may appear he is throwing people under the bus?

Maybe, because - by clear implication - he is?

Call it collateral "political damage" or whatever you want, the SCPR does not think this letter is going to set well with Healy administration officials.

But the mayor and relevant department heads should not be surprised that Morris would write the letter he has written.

Morris' specialty in government seems to be acting as "the bull in the china shop."

The bull doesn't intend to obliterate the china, but "after-all," there is that "red flag" to get, no?

As the SCPR sees it, Canton is in such bad shape these days from years and years of largely ineffective government (many of those years presided over by Republican chief executive officers) that perhaps the time is ripe for a Frank Morris type (immediate and direct action) to become a focal point of turning Canton around.

Nearly six years of urbane leadership is at best static.  Many think that Canton is losing ground under the political finesse and manipulation style of Mayor Healy.

The SCPR has talked with a number of Canton councilpersons about the Morris letter.  And these are council people who are more or less friendly towards Majority Leader Morris.

The consensus?

Morris is acting out of a sense of frustration in the context of "really, really caring" about the neighborhoods and core city of Canton" and seemingly not making much progress.

Another sentiment seems to be that the Healy administration is plagued with one miscue after another miscue after another miscue.

Most appear to The Report to be giving the mayor and his department heads "the benefit of any doubts" on the issue of intent to do beneficial things for the taxpaying citizens of Canton.

One councilman gives streets superintendent Michael Roarar high marks for creative and innovative ways that he is coming up with in maintaining and upgrading Canton streets and roadways after decades of insidious neglect.

Even though the SCPR has been a consistent and constant critic of Mayor Healy for being "unduly political (i.e. manipulative) in his administration of Canton, The Report thinks he wants the very best for Canton.

After all, if Canton thrives so does his political career.

Bottom line though is the question of whether or not his style of leadership is effective.

After six years of stagnation if not continued decline, isn't it refreshing to have a Frank Morris come along who does not sugarcoat things!

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