Monday, June 30, 2014


As we all know, "the worm turns" in ever so many directions.

Who knows, including itself, where a worm will end up?

In this instance, we are analogizing "as the worm turns" to working for  politicos.

For Mary Beth Bailey:  Masillon's clerk of council, since 2003, the ups and downs of working for politicians has been more trying experience than figuring out the next movement of an earthworm.

It was a moment of triumph for her when she was appointed this past Friday as North Canton's clerk of council by 6 to 0 North Canton City Council vote.

For she was definitely under a lot of pressure as applied by Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry "to move on" from being Massillon's clerk of council.

Since the days that the mayor was a Massillon city council person (first elected in 2003 as a Democrat, Ward 3), she has steadfastly pursued Bailey's removal.

As far as the SCPR is concerned, Massillon suffered a loss and North Canton a huge gain in landing Bailey.

Writing about the Bailey appointment as clerk presents an opportunity for the Stark County Political Report to deal with a number of political issues/phenomenon that touches on a number of Stark County political entities.
  • Stark County itself: Bailey's successful run in county government,
  • Massillon: Bailey's trials and tribulations in Massillon at the hand of councilperson/mayor Catazaro-Perry and the Johnnie A. Maier, Jr political machine,
  • North Canton: as the prospect of her working for His Majesty, Tim Fox, the law director of The Dogwood City, and
  • The twists and turns of "insider politics" when it comes to appointments by North Canton City Council
To their credit, most members of Massillon City Council supported Bailey in facing down Johnnie A. Maier, Jr protege Catazaro-Perry.  She probably could have hung on had she not been selected by North Canton.

But being the object of what the SCPR thinks was an unwarranted attack by the Maier forces is not a whole lot of fun and therefore it was no surprise at all to see Bailey's name on the upwards of 100 names list of applicants to the post that became available on or about June 1st when long time Massillon clerk of council Gail Kalpac retired - The Report thinks - because of the utter impossibility of working for Fox.

It appears to the SCPR that the self-described (to the SCPR) "tough man," has in effect maneuvered himself into being the unelected head of North Canton government.

As far as The Report is concerned, North Canton City Council and the mayor have allow Fox to run amok and consequently, next year's election could see the introduction of candidates for council and the mayoralty with the primary issue being "reining Fox in."

It could be a case for Bailey that she has "jumped from the frying pan into the fire" in agreeing to take the North Canton job.

As impossible as Fox seems to be to work for, undoubtedly, Bailey being forewarned, will come equipped to deal with it.  Out of her Massillon experience she is practiced in working in "uncomfortable" environs.

Bailey started out her career in local government in June of 1986 when she took a job with the Multi-County Juvenile Attention Center located in Canton.  She worked there until 1997.

In 1997, she switched over to the Stark County auditor's office where she worked for now Stark County commissioner Janet Weir Creighton.

In March, 2003 she was appointed as clerk of council by Massillon City Council by the-them members:
  • Tim Bryan (Democrat/at-large), 
  • Jim Filhour (Republican/at-large),
  • Mike Loudiana (Democrat-large),
  • Ronald Mang (Democrat - Ward 1),
  • William Aman (Democrat - Ward 2),
  • Claudette Istnick (Republican - Ward 3),
  • Gloria Autrey (Democrat - Ward 4),
  • Glenn Gamber (Democrat - Ward 5), and
  • Paul Lambert (Democrat - Ward 6)
In Bailey's case, her foremost squirmy "political" worm is none other than Massillon mayor Kathy Catazaro Perry.

It seems to The Report that Bailey's happiest public employment was with Janet Creighton when she was Stark County auditor.

Here is what the SCPR wrote on February 8, 2011:
In the course of conversation with Bailey [reference: a SCPR visit to Massillon City Council], The Report learned she once worked for Janet Creighton as auditor.  "Oh, [from The Report] you must be a Republican."  "No," she responded "I'm a Democrat" and then she went on to describe how she was hired into the auditor's office by Creighton notwithstanding her Democratic Party credentials.

Bailey described in detail the non-partisan way in which she was treated and the attention that Creighton pays to her employees and how so very much Janet Creighton is 24/7 the genuine, caring person she seems to be.

And let the SCPR emphasize, everybody in Massillon government except for Catazaro-Perry and now council president Tony Townsend have appreciated Bailey's work.

The thinking on the part of some Massillon council persons is that the mayor and the council president are front persons for clerk of courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr  who, it is thought, covets the council clerk position "for one of their own."

An ironic twist to the Bailey appointment in North Canton has been the failure of a well known North Canton civic activist to see her appointment coming.

The activist was convinced from the day the application list was revealed that a David Held protege; namely, Jamie Grippi, Operations and Planning Manager at the Stark, Tuscarawas, Wayne Joint Solid Waste Management District (Solid Waste) would be Kalpac's successor.

Held, in addition to being North Canton mayor, is the CEO at Solid Waste.

And the SCPR thinks there was good reason for the activist to believe that Grippi would be North Canton Council's choice.

Looking at her resume (extract presented below), it seems that she has impressive credentials :

In recent years, North Canton City Council has been plagued by "inside politics."  Accordingly, the activist's thinking has some basis in the prior conduct of council and the administration.

As was pointed out by Councilperson-at-large Marcia Kiesling during last Monday's council meeting, nearly every existing member of council (excluding only members Foltz and Griffith) has been appointed to council by the remaining council members.

And throw in a few law directors and at least one administrator (Grimes, North Canton's former police chief) and some others, it seems as if those with an inside connection ended up with a city of North Canton job.

But the SCPR believes that council and Fox were caught unawares on the precipitous resignation/retirement of Kalpac.  Because of the key and vital role that a clerk of council has in the smooth and effective functioning of council, The Report thinks that council - as a matter of survival as a credible part of North Canton government - was forced to abandon its "insider" propensities and sift through the applications for a person who had direct experience in working for a city/village council.

Hence, the North Canton political worm had turned favorably for the  beleaguered in Massillon clerk of council and what have not been possible (if council and Fox had more time to recover from the "sprung upon them" Kalpac retirement) under different circumstances became a "no brainer" given Bailey's resume.

From 1956 through 2012, there was a television soap opera entitled As the World Turns" viewed by millions upon millions of Americans.

In Stark County today, it might well be appropriate to describe the "ebbs and flows," the "ins and outs," and the "ups and downs" as being a Stark County version of the 44 year running soap opera except that a more apt title for the political machinations is "As the Worm Turns."

Do not expect that North Canton has turned over a new leaf in actually going out and getting the best qualified person for clerk of council in Mary Beth Bailey.

The SCPR fully expects that the clerk of council process was an aberration and that with the next appointment the "worm will turn" once again to politics as usual.

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