Friday, November 14, 2014


UPDATED:  09:12 AM





As written in the previous two blogs concerning the "troubles, troubles & more troubles" being experienced in Massillon government these days, "every which way" Massillon officials turn these days there are seemingly nothing but troubles, to wit:
The SCPR's analysis is that the troubles for the most part are owing to the belligerence of the Katherine Catazaro-Perry adminstration vis-a-vis a majority of Massillon City Council members as fueled by her two key "kitchen-cabinet-esque" political advisers; namely, Massillon Clerk of Courts Johnnie A. Maier, Jr. and his sycophantic associate and deputy clerk of courts R. Shane Jackson.

The shame of all this is that the citizens of Massillon are caught in the middle.

The constant bickering and infighting between the "looking for a fight" mayor and council is making day-in, day-out citizen victims of their own government in terms of less and less services.

It has been a tortured road since Catazaro-Perry prompted the State of Ohio Auditor on October 8, 2013 to declare Massillon to be in a state of fiscal emergency.

As primarily responsible individuals are apt to do, Mayor Kathy in pointing her finger at others.

She blames council and at a deeper lever former mayor Francis H. Cicchinelli, Jr. for the city's current financial troubles.

With respect to council, she is the one who has exploded in anger several times over her three years as mayor at various council members and squared up her jaw and glared at a disagreeing council members and thereby made it clear that she is a "my way or the highway" public official who brooks no opposition.

The result?

She and council find it difficult at best to abide one another.

She opposed the first tax issue and "sat on her hands" on the second one and thereby bears responsibility, in part, for the measures' defeat leaving the city in desperate need for cash.

A nuance example of differences between the administration and council came Monday night with the appearance of Judge C. Roland Centrone before council.


What does the court and council having differences have to do with the administration?

The SCPR's take is that the mayor is not her own person as a public official and is propped up by and controlled by three people all of whom happen to serve in the Massillon Court system together like hand-in-glove.

And the three are?

Maier, Jackson and Judge Eddie Elum.

Here is a LINK for readers to check out.

The link is to the Canton Municipal Court.  See any of this "honorable" stuff there?

Here is another LINK (Alliance).

Okay, Judge Zumbar is described as the Honorable Andrew L. Zumbar.

And the SCPR is okay with that inasmuch as it has been "traditional" to address courts that way.

But the clerk of courts?  

Only in Massillon!

Not Canton, not Alliance.

Does this tell just a little about Johnnie A. Maier, Jr's ego?

Being "honorable" does not come from a title, it comes from honorably perceived conduct by those of us who observe from the sidelines.

Or, as Mother Olson used to say:  "pretty is as pretty does."

And we all know that Judge Elum has had his issues with his conduct as pointed out by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Back in 2010, he wrote the SCPR an intemperate, derogatory e-mail and threatened to file a disciplinary complaint because The Stark County "Political" Report had the audacity to chime in on his political dispute with the Massillon Police Department chief of police.

Yours truly has been waiting for an apology ever since.

Undoubtedly, "Hell will freeze over first."

The "Honorable" Judge Edward J. Elum apparently does not apologize to anybody unless "brought to heel" by the Ohio Supreme Court.

And even at that, he got a mere "slap on the wrist."

But the SCPR is a big boy who signs his name to everything The Report writes, unlike, The Report thinks, Elum's pals Maier and Jackson who yours truly believes to have been "the anonymous" factors behind the now defunct Massillon Review.

An example of bluster and bombast from "behind the curtain?"

Hopefully, Judge Elum has schooled himself on the SCPR's and others' right under the United States of America Constitution to write political opinion pieces.

Now to the real story behind Judge Centrone's appearance at Massillon City Council.

The issue?

The Massillon court wants to raise the pay of four court employees a total of some $6,000.

And Massillon's council needs to authorize the raises.

Six thousand dollars and council objects?

You've got to be kidding me, no?

Not really.

And you might ask:  Doesn't that make council look bad?


It could be that some members of council don't have real objections to Centrone's request but know of the mayor's close ties with Elum, Maier and Jackson and therein lies "the real rub."

These council folks might be "bound and determined" that they are not going to be a party to having something "rammed down their throats," no?

Councilman Paul Manson, the SCPR thinks, is the primary person who carries the ball in resisting any additional expenditures on the part of the court - especially in these financial hard times.

Over the years that the SCPR has covered Massillon City Council, Councilman Manson (Democrat councilman-at-large) has consistently opined to The Report that what was once a manageable obligation for Massillon to foot most of the bill for the operation of the Massillon courts has gotten completely out of hand.

In this video of a SCPR interview with him on Monday, Manson adds to Monday's discussion by council with Judge Roland Centrone the issue of whether or not council will approve the requested pay raises.

As was pointed out (see Centrone/council video below) by Councilman Ed Lewis, IV (Republican - Ward 5 and the SCPR thinks a likely candidate to oppose the mayor in the 2015 election) it is hard for him to swallow getting pay raises of any description given that nobody else in Massillon government is getting raises.

Councilman Milan Chovan (Republican; councilman-at-Large) plans on meeting with Judge Centrone within the next week or two in order to seek common ground with the court on the matter of the pay raises.

What the SCPR does not recall being articulated in the back and forth between Centrone and council is this question which certainly implied if not expressed stated:

"How does giving four court employees a raise make them more productive?"

Centrone, The Report thinks, in a subtle way, in saying that he (presumably in concert with Elum) considered ordering council to do the will of the court on the matter raised the spectre that such could actually end up being the resolution if council did not fall into line.

Moreover, Centrone brought up his assessment that the court could use two additional employees to deal with additional duties placed on all Ohio courts by Ohio General Assembly "unfunded mandates."

Apparently, his bringing up the "we could use two additional employees" argument to make the "give us $6,000 or so additional" seem to be "small potatoes" by comparison.

Judge the exchange for yourself.  Here is a video of the entire Centrone/council interaction.

Note Centrone's seeming promise to council that the proposed raises were to be limited to the specific employees proposed for a raise and would not carryover to their replacements when they terminate their employment, presumably at retirement time.

To the SCPR, such an approach on the part of a judge is unbelievable.

To be funny, Councilman Lewis interrupted him to say:  "Martin, did you record that."

Even funnier, was the judge saying that he did not mind being recorded.

So there are light moments in all the infighting.

The real point of the exchange was a concern by the inquiring council members that they were not being snookered into agreeing to a structural change in permanent classifications which would balloon into costly and enduring additional costs to Massillon taxpayers going indefinitely into the future.

The Report liked this line of inquiry by those council persons doing such in that it was a demonstration of the proper role for council to be taking on.

An interesting twist to the exchange between the court and council is that two weeks ago Judge Elum was present at a work session to make the argument for the court.

The Report is told that he left because he had another obligation and he was not going to able to get before council on a timely basis and still meet the other obligation.

But the SCPR is somewhat skeptical of the reason given.

Could it be that Elum figured out he was not likely to get a friendly reception and therefore thought the better and perhaps more productive route was to back off and send Centrone in?

Other than the Maier connection, there is the fact that his wife Margaret who is an administrative assistant (coming full circle) to guess who?

You've got it!

Massillon mayor Katherine Catazaro-Perry who the SCPR thinks a number council persons "really" do not like.

As seen in the video of Centrone's time before council, he did not exactly get treated with "kid gloves by council.

Council members were civil but persistent in challenging the judge to justify the court's request in light of the city dire financial condition.

All too may times, especially in North Canton, the SCPR has seen council abrogate its duty to the taxpaying public to vet administration officials on money issues and on policy implementation matters.

Certain Canton council members (Morris, Fisher, Mariol, Mack, Schulman, Smuckler, Hart and West come to mind) are first-rate "inquiring minds"

The Report thinks that they have made William J. Healy, II a better mayor however reluctant he may be to learn that in running a city he must have a working relationship with council.

Citizens "by name" going public and holding public officials accountable is the very high calling for us all in this our democratic republic of the United States of America.

There is no doubt that there are a number of Stark County elected officials (The Report' focus) who think they are unaccountable.

If anyone dare hold them accountable, they are apt to "huff and puff" and threaten "to blow the house in."

To the SCPR, such behavior is antithetical to the effective functioning of our "check and balance" system of government.

The bullies, the unaccountables fail to reckon with the reality that there are other public officials and a core of citizens and some of us in the media who will stand up to them.

The clash of "the accountability faction" and those who deem themselves unaccountable is why in Massillon and many other places across this "Great Land of Ours" are plagued with "troubles, troubles and more troubles."

So be it.

Democratic-republicanism is messy.

But there is no better system across the globe for non-titled persons to live in.

Out of these political conflicts a terrific society called America the Beautiful has emerged!

God Bless America!!!

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