Tuesday, March 29, 2016



A $350,000 



Canton City Council
Comprehensive Plan
Including Remarks 
Chris Smith (Ward 4)
Kevin Fisher (Ward 5)
Edmond Mack (Ward 8)
President Allen Schulman 


Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei
Hiring of Planner
Implementation of Plan

On March 1st, the SCPR published Part 1 in this series (LINK).

The theme of the March 1st blog was that Canton finds itself in a 460MM hole in having an up-to-date city in terms of its infrastructure and there are names to be named going back decades in the context of Canton legislative (city council) and executive (the mayor) functions.

Before last night's meeting, I spoke with Majority Leader Frank Morris, III; one of my favorite councilpersons in terms of him being a curmudgeonly political/government leader.

The topic?

Who is to blame for the hole Canton finds itself in.

It seemed to me that he was focusing on past mayors in "the blame game" talk.

"Well," I said "do you think Council has any part of the blame?"

Begrudgingly, he agreed that Councils have been partially to blame.

But only about 40% (the converse of my recollection that he put 60% of the blame on past city mayors).

The Stark County Political Report believes and blogs prolifically that the public should remember the names and deeds of those in the public sector have failed us.

So The Report compiled this list of former council members going back to about 1968.

There have been some 100 councilpersons who have served in Canton City Council going back for nearly 40 years.

Obviously, one cannot included Council-at-Large Thomas Harmon and Ward 3 councilman Jason Scaglione (both newly elected in November, 2015) as being part of the the problem.

But the list does include names of councilpersons still on council and a number of former mayors as well as the current mayor (Bernabei) and Deputy Mayor Fonda Williams.

Moreover, it includes the father of recently defeated mayor William J. Healy, II who himself aspired to be mayor but lost to Richard Watkins in 1999.

 And here is list of mayors going back to 1964.

These lists clearly constitute a "We Have Met the Enemy and He/She is Us," accounting to the Canton general public, no?

It seems that Morris' demarcation is not valid separation of categories of who is to blame.

The lesson of past failures of Canton legislators/mayors to protect/enhance the infrastructure of the city is that with the adoption of the comprehensive plan by a unanimous vote of council, Cantonians should require periodic accountings of taxpayer funds invested in plan and what the investment yielded in terms of quantifiable results.

(Councilpersons Speaking in Favor of Comprehensive Plan)

Mayor Bernabei has a very dicey problem on his hands in seeing to it that accountable structures of implementation of the plan are created.

In the past the mayor has endorsed the plan which endorsement he reiterated last night as seen in the foregoing video.

The SCPR thinks that the Canton public should look to him to ensure that things are done correctly in the sense that the structures of administration are productively functional and that the results are reported in an official "for the general public" accountability session on a minimum annual basis.

It is all well and good for Mayor Bernabei to include council members and other factors in the construction of the mechanisms implementing and administrating general fund taxpayer dollars invested in to the plan, but be it himself or a successor mayor, the "buck must stop" at the mayor's office.

Ward 5 councilman Kevin Fisher said last night that his vote was his most important in his time as a councilperson as seen in the video posted above.

And, it may be.  But he has a lot of undoing of harm to do before he can be satisfied that he is a net positive factor on council.

As far as the SCPR, he is digging himself out of a political hole of having played (LINK) political games with a few other councilpersons in trying to implant a poison pill in the ability a persons to run for and Cantonians to vote on the creation of a Canton Charter Commission.

He bears primary responsibility along with his union business agent friend David Kirven of Pipefitters and Plumbers Local #94 and the use of Jefferson-Jackson Democratic funds ($500) to help defeat the charter issue.

Fisher had better hope that more positive things come along for him to support as a councilman so that he can undo the damage that The Report thinks he and Kirven orchestrated in denying future councils and administrations the flexibility needed to adjust to the constantly changing need to provide effective governance.

Kudos to Councilwoman Chris Smith on her turnabout on the comprehensive plan.

All Cantonians have heard so far is talk.

It is now time for action AND accountability in the context of meaningful investment over a reasonable, sustainable period of time.

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