“…who said Chuck Osborne was a ‘bad apple’? He looks like a smart cookie to me."

Denny Grooms
Letter to the Editor
Canton Repository
March 2, 2002




Did you know ... that Mayor Rice called Councilman Osborne a “bad apple” for daring to question ...

This is the text of a public speaks made at a North Canton City Council meeting on January 28, 2002. The message was so eloquent that I wanted to share it with the residents of the city and not let it go unnoticed in the archives of past council minutes.

Chuck Osborne
September 13, 2003

I thank this council for the opportunity to speak this evening. My comments tonight revolve around the events of January 14 council's meeting regarding the J Group contract with the city.

My concerns are not the contract that was approved, but rather the manner of debate on this issue and its precedence for the council. This council chamber must be a place where individuals can express their opinions without fear of personal attack. It must be a place where questions can be asked and concerns raised. This council chamber must be a place where those questions and concerns are addressed in an honest and forthright manner. This council chamber must be a place where the debate is over issues, not personalities. Only through honest intellectual debate of the issues can this council hope to generate sound legislation and wisely spend the taxpayer’s money.

I hesitate to call the debate at January 14th council meeting a debate at all. After Councilman Osborne, who was the lone councilman against the J Group contract, was given an opportunity to speak early in the debate; he was never given the opportunity to speak again; even though he asked to be recognized on at least four other occasions. When Mr. Osborne asked one final time to be recognized, Mr. Foltz stated, "Point of order Jon, let's vote point of order" and Mr. McLaughlin seconded, thus ending the "debate". Although this might be "a legal move”, what is legal and what is ethical are sometimes two very different things.

The American Heritage Dictionary definition of debate is to discuss opposing points. Unfortunately for the City of North Canton and its constituents, on January 14th only one side was fully heard. One wonders what harm could have occurred by allowing Mr. Osborne another opportunity to speak. Honest intellectual debate must always be about issues. Mayor Rice referred to Mr. Osborne as a bad apple.

This strategy of attacking a person rather than addressing issues has unfortunately become all too common strategy in politics today. This strategy of personal attack benefits no one. The City of North Canton loses because the discussion no longer focuses on the issues. Mr. Osborne loses because his concerns are not fairly addressed. Mr. Rice loses because he fails to debate the issues.

Mr. Mayor, if asking questions and raising concerns makes one a bad apple I would like to proudly join that list with Mr. Osborne. It would be a badge of honor that I will proudly wear. As councilmen you are charged with the responsibility of faithfully executing your office. Part of this responsibility is to independently verify the facts; not just accept information given to you. At January 7th council meeting Mayor Rice stated that Teri Johnson from the J Group was, "the person responsible primarily for putting this (referring to the Massillon Alive Schedule of Events brochure) together over the last several years." I have a copy of memo that Mr. Osborne graciously provided me, that he supplied to all councilmen in regards to his research on this issue. It specifically references the individuals he talked to, their telephone numbers and the specific nature of his conversation. This is a well documented piece of research, which can be easily verified by any one of you individuals here.

Based upon what Mr. Osborne's research indicated, it appears that Teri Johnson had very little to do with this brochure. When you're looking to hire someone, either as an employee or a consultant, it is your obligation to verify their resume. Just because the J Group is headed up by former mayor David Johnson, does not automatically give him a free pass. We all know what happened at Notre Dame when the university failed to verify their football coach's resume. And I as a Catholic can say that if you wanted to hire Pope John Paul II as a consultant, I would want his references checked out also. This is just good business.

In conclusion, there must be a new openness in this council that encourages different viewpoints. Council is made up of seven people for a reason, so that a diversity of opinion can be heard. We can have and we must have honest debate of the issues. The result is always a better idea than what we started out with. The very foundation of our republic, the Constitution, was fashioned only after much debate over the issues. If this honest debate had not occurred, the first ten amendments to our constitution, our bill of rights, might not exist today. This is the greatest nation because we encourage debate of the issues; not discourage it. Thank you,

Glenn Saylor
North Canton, Ohio

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