Since the beginning of time, people have bartered and shown appreciation by giving monetary value to one another. In this post, I want to explore the idea of something that we all should be concerned about. Pay-to-Play is used to describe the actions of someone who donates money to a cause or individual and in some way receives a benefit from it. Pay-to-Play is all around us, and Barberton is not exempt.
Anytime a name or entity shows up on a contract within the City of Barberton and the contribution list for a political figure, we have to ask an important question. Does a contribution to the political figure signing the contract benefit the contributor? I know my answer, but you are free to insert your answer here.
In general, I want to be clear that we should not be able to tell someone how they can spend their money. To this point, it is not illegal to donate to a political campaign personally, but it is prohibited for a company to donate. This restriction is easily bypassed by owners or employees directly contributing.
According to local campaign reports, owners of constructions companies, paving companies, employees of engineering firms, and property developers all have shown up as large contributors to figures in the political landscape here in Barberton. At some point, albeit not illegal, we have to limit Pay-to-Play as much as possible. If we can’t stop people with blatant connections from donating to political figures, maybe it is time to clarify who the donors are and what their interactions are within the City of Barberton (including connected company names).
I have started to explore the best way during Council meetings to simply bring to light known connections between companies wanting to do work for the City of Barberton and contributors to political campaigns. All the information to put the puzzle together can be found publicly. Political figures must report contributions which are then made publicly available. Contracts between companies and the City of Barberton are public records. The issue is they are never side by side.
From here on out, I will be speaking publicly about known connections between contributors of any political figure in town and the contract work they are receiving. This will include professional service contracts which typically do not have to come in front of the City Council for approval.