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Taylor takes over treasurer's office



Published: Wed, May 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A defeated Patricia Leon-Games is considering a run for mayor in two years.

By AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- If results are what citizens want to see, John Taylor says he's ready to deliver.

Taylor was the voters' choice Tuesday to become the city's next treasurer, ousting incumbent Patricia Leon-Games by capturing nearly 55 percent of the vote. Taylor has no opposition in the November general election.

Taylor commended the treasurer "for a truly fine race" and said he couldn't have done it without the support of his friends, his wife, Sally, and his daughter, Shelley.

"Tonight is a great night for Warren, Ohio," he said. "I think the citizens are tired of all the bickering, and they want to see results."

Taylor, 52, is president of Paige & amp; Byrnes Insurance and says his financial background will serve the city well. He's also a member of Trumbull 100, a nonprofit organization working to enhance the community and its schools.

Comeback plans: Leon-Games, who was seeking her fourth term, was in good spirits Tuesday night and said voters have not seen the last of her.

"I had big-time politicians working against me," she said, explaining that Taylor and his backers had more campaign funds to work with, and that the Republican Party worked to oust her.

Leon-Games said she's giving serious consideration to tackling another political post in two years -- the mayor's seat.

Trumbull County Commissioner Michael J. O'Brien also has expressed interest in the race. Mayor Hank Angelo hasn't said if he'll seek a third term.

Leon-Games defeated former mayor Daniel Sferra in 1990 to capture the treasurer's post, which was made full time that year.

Changes: City council voted earlier this year to make the treasurer's post part time to handle city investments, and a tax administrator will be hired to handle tax collections.

Council is considering legislation to eliminate the income tax department and to put the tax administrator under the leadership of the city auditor.

Leon-Games said she feels bad for the citizens of Warren.

"The administration now will have full control of all city finances," she noted.

A state performance audit earlier this year was critical of Leon-Games' department, saying it was not proactive with collections and could have been generating as much as $2.2 million in additional revenues each year.

The city laid off employees in 2000, when parks closed and other cuts were made, to head off a budget shortfall.

The treasurer maintains her understaffed department did the best it could, and has said the audit was based in part on incorrect information. The state auditor's office continues to stand behind its findings.

Despite the criticism, the income tax department under Leon-Games boasted record collections in 2000, bringing in about $14.6 million, as compared with about $14 million in 1999.

davis@vindy.com




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