NILES Council to discuss process for MVSD appointment

Council has 60 days to fill the post. The previous term expired Monday.
NILES -- City council is expected to discuss next week the procedure for interviewing applicants and appointing a representative to the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District.
The term of C. William Burgess, the city's representative on the board since 1998, expired Monday. Council has 60 days to fill the post.
Burgess, James Sylvester and Nick Bernard Sr. are seeking the post.
"I think we need to interview these three people individually," said Frank Fuda, D-1st, chairman of council's utilities committee. "The last time we had them on council floor, and I know those people were uncomfortable."
Preparation of questions: Fuda said at a utilities committee meeting Wednesday that he'd like each councilman to prepare some questions for the candidates.
"I think in this particular situation, we should do it as a group, as a council," he said of the interviewing.
Thomas Scarnecchia, D-at large, urged Fuda to get a legal opinion from J. Terrence Dull, city law director, regarding a possible conflict of interest before the process continues.
When council named its representative in 1998, Scarnecchia and Robert Marino Jr., D-at large, didn't vote because of a possible conflict of interest.
Bernard, who also sought the post in 1998, is a Niles school board member and both Scarnecchia and Marino work for the school district in administrative capacities. Now a third councilman falls into that category. Michael Lastic, D-2nd, is McKinley High School principal.
Stephen Papalas, D-at large, is a teacher at the high school but is a member of a union, so the conflict-of-interest issue didn't apply for him three years ago.
Knowing expectations: Fuda said council also should inform the candidates of what is expected of them.
"Bill Burgess did a good job, but we really just threw him in there," he said.
The 1998 appointment process was the first time council appointed a representative to the board. A state law had expanded the MVSD panel to four members.
The city councils and mayors of Niles and Youngstown each appoint a member.
Youngstown and Niles are the MVSD member cities.
The district supplies water from the Meander Reservoir to about 300,000 customers in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

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