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MAHONING CO. Panel picks 3 judicial finalists



Published: Wed, May 23, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A former GOP chairman, an ex-MRDD board member and a finalist for the last judicial vacancy are the three recommended candidates.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The names of the three finalists for Mahoning County Court judge will be sent later this week to Gov. Bob Taft.

A six-member Mahoning County Republican Party committee interviewed the six applicants for the post Tuesday and determined which three were the most qualified.

Three named: The finalists are:

URobert R. Melnick of Green Township, a former part-time assistant Mahoning County prosecutor and a finalist for the county juvenile court judge position that went to Theresa Dellick last month.

ULoren Popio of Canfield, owner of a title agency and mediation firm and former county Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities board member.

UWarren "Bo" Pritchard of Austintown, a township trustee, former county Republican chairman and an unsuccessful candidate for county court judge in 2000.

"It was a difficult decision to make," said Mary Ann Bryan, Republican Party executive director and chairwoman, who served on the selection committee. "I hated my job this morning calling the three who weren't on the list because all six have good qualities."

Letter to Taft: The party will send out a letter to Taft later this week with the names of the three finalists. The governor will take up to two months to make his decision. Taft selected Judge Dellick, who was on the county court bench, for the juvenile court position in April after taking about a month to decide.

The three other county court judges and the court magistrate are filling in until a judge is selected.

The Mahoning County Bar Association, which traditionally deems whether candidates for vacant judicial seats are qualified for the jobs, is sitting this one out, Bryan said. That is because bar officials determined there wasn't enough time for the association to conduct a formal ballot of its members on the qualifications of the candidates for this seat, she said.

Whoever is selected for the county court seat will hold it until the end of 2002. The November 2002 election will determine who completes Judge Dellick's unexpired term, which runs through Jan. 2, 2007.

skolnick@vindy.com




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