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WARREN Officials appoint former critic to children services board

Published: Thu, May 24, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.

Atty. John Leopardi had criticized the board after a term as a member.

WARREN -- Atty. John Leopardi is rejoining the Trumbull County Children Services Board, three years after creating a stir by publicly criticizing the board and its former director.

County commissioners voted 2-1 Wednesday to appoint Leopardi to a new seat on the board. The appointment is for three years.

"A fine gentleman," said Commissioner James G. Tsagaris. "I think he will be a big asset to the board."

Leopardi had just finished a eight-year stint with the board in 1998 when he read a statement at a board meeting, criticizing the board and then-director Craig H. Neuman for using taxpayer money to feed its staff and allowing asbestos to remain in buildings that house children.

Board action: In the following months, the board spent $10,000 to remove the asbestos, which the president of the board said had been exposed and made dangerous through vandalism.

Neuman suspended the staff meetings in a restaurant, which cost $38,937 over about 21/2 years.

Neuman retired as director in November 1998 and now works as an attorney for the board.

"I worked with [Leopardi] before and we got along before, so I anticipate no problems this time," said Lillie Johnson, board chairman.

Commissioners Joseph J. Angelo Jr. and Tsagaris voted for Leopardi's appointment. Michael O'Brien cast the dissenting vote.


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