Finance committee members said the relocation plans were a year old. The outfit is moving to Austintown.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- News that the Eastgate Regional Council of Governments is moving its offices from Youngstown to Austintown came as a shock to Youngstown Mayor George McKelvey.
But John Getchey, Eastgate executive director, and members of the group's finance/executive committee said the move was never a secret and there was no intent to blindside anyone.
Eastgate is a regional planning agency made up of elected officials from communities in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
"This didn't just come up out of nowhere," said Struthers Mayor Dan Mamula. "It's been discussed since the beginning of the year."
McKelvey complained that the group's finance/executive committee made the decision to move without taking the matter to the full general policy board for a vote. He said he was unaware of the move until he was notified by letter earlier this month.
"I don't understand how board members could not know about a relocation of an agency. I think that's a pretty major decision," McKelvey said.
McKelvey is one of 10 members on the finance/executive committee but said he does not attend the meetings. He sends a staff member to represent him instead.
Response: Getchey said the city did not have a representative at the Oct. 31 finance/executive committee meeting, at which the relocation was decided. There have been city delegates at past meetings when it was discussed, though, he said.
The committee has the authority to make such decisions, according to Getchey, Mamula and Mahoning County Engineer Richard Marsico, also a member.
Getchey said the committee has members from both counties, including Youngstown and Warren. He said Eastgate's intent to relocate was always discussed openly, so the city should have known about it.
Mamula said that he understands McKelvey's being upset at losing a downtown tenant but that it's a regional agency and could be headquartered anywhere in Mahoning or Trumbull counties.
"Nobody has a claim to the office," he said. "We would love to have it in Struthers, but that's too far out of the way for people from up north."
Convenient location: Getchey said the new location, to which Eastgate is moving Saturday, is ideal because it's just off state Route 11 on Mahoning Avenue. It allows easy access and plenty of parking, something that's a problem at the downtown site.
"It's going to make it more accessible to more people," Marsico said.
Getchey said the finance/executive board has historically made decisions, even major ones, without going to the general policy board, which meets quarterly.
Getchey said the Eastgate office has been in Youngstown the past 17 years. At one time it was in Lordstown.