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TRUMBULL COUNTY Board curtails actions of health administrator



Published: Tue, April 2, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The administrator's lack of higher education was cited as the reason for the directive.

By STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The Trumbull County Board of Health has ordered George Buccella, the health department administrator, to stop visiting problem areas and talking to the press about environmental problems.

Buccella also will no longer be permitted to serve in any capacity for the Geauga-Trumbull Solid Waste District, where he was recently elected vice chairman of the polilcy committee , says a memo sent by Vincent Catuogno, the health commissioner, after the last health board meeting.

"Whoever it was on the board that wanted to do that, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but I'll follow the directive," said Buccella, who was hired as administrator two years ago at a salary of $41,600 a year.

Offered opinions: Since that time, Buccella estimated that he had gone out perhaps 18 times, at the request of other health department staffers, to offer his opinion on environmental health problems like the discovery of arsenic in the village of Braceville's water or failing septic systems around Mosquito Lake.

Buccella also frequently served as health department spokesman in the absence of the health commissioner.

Catuogno works part time under a contract that allows him to work up to 24 hours a week from home. He could not be reached to comment.

The health board decided to curtail Buccella's activities because he lacks the education board members require, said Dr. Douglas Burchett.

"He really can't make a decision on an issue that requires a registered sanitarian to handle," Burchett said. "We don't want any false info getting out."

Misidentification: The board was, in part, reacting to comments by Buccella in another newspaper. There, he was identified as deputy health commissioner, Burchett said.

Buccella is a graduate of Niles McKinley High School and a former Weathersfield Township trustee and aide to U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. of Poland, D-17th. He has no formal training in environmental health.

Buccella said he was never explained the logic of the health board's decision, made during lengthy closed-door sessions before and after the March meeting.

"I really don't mind at all," Buccella said. "I'm sure I have plenty of responsibility without these additional things added to my workload."

siff@vindy.com




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