WARREN Official hasn't fulfilled residency rule
A union official says the city selectively enforces residency.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
and AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The city's building official, hired a year ago, is still not licensed to fill the position and still hasn't met the residency requirement.
Gary Cicero, human resource director, said officials have granted Wayne DaBelko of Everett Hull Road, Fowler, more time to get his license and to move into the city.
A residency requirement passed by city council in May 1991 says anyone hired as a city employee after that date is subject to a six-month probationary period.
After that period expires, employees have another six months to move in. DaBelko was hired April 2, 2001, meaning his grace period expired Tuesday. City officials said in January that DaBelko had until April 2, 2002, to move into the city.
"The city has decided to extend Wayne's probationary period to Aug. 9," Cicerco said. "This will give him time to get his license, and then he will have six months from the date he gets his license to move into the city."
Lee DeJacimo, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 74, which covers city workers, said his union takes issue with the way the city enforces the residency requirement.
Issue of fairness: "I think that if they're going to selectively enforce residency, council members should take it upon themselves to do away with it," DeJacimo said.
What's unfair, he added, is that union members are required to go to city officials periodically with documentation, such as a city utility bill, showing they live in Warren.
The city suspended DaBelko in January for five days for failing to maintain a valid driver's license -- a requirement of the job.
Officials learned his driving privileges were suspended because of his arrest on a DUI charge.
The suspension was for four hours a day because the city must have a building official in place to sign necessary documents, officials have said.
DaBelko did paperwork from his desk during his four-hour shift.
Cicero said DaBelko's suspension lasted until Feb. 1, when he was granted driving privileges for work only.
He is to appear April 8 in Central District Court for a pretrial on the DUI charge.
DaBelko was awarded several city contracts when he owned Commercial Construction of Griswold Street N.E., according to city documents.
Commercial, no longer in business, and several other area contracting firms, are named in a federal subpoena as part of an FBI investigation into possible corruption in Warren and Trumbull County.
DaBelko filed for bankruptcy protection Feb. 5.
Among his debts listed in court records are $28,000 in outstanding loans from National City Bank and $31,700 owed to casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
The city has attached his wages, meaning a portion is sent to Trumbull County for back taxes owed for the construction company.