DOG WARDEN Officials to pick from 5
The original list of 31 applicants has been pared down to five finalists.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A deputy sheriff, two deputy dog wardens, a longtime area animal control officer and a local deli owner are the finalists to be Mahoning County's next dog warden.
County commissioners won't say when they will decide which one gets the job but say they hope it's soon. The appointment has seemingly generated considerable interest among the public.
"Of all the offices we've filled while I've been a commissioner, I probably have received more calls about this one than any other," said Commissioner Vicki Allen Sherlock. "There seems to be a great deal of concern by a lot of people out there."
The job pays between $20.43 and $24.28 per hour.
The top five
More than 30 people applied for the post after the May 31 retirement of Carol Markovich, who held the job for 14 years. A screening committee whittled that list to seven candidates, who were interviewed in June.
Sherlock said each of the seven candidates was evaluated and scored by a screening committee, which included the commissioners; Joseph Caruso, assistant county administrator; Connie Pierce, county human resources director; and Sheila Brantley, human resources director for the county Department of Job and Family Services.
Those who received the five highest scores were called back for a second interview and are the ones being considered for the job. They are Thomas DeGenova of Youngstown, Michael L. Fox of Lowellville, John G. Klenec of Campbell, Daniel J. Martin of Berlin Center and David W. Nelson of Youngstown.
Fox has been with the dog warden's department for 28 years and has served by commissioners appointment as interim dog warden since Markovich's departure. Klenec also is a longtime dog warden's department employee.
DeGenova is a deputy with the county sheriff's department, and Nelson is the humane agent for Animal Charities of Ohio. Martin owns and operates Mill Creek Deli and is a former assistant clerk of Youngstown Municipal Court.
"We have five good candidates right now," said Commissioner David Ludt. "They all look pretty good. It's going to be a tough decision."
Sherlock said only the top three candidates were originally to get a second interview. That would have been Nelson, Klenec and Fox, she said. Commissioner Ed Reese, though, asked that the field be expanded to the top five, she said.
Reese would not say why the number of finalists was increased.
"That's a personnel matter, and I'm not going to discuss it," he said.
Ludt and Reese said some of the candidates displayed exceptional administrative skills during the interviews, while others appeared stronger with animal control background.
"It's almost split down the middle," Reese said.
He and Ludt said they have not decided which candidate they support. Neither would say whether they think administrative or animal control strength is more important.
"It's a little more complicated than I think the public might perceive," Reese said of the job. The dog warden is responsible for enforcing Ohio animal ordinances and operating the county dog pound.
Duties and requirements
The job description distributed by commissioners said candidates must possess at least three years of animal control experience with progressive levels of responsibility, or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience.
The job description also says applicants should have knowledge of, among other things, state animal control regulations, euthanasia techniques, rabies control procedures, techniques for controlling dangerous animals and other animal-related issues.
But a footnote below says knowledge of those things "may be acquired after hire if necessary."
Sherlock said no decisions have been made by commissioners, but she favors hiring Nelson. She said Nelson has been endorsed by several local veterinarians and animal activists.
"It's important to bring in someone who has the respect and the trust of the community and the experience required for the job," Sherlock said. "We should not ignore our constituents."
Reese agreed that the position is important and that commissioners need to consider the concerns of both the public and animal professionals.