MAHONING COUNTY Two titles won't fly with state AG
Traficanti had offered to do administrator's job while the county worked on its budget problems.
By JEFF ORTEGA
COLUMBUS -- Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti is welcome to handle all the responsibilities and duties of a county administrator; he just can't have the title on his door, or any extra pay.
That's the gist of a recent ruling from state Attorney General Jim Petro, who released the seven-page legal opinion after a request from Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains.
Gains sought the ruling from Petro after Traficanti said he would act as the administrator after the county determined it could not fund either a county administrator or an assistant county administrator, according to state records and published reports.
"We conclude that the board of county commissioners may not appoint one of its members to hold the position of county administrator, even where the member would receive no additional compensation for serving in that position," Petro's opinion said.
"[However,] nothing prevents the board from agreeing to have one of its members assume the duties of administrator in addition to his duties as commissioner," the opinion said.
Traficanti, who couldn't immediately be reached Wednesday for comment, announced earlier this year that he would like to handle the administrator's duties while the county tried to solve its budget problems.
The county administrator's position has gone unfilled since Gary Kubic resigned in December 2003 to become administrator of Beaufort County, S.C.
At the time, commissioners named Joseph Caruso, the county's director of special projects, to serve as assistant county administrator. Caruso has since left the county's employ.
"If the county is facing a budgetary shortfall, it would be a reasonable exercise of the board's discretion to assign those duties previously assigned to an administrator to a commissioner who would receive no additional compensation for performing those duties, rather than to a paid employee," Petro's opinion said.