The prosecutor denied making an earlier promise to leave the Juvenile Justice Center.
By ROGER G. SMITH
CITY HALL REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The prosecutor's phones will be back on at the Mahoning County juvenile court, but sniping over office space isn't over.
Judge Theresa A. Dellick of the juvenile court agreed Wednesday to restore phone service to prosecutors with office space in the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center.
Judge Dellick had phone and voice mail service cut last week. Her move came a few days after a deadline she set had passed for the prosecutor's office to vacate its JJC space.
County commissioners requested Monday that the judge let technicians restore service, pointing out they have authority over the phone system.
Despite seemingly resolving the phone issue, Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains said he will file a complaint against Judge Dellick with the Ohio Supreme Court. There is no guarantee the judge won't take other inappropriate steps regarding the JJC office space, he said.
"This is not over. She overstepped her bounds," Gains said.
Gains and the judge have sparred over office space at the center. Judge Dellick has said the space is needed for a day-reporting program for juveniles. Gains argues his prosecutors need offices at the juvenile center and vows not to leave.
The lawyer representing Judge Dellick, John B. Juhasz, issued a statement from the court Wednesday saying the decision to restore phone service is a good-faith effort at resolving the disagreement over the space.
The prosecutor's office reneged on an agreement earlier this year to move out of the JJC, the statement said. That's why the judge ordered county lawyers out and then converted the phones for court use, the statement said.
The statement also said Gains' claims are unfounded that the phones intentionally were cut while the prosecutor was away on vacation and left him unaware. The claim that the court knew of Gains' schedule and also that the prosecutor didn't know what would happen lacks credence considering time spent talking about the issue, the statement said.
Gains strongly disputed reneging on an earlier promise to leave the JJC, calling the accusation an "absolute falsehood."
Gains said he and county commissioners met early in the year with the judge, but there was no agreement to leave the JJC. Judge Dellick "stormed out" of a short meeting with commissioners back then, and he hasn't talked with her since, Gains said.
Furthermore, many people knew he was headed for a motorcycle event in Sturgis, S.D., last week, Gains said.
Juhasz couldn't be reached to comment Wednesday evening.