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MAHONING COUNTY Official gets nod for job of lead-control director



Published: Wed, September 7, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The salary is listed at $50,000 to $60,000.

By ROGER G. SMITH

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- The city's director of housing rehabilitation is to become director of Mahoning County's lead-control program.

Mahoning County Commissioners have on their agenda today a vote to appoint Phillip Puryear of Youngstown to the job.

Commissioners Anthony Traficanti and John McNally IV said Wednesday they wouldn't comment until the hiring is approved.

Puryear has been director of the city housing rehabilitation and home-buyer programs since March 2001. He also is a licensed lead contractor, supervisor and risk assessor. His department is within the city's federally funded Community Development Agency.

Before that he was a city housing code enforcement officer, housing inspector and contract monitor. He graduatedfrom Ursuline High School and attended the College of Wooster for four years, but has no degree.

Puryear listed Gary Singer -- the lead program's director who is retiring Sept. 30 -- as a reference on his application. The city's housing office and the county lead office often work together on rehabilitation projects.

Job criteria

The lead program director's job involves coordinating the lead-control program; working with property owners on grant and loan applications; reviewing lead-control contracts; interpreting rules and regulations; and monitoring compliance.

Listed qualifications included at least 10 years' experience in housing rehabilitation or construction; three to five years as a supervisor; three to five years dealing with federal government-funded housing or environmental programs; a bachelor's degree in natural sciences, business or public administration; and obtaining state licenses for lead contractors, supervisors and risk assessors within a year of hiring.

The salary is listed at $50,000 to $60,000.

Commissioners received about a dozen applications for the job. The job was posted in county buildings and advertising in local newspapers. At least two of the finalists, one local and one working in Delaware, Ohio, noted they saw the job advertised in a newspaper.

Commissioners interviewed three finalists; a fourth turned down an interview. The finalists had backgrounds including housing, lead poisoning, health, management and engineering. Two had advanced college degrees.

Assistant director

In contrast, commissioners hired an Austintown man for the lead office's assistant director post last month despite his not possessing all the qualifications required for the $37,000-a-year job.

Daniel J. Martin's application shows he has no background in lead hazard control issues. Commissioners said he was the best of the five applicants for the job.

The opening was posted only within county buildings. There is an unwritten county policy to decide, depending on the job, on how widely to advertise openings. County officials have defended the subjective practice.

Martin also was a finalist for the county dog warden's job last year, when his qualifications were questioned compared with those of others seeking the job.

Commissioners said they wanted to fill the assistant's position as soon as possible because of Singer's impending departure.

The hiring approach is contrary to recommendations from a decade ago from business consultant Peat Marwick. Among the consultant's recommendations was creating and maintaining a pool of qualified job candidates and establishing a permanent personnel advisory board. Such a board would develop "rational human resource policies."

rgsmith@vindy.com




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