Kerrigan will lead in interim
Patrick V. Kerrigan served 21/2 years in prison for crimes committed when he was a judge.
By DEBORA SHAULIS
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Lien Forward Ohio will move forward with an interim executive director and a pledge by board members to have an open hiring process when the times comes to permanently fill that job.
Lien Forward Ohio is a regional government council that was formed last October to change delinquent, abandoned property into productive, taxpaying parcels. It has $500,000 in seed money from fees paid by buyers in tax lien sales by the Mahoning County Treasurer's office.
Board members met Thursday and approved a 90-day personal services contract for Patrick V. Kerrigan as interim executive director.
Kerrigan, a former Youngstown Municipal Court judge, was sentenced in March 1998 to 21/2 years in prison on two counts of extortion related to his office and attempting to influence a grand jury witness.
Kerrigan expects to finish his doctoral degree in public policy at Kent State University in June.
Hours and pay
Kerrigan will work between 25 and 30 hours per week and be paid $28 per hour, said board chairman John Reardon, who also is county treasurer.
Kerrigan's hourly rate is similar to what Bob Regula would have been paid in salary and benefits, Reardon said. Regula resigned as executive director earlier this year to become administrator of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Kerrigan has been involved in Lien Forward Ohio "since its conception," Reardon said, and has not been paid for his work to date.
While calling Kerrigan "extremely qualified" for the job, board member and Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams asked what process will be followed after Kerrigan's 90-day contract expires so "that this doesn't appear to be a convenient arrangement."
The job posting "should be open, available and competitive," Williams said. Then, "If Pat's the guy, Pat's the guy."
County Commissioner John McNally IV agreed, saying he has taken a similar stance with county jobs.
Doesn't need the job
Kerrigan said he's not lobbying for a full-time job and attributed his temporary post to "exigent circumstances" arising from Regula's departure. Kerrigan also said he's paid three times as much money for work he performs for a law firm.
"I love the issues. I love development in the city. It's not something that I need a job," he said.
Youngstown Councilwoman Carol Rimedio Righetti, D-4th, recommended that the board approve Kerrigan's contract and write a job description to be posted later.
The treasurer's lien sales make it possible to transfer liens on property to interested third parties for development. Liens have been transferred to homeowners, businesses, churches and nonprofit groups.
Lien Forward Ohio, which plans to open an office in the former Phar-Mor Center downtown, will help third parties by providing financial aid and in-kind services.
The council's goal is to return 5,000 abandoned parcels to productive states in the next five years, Reardon said.