MAHONING ADMINISTRATOR McKelvey among 14 job applicants
The former county auditor has the support of several county officials.
By DAVID SKOLNICK
VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Ex-Youngstown Mayor George M. McKelvey, a Mahoning County commissioner candidate, is among those who applied for the county administrator's job.
And to no one's surprise, George Tablack, the director of the county's Office of Budget & amp; Management and former county auditor, also submitted an application for the job.
McKelvey and Tablack are among 14 candidates seeking the job.
Commissioner Anthony Traficanti, who's served as acting county administrator for a year without pay, called McKelvey's application a "political ploy."
McKelvey is challenging Commissioner David Ludt in the May Democratic primary.
"If you're running for commissioner and you apply for county administrator, I really have to question your intentions," Traficanti said. "In the spirit of St. Patrick's Day, it's a bunch of blarney."
With his application, McKelvey attached a letter in anticipation of criticism he expected from seeking the job.
"It is fair and proper of you to ask if there is a political component" to applying for the administrator's job, he wrote. "The answer is yes."
McKelvey said one of his campaign commitments if elected commissioner is to also serve for free as county administrator. Also, if the commissioners plan to hire someone immediately, he'd do the job for $1 per month.
Recent history of post
The county has operated without an administrator since December 2003, when Gary Kubic resigned to become administrator of Beaufort County, S.C. Kubic made $85,000 annually in Mahoning County.
After Kubic left, commissioners appointed Joseph Caruso assistant county administrator, a job he held until his February 2005 resignation. That same month Traficanti assumed the administrator's responsibilities at no pay.
Traficanti said he took the post because of the county's significant financial problems at the time. Holding the two jobs can be a challenging situation at times, he said, and the county needs someone to watch its finances on a full-time basis.
McKelvey said that he anticipated criticism when applying for the administrator's job, but that he's confused by Traficanti's leveling the criticism.
"Doesn't that strike you as strange coming from the individual who's been a commissioner and administrator?" McKelvey said. "I'm confused by that response. That's sad. I anticipated a critic, but I didn't expect it to be him."
McKelvey said the county hasn't suffered with Traficanti doing both roles, his qualifications are comparable to Traficanti's, and the savings resulting from his proposal could be put to better use in the county criminal justice system.
Commissioner John McNally IV, who served as Youngstown law director under McKelvey, declined to comment on the ex-mayor's applying for the county post.
Commissioners will discuss the applications and probably develop a time line to interview candidates at today's staff meeting, he said.
Support for Tablack
Without reviewing the applications, Ludt said he is leaning toward hiring Tablack for the job "unless someone more qualified comes along. I think George Tablack is very qualified."
Ludt isn't alone in that thought.
Tablack's application included letters from 10 public officials urging commissioners to hire him as administrator.
Among the officials are county Sheriff Randall Wellington, Engineer Richard Marsico, Prosecutor Paul J. Gains, Auditor Michael Sciortino, and Juvenile Court Judge Theresa Dellick.
The administrator, who reports to commissioners, directs the day-to-day activities of departments that are under the commissioners' control, administers the budget, oversees compliance with commissioners' policies and supervises office employees.