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MAHONING TRUSTEES Polls unkind to many incumbents



Published: Wed, November 4, 2009 @ 12:09 a.m.

By David Skolnick

An embattled Austintown trustee finished last in his bid for re-election.

It wasn’t a good time to be an incumbent township trustee in Mahoning County.

Incumbents in Boardman, Canfield, Austintown, Coitsville, Ellsworth, Goshen and Milton townships lost Tuesday. Also, longtime Campbell Mayor John Dill lost a re-election bid to George N. Krinos.

Robyn Gallitto and Kathy Miller, two trustees who’ve overseen Boardman Township government during a rough financial time, were soundly defeated, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in a seven-person race.

“The voters looked for someone to blame for the [township’s financial] situation we’re in,” Gallitto said. “The voters were upset and wanted to clean house. The situation has been bad, but it came to a head on my watch. I don’t think I caused it. The public is looking for someone to be made at. Putting two new people in those seats won’t increase revenue.”

Brad Calhoun, who unsuccessfully ran for trustee in 2007, and ex-Trustee Thomas P. Costello, ousted in 2005, finished first and second, respectively, in Boardman.

Voters were looking for change, Costello said.

“The township has gone off the tracks in the past four years,” he said. “We need to bring stability to the township. There’s some serious challenges we’re facing, but I believe we can make it work. People weren’t happy with the direction of the township and they had enough.”

The state auditor’s office last month released a draft of a fiscal analysis of the township. It concluded that while the township doesn’t meet the criteria for a fiscal-watch designation, there won’t be a general fund carryover at the end of the year.

A 2.2-mill police and fire levy approved by township voters in November 2008 carried with it a pledge by trustees to hire more police officers and recall laid-off firefighters. But three firefighters remain off the job, and only one police officer has been hired since the levy passed.

Miller said the incumbents received most of the blame for the township’s financial challenges, which showed in the election results.

“We weren’t able to get the finances turned around,” she said.

Embattled Austintown Township Trustee Warren “Bo” Pritchard finished last in a four-man race for two seats.

Pritchard received only 8.53 percent of the vote.

David Ditzler, the other incumbent running for re-election, was the top vote-getter with 39.05 percent.

“It’s a little surprising,” Ditzler said of his strong victory. “The longer you’re in office, the more enemies you make. It’s tough to get re-elected in Austintown.”

Ditzler said Pritchard’s bad loss was “unfortunate because he served the community for so long.”

Pritchard is heading to Columbiana County jail Nov. 25 for a conviction of operating a vehicle while impaired.

Also, the Mahoning County Bar Association filed documents last week with the Ohio Supreme Court accusing Pritchard, an attorney, of multiple counts of misconduct including not providing services to clients who paid him money up front and for his failure to show up for court appearances.

Pritchard couldn’t be reached to comment Tuesday.

Jim Davis, running for office for the first time, captured the other trustee seat, beating Sam Swoger III by 237 votes, according to final but unofficial votes tabulated by the Mahoning County Board of Elections.

“I couldn’t feel better,” Davis said about his victory. “We did everything we could do to win.”

When asked if Pritchard’s problems were a factor, Davis said, “He’s unfortunately made some mistakes, and it might have cost him.”

In Canfield Township, voters ousted Trustees Randy Brashen and Richard Puerner. Brashen was running for a full four-year term while Puerner was seeking to fill out the remaining two years of an unexpired term he was appointed to last year. Trustee Bill Reese opted not to seek re-election.

Brashen finished third in the four-person race for the two four-year township trustee seats.

He lost to Marie Cartwright, the top vote-getter, and Tony Bettile, who finished in second.

“I think people are ready for a change,” said Bettile, who ran unsuccessfully in 2007 for trustee.

Puerner finished last for the unexpired term, losing to Martha C. Zarlenga, a former 23-year school board member, who received 46.5 percent of the vote in a three-person race, according to complete but unofficial election results.

When asked why he was so badly defeated — Puerner received 19.94 percent of the vote — he said: “I have no idea at this point; no idea at all. It’s not the number I was looking for.”

It wasn’t all bad news for trustees in Mahoning County.

Voters in Poland re-elected Trustees Robert Lidle and Mark Naples over challengers Felix Carbon and Albert Sciulli.

skolnick@vindy.com


Comments

1XBROWNSX(35 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Keep up the good work, Dave. Congratulations on your victory and for keeping the interests of Austintown close, with the taxpayers in mind. Peace! Ed Schanz - Austintown Fitch Class of 1976.
Sacramento, CA

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2Tugboat(759 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Gallitto said, “The voters looked for someone to blame for the [township’s financial] situation we’re in.”

The campaign mantra by Atty. Gallitto was unity, civility and fiscal responsibility.' The unity never happened and the civility was short lived and many expenditures were questionable.

As strange as it may seem, Boardman Township government the past 4 years brought to mind one of the most embarrassing moments in the history of professional sports. It was October of 1964 when Minnesota Vikings rookie Jim Marshall picked up a fumbled football just before halftime and ran for the goal line - the wrong goal line. He ended up scoring for San Francisco, the wrong team, in front of a sold-out stadium and on national television. Marshall virtually crawled into the locker room amid jeers. He didn’t want to come out for the second half, but he remembered what his father had taught him: If you make a mistake, you have to make it right. “I realized I had a choice,” Marshall told reporters, “I could sit in my misery, or I could do something about it.” The second half ended up being one of Marshall’s best. He hurried the opposing passer into three interceptions and caused the fumble that Hall of Famer Carl Eller picked up and ran in for the winning touchdown. Afterward, Marshall acknowledged his mistake and his shame to reporters.

It seems our incumbent elected officials had what could be considered either a fumble or a hand off and ran for the wrong goal line. The difference between them and Marshall is that they never acknowledged their mistakes.

Putting department heads in the front row, browbeating, axe grinding, making an issue out of take-home cars and contradicting oneself later on on that very issue doesn't help one get re-elected. Admitting that they were mistakes might have..

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3hardin54ja(20 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

As I remember, Kathy Miller pointed out when she first ran for the office that Boardman Township was using the inheritance tax to balance it's budget and that it had been a big time spender while revenue declined. Miller has served Boardman well while trying to maintain services.
Miller went to other large townships in Ohio, spoke to Trustees and Fiscal officers, and found that inheritance tax receipts were largely budgeted for capital improvemnt projects. You know, things like fixing flood zones. Boardman had been living too close to the edge for too long. Spoiled unions, a township administrator who was twice DUI arrested in a township owned vehicle by Ohio state highway patrolmen and an attitude of, " You can't say THAT !!" lead Boardman to their crisis. Miller was the first to recognize that and to arrest the slide. It appears many people have short memory. Tom Costello was a large part of that irresponsible management.
Too bad.Boardman just lost a dedicated public servant!!! Kathy, let them eat cake.

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4apollo(1227 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Good call Hardin54ja but the powerbrokers cabal didn't like anyone rocking the spendthrift boat. They constantly bash me for pointing out the idiotic employee contracts that were indeed based on those inheritance dollars. No matter, next year at this time, the state will be running the show. Should be a fun few years.

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5countyscoop(22 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Whistle blowers and those that question the status quo seem to always end up on the outside.

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6GTX66(343 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Gallitto does not want to take responsibility for her own inaction's. She did nothing but divide the Township and in my honest opinion ran for personal agenda. At least Miller had sense enough to keep her mouth shut and not blame other people.

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7Tugboat(759 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Out in West Texas, an oxymoronic weather phenomenon known as a "dry rainstorm" often occurs. It's particularly tough on farmers. These storms build with all of the tell-tale signs of a downpour headed toward the farmers' fields-- dark clouds on the horizon and lightning that flares like a pinball machine, followed by the promising clap and rumble of rolling thunder. But then--no rain. The clouds, lightning, and thunder blow right over the area, yet they deliver not one drop of the nurturing water the farmers are desperate to have.

Miller was nothing but a "dry rainstorm." Thunder ain't rain. The chemistry was bad. Get over it. Oh, and don't forget she put her name in the hat to replace Boccieri. Yes, it does 'appear many people have a short memory.' She is what she is.

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8ubotherme(53 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

2 down, 2 to go.

Not that Costello and Calhoun will be any better, but the housecleaning must continue.

The next few years will be just fine....you watch.

Leicht will find money and by November 2011, he will have led us out of this darkness to the promised land.

All we need is $12million worth of milk and honey. (Without it, Costello won't know what to do.)

It'll be interesting to see just exactly what happens between now and Jan. 1, 2010.

Don't believe for a second the State will be "running the show" any time in the near or distant future. Boardman is close to financial disaster on appearance only. When the State looked at the books most recently, they only looked at the general fund. Yes, it's true. And Leicht, with the blessing or blind eyes of the trustees, has spent that fund down to the point it would and SHOULD make people nervous.

In reality, there's PLENTY of money thanks to the community supporting a safety forces levy. Thee's money in that fund, and according to the County, they've paid Boardman MORE MONEY THAN HAS BEEN ACCOUNTED FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HELLLLLOOOOOOOO?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!??!!!!!

IS THIS THING ON????????????????

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