By Elise Franco
Township employees and residents at the meeting said they continue to support Bo Pritchard.
AUSTINTOWN — Warren “Bo” Pritchard broke his silence nearly two weeks after legal matters thrust him into the spotlight.
The township trustee addressed colleagues and about 20 residents during Monday’s regular board meeting. Pritchard said he wasn’t comfortable discussing his personal life but, under the circumstances, felt it necessary.
“Life isn’t always easy, and I’m in a position to tell you I know that firsthand,” Pritchard said. “I’m not opening up to put my life in the press. ... But I’m here to tell you what I’ve gone through has been debilitating.”
Pritchard, an attorney 25 years, had his law license suspended last week after he failed to pay a $400 biennial registration fee.
The Mahoning County Bar Association filed paperwork with the Ohio Supreme Court on Oct. 29 seeking the suspension of Pritchard’s law license. The bar association alleges misconduct, ranging from clients who paid hundreds of dollars up front for services they never received, failing to show up for court appearances, or failing to make timely case filings.
Pritchard said he wanted to apologize for what’s happened over the past year, especially because he became a lawyer to help those in need.
He indicated that depression affected his work with clients. “I’m very sorry for what has transpired over the last year professionally,” he said. “I spent 25 years practicing law, and because of depression, you aren’t able to service them.”
Pritchard, who was not re-elected in last week’s general election, said he will continue to serve as trustee until his term expires. “I’ve got three more meetings to serve out my term,” he said.
Trustees Lisa Oles Oles and Dave Ditzler showed support for Pritchard, as did several township residents.
“On candidates’ night you said something that hit me in the heart,” Oles said. “You talked about being a team, and that reminded me of how far we have come.”
Township resident Pat Connolley thanked Pritchard for his many years of hard work and offered words of encouragement.
“Where I come from, Bo, when people have problems, they run to them — not away from them,” he said.
Ditzler mirrored Connolley’s sentiment and told Pritchard he would continue to support him as a friend even after their professional time together runs out.
“You’ve served Austintown well, and you’ve been a good colleague and a good friend,” Ditzler said. “Your intentions have always been good and in the best interest of Austintown.”
Pritchard thanked his friends and colleagues for supporting him through what he described as “the toughest 12 to 14 months of my life,” and apologized if any bad light was shed on the township because of him.
“I’m sorry that my life has reflected in ways on this community,” he said. “But it hasn’t affected the service I’ve done as a trustee.”