Officials look at Robert Bush as new director of county JFS
By Peter H. Milliken
The appointment of Atty. Robert E. Bush Jr. of Youngstown as director of the Mahoning County Department of Job and Family Services is on the county commissioners’ agenda for their 10 a.m. meeting today in the county-courthouse basement.
Commissioner David N. Ludt said there were about 20 applicants for the JFS directorship.
Ludt said the new director would have to understand the financing of JFS, manage the money well and delegate authority “to the supervisors that know their job and make them do their job.”
Bush, who now serves as chief of the criminal division in the county prosecutor’s office, is a former Youngstown law director and police chief.
“We have to instill a philosophy that that agency is there to serve the people, not that the people are there to serve us,” Bush said of JFS on Wednesday.
If he’s appointed, Bush said his priorities will include familiarizing himself with the agency’s budget and past performance audits to determine how it can more efficiently deliver services.
With nearly 300 employees and a $24 million annual budget, JFS is the largest county department. Housed at Oakhill Renaissance Place, JFS includes the income maintenance section and the Child Support Enforcement Agency.
“I’ve got to grasp the budget. A lot of that money comes out of the state, and you don’t know what the new governor’s priorities are going to be,” Bush said, referring to Republican Gov.-elect John Kasich, who will replace the Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland next month.
Most challenging will be the need to react to potential midyear cuts in the agency’s budget, he said.
Bush earns about $79,200 a year in his present job, minus the 10-percent pay cut imposed on him due to the county’s financial woes. He said his salary as JFS director still needs to be negotiated.
Bush replaces Judee Genetin, who earned $100,896 when she left last month to become Portage County JFS director.
Bush has been a city patrolman and detective, a postal inspector, safety coordinator for the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority and an adjunct instructor in criminal justice at Youngstown State University.
He has an associate’s degree in criminal justice and a bachelor’s degree in law-enforcement administration from YSU and a law degree from the University of Akron.
Bush also is a highly decorated Marine veteran of the Vietnam War. A helicopter crew chief and gunner in Vietnam, he earned two Purple Hearts, 17 air medals and a Navy commendation medal for valor in combat.