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A break with public trust is ample cause for resignation



Published: Fri, July 30, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

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Oakhill Renaissance Place

This editorial will have a familiar ring to it.

We’ve had to say the same thing far too many times before about judges, a sheriff, a prosecutor, a commissioner and a congressman.

And what we’ve said is this: An elected public official who has been indicted for criminal wrongdoing in connection with the conduct of his office should resign.

He is presumed innocent until proved guilty for purposes of the criminal law. But holding public office is a civic privilege and a trust — not a right. An indictment on a criminal offense raises a serious question as to the officeholder’s ability to continue to serve the public.

We do not make the call lightly for an indicted public official to step down. We understand that someone’s election is a powerful statement of the public’s confidence in the individual. But it is the responsibility of the elected official to repay that trust by scrupulously protecting the public’s interests in public and private.

There is sufficient reason to believe that Mahoning County Commissioner John A. McNally IV and county Auditor Michael V. Sciortino have placed their own well-being and that of political benefactors above their duty to the public. The specifics of a 41-page indictment are reported on the news pages in considerable detail.

The grand jury found probable cause to believe that McNally, Sciortino, former county treasurer John B. Reardon, former county Job and Family Services Director John Zachariah, Atty. Martin Yavorcik and Anthony M. Cafaro Sr. and Flora Cafaro, part-owners of the Cafaro Co., engaged in various levels of criminal behavior that, if unchecked, pervert the political process.

At the center of the indictments is Anthony Cafaro’s interest in his company’s continuing to lease office space to the county and to simultaneously thwart an effort by a majority of the board of county commissioners to purchase the old Southside Medical Center, now known as Oakhill Renaissance Place, rather than continue to rent.

Blurring public and private

Certainly Cafaro had the right to publicly defend his company’s lease of Garland Plaza to the county and to criticize the county’s proposed purchase of Oakhill as the new site for the Job and Family Services offices. And Cafaro was outspoken.

But the indictments allege that he went beyond his public opposition, entering into private dealings with three elected officeholders and an appointed public official. They wove a web that came to encompass various acts, including conspiracy, perjury, bribery, money laundering, tampering with records, disclosure of confidential information, conflict of interest, filing a false financial disclosure statement, and soliciting or accepting improper compensation.

Others have already paid something of a price since a special prosecutor took up this case. Reardon gave up a state job in Columbus and returned to Youngstown. Zachariah is no longer in charge of Job and Family Services, and Cafaro announced his retirement as president of the Cafaro Co. Only McNally and Sciortino remain in the same positions of public power and trust, receiving the same public payroll checks, as they did before the grand jury began its investigation. And that should end.

We suffer no illusions about the likelihood of McNally and Sciortino going off quietly to find private employment while they prepare for their defense. But we make the call for them to do the right thing nonetheless and would hope others who value good government will do likewise.

The continuing development and improvement of Oakhill as an office complex remains a priority for county government, and it is clear that McNally and Sciortino cannot play a role in that process, at least not with straight faces.


Comments

11970mach1(1005 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

They should not resign if they believe they are not guilty. There are literally thousands of examples of people who have been wrongly convicted, and these people have not even had a trial yet. They have not even been arraigned. If they are found guilty, then that is another story.

But then again, Bill Clinton committed perjury and did not leave office and he was President of the USA. Guv. Taft made guilty pleas to several crimes and stayed in office.

And let's just say they resign because of public pressure, and then are found not guilty or even have charges dropped. Then what happens? Do they get the person who replaced them to resign so they get their old jobs back? Of course not.

If Clinton and Taft, who held WAAAAAAAYYY more important jobs didn't resign, these folks shouldn't have to either. Or, maybe they'll quit right after Charlie Rangel does.

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2Millie(192 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Clinton had an affair not an indictment by the grand jury; Rangel should resign. All of these Mahoning Valley characters should resign as well as anyone that was appointed by them to a job in the county. Now lets see where Carol Rimedio falls in this group.

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3UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Resign you DemoCROOKS!!!

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4davidjohn(144 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

how about the vindicators part in all the corruption

this paper has supported these people at all costs.when a new person seeks office this paper crushes them in support of the status quo

sciortino-a change dem who went to law school on the taxpayers time-isn't that a crime?- and was made auditor with no background-silence from the paper

mcnally-no experience. a cafaro puppet from day one, but was endorsed by the paper when he first ran

cafaro-the paper made fun of critics of the roundtable where pols where bought and sold like bob fitzer and tom zamary

how about doing the honorable thing and accepting some of the blame

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5author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

A real Republican Party would have helped too davidJohn.

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61970mach1(1005 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Clinton committed perjury in front of grand jury while prez.

To say McNally had no experience is wrong. He was law director of Youngstown and maybe even city prosecutor.

How did Sciortino go to law school on "taxpayer's dime"?

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7Silence_Dogood(1384 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Dear Vindy staff could you please do one simple thing, ask Timmy Ryan how much money he has recieved from the Cafaro's over the last decade. Then would you please print that info in the paper.And one other thing, that would be ALL monies, including that which comes in envelopes.

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8stopcrime(3 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Ok I agree about public trust, they should resign. You just wait, they will come up with dirt on our so-called president next I hope. Man he is so screwing up our country. Sorry didn't mean to get off course. But yes they should resign.

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