City officials to consider replacing security company

By David Skolnick


City council will consider legislation Wednesday to replace its security company at city hall with a group of up to 26 retired Youngstown police officers as well as current and former members of law enforcement.

The change, agreed to by council at a March 23 budget hearing, is expected to be effective May 2.

Under the proposal, council would create 25 deputy bailiffs/security officers and one deputy bailiff/security coordinator.

The 25 current and former officers would be paid $17 an hour on a part-time basis. Each officer couldn’t work more than 1,500 hours a year and earn $25,500 annually.

The coordinator — Michael Vodilko, who retired Feb. 14 as a Youngstown police captain, according to the city’s judges — would receive $20 an hour and could earn up to $30,000 a year.

The judges and members of the city administration said they don’t expect the new security team’s cost to come close to the maximum hours and payments in the legislation. The maximum payment in the proposal is $667,500 for a full year.

Tom Beitler, Vector Security’s general manager, will speak at Wednesday’s city council meeting asking why his company is being replaced.

When asked Monday by The Vindicator to comment, Beitler declined, saying: “I’m going to save my talk for city council. I think that’s the place to do it. I will be there Wednesday to talk about this.”

The new security arrangement would cost up to $59,000 more than Vector for a full year because the new deal doesn’t include security for the city hall annex building and the lobby of the police station on weekends. Vector provides those services. City officials haven’t said what security would be in place at those two areas.

Security has been a long-standing complaint by the three municipal court judges. It hit its high point July 14, 2010, when a fight occurred in the court’s hallway after the arraignment of a murder suspect.

Less than a minute after the fight between the families of the suspect and the murder victim, about six Youngstown police officers and Vector security guards responded and broke up the fight. But the judges remain critical of how Vector’s staff handles security.

Also Wednesday, council will consider legislation allowing the board of control to enter into a contract with the lowest and best bidder for soil remediation, the removal of asbestos and the demolition of a building on the Shelly and Sands/ McCourt Construction property.

The city purchased the property for V&M Star to use as part of its $650 million expansion project. The city received $569,859 in state funding for that cleanup and demolition work.

Also, council is being asked to permit the board of control to enter into a deal with the Mahoning County commissioners to have the city provide up to $340,000 toward the replacement of the Division Street Bridge that crosses the Mahoning River. The bridge, slated to be replaced in 2014, is a key connector between Salt Springs Road and V&M Star and the Ohio Works Business Park.

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