By David Skolnick
Nate Pinkard, the retired Mill Creek Park Police Department chief, is the new Youngstown 3rd Ward councilman.
Mahoning County Democratic Party precinct committee members from the 3rd Ward selected Pinkard over four other candidates. Pinkard received 5 of the 8 votes cast by the committee members Wednesday.
Next up is a meeting at 5 p.m. Friday at Democratic Party headquarters to appoint a 2nd Ward council member.
Pinkard said his priorities include the demolition of vacant blighted structures, getting citizens more involved in improving their neighborhoods and working with surrounding communities on regional projects that would benefit all involved.
“Baby steps; I’m not a fan of annexation,” he said.
Pinkard replaces Jamael Tito Brown, who resigned Aug. 1 to become city council president.
Pinkard worked for the city’s health department in the air pollution division in the mid-1970s before becoming a city police officer a few years later.
When the city laid off police officers in 1980, Pinkard lost his job, which he held for three years.
A position as a Mill Creek Park police officer opened in 1980 and Pinkard took it. Over a period of 28-plus years, Pinkard rose through the park police ranks becoming chief in 1992.
He retired in May 2009, and had his eye on the council seat after Brown couldn’t run in 2015 because of the city’s term-limits law.
When Brown resigned to be council president, Pinkard didn’t have to wait.
The 3rd Ward includes most of the city’s North Side.
With Wednesday’s vote, Pinkard will fill out the rest of Brown’s term, which expires Dec. 31, and replaces him as the Democratic nominee for the 3rd Ward on the Nov. 8 ballot.
There are no other candidates on the ballot for the four-year term. The write-in deadline is Aug. 29.
Pinkard also serves on the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority’s board. He said he’ll ask the city law department if he can retain the YMHA position.
If serving on the YMHA board takes time away from him being a city councilman, Pinkard said he’d resign from the housing authority position.
The other candidates seeking the position Wednesday were Joe Louis Teague, Christine Vinion, Harold Adams and Hattie Wilkins.
Byron L. Armour withdrew at Wednesday’s meeting and threw his support to Pinkard.
Pat Lowry, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s director of outreach/special projects, withdrew from the race Monday.
Lowry said U.S. House Ethics Committee officials said it was OK for him to seek the job. But they also raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest. Lowry said his first loyalty is to Ryan of Niles, D-17th, and that’s why he withdrew.
Also Wednesday, Struthers precinct committee members voted to appoint Carol Crytzer, who ran unopposed, to replace Dan Yemma on the Nov. 8 ballot as a council member at-large candidate.
Yemma resigned in June to become county treasurer, and Struthers precinct committee members selected Crytzer to fill the rest of his unexpired term, which ends Dec. 31.
Next for the party is a vote at 5 p.m. Friday to replace DeMaine Kitchen as Youngstown’s 2nd Ward council member. Kitchen resigned Monday to become new Mayor Charles Sammarone’s administrative assistant/secretary.
Candidates have until the start of that meeting to seek that appointment. The 2nd Ward includes most of the city’s East Side.
Among those who’ve already filed to run are former 2nd Ward Councilmen Rufus Hudson and Charles Ellis, Mildred Delgado, Jackie Adair, TJ Rogers and Richard Martin.
The person selected will fill out the rest of Kitchen’s term and be the party’s nominee on the Nov. 8 ballot for a four-year position. There are no other candidates on the ballot.