HIRING COULD START IN SEPT.
By Sean Barron
A steel-producing company has entered into an agreement to acquire a North Jackson facility, which, if approved next week, will mean the creation of jobs in the Mahoning Valley, a company executive told Mahoning County commissioners.
Paul A. McGrath, vice president of administration for Bridgeville, Pa.-based Universal Stainless & Alloy Products Inc., said his company agreed to buy Patriot Special Metals Inc.’s plant on South Bailey Road for $129.5 million, including $25 million for equipment installation, and hopes to close the purchase Tuesday.
Once approved, original and new equipment will be tested and installed, respectively, then operators could start being hired as soon as next month, McGrath explained Thursday, adding that he hopes the facility will be fully operational by year’s end.
In addition, he said, the acquisition will broaden production capabilities as well as expand product range and market niches for Universal, which is the parent company of North Jackson Specialty Steel LLC.
The economy and product demand will dictate the number of shifts and the rate local workers will be hired, he noted.
Universal Stainless, which also has offices in Titusville, Pa., and Dunkirk, N.Y., makes steel for the aerospace and petrochemical industries, as well as for special gas-fueled engines, heavy-duty turbines and other facets of gas-power generation and exploration, McGrath said.
The new operation will feature a state-of-the-art radial-forge machine, which is being tested. The machine will allow the company to produce higher-quality material at a lower cost, he continued.
Universal also will have a vacuum induction melting furnace that is to melt steel in a cleaner, more-efficient way, McGrath said.
In other business, commissioners approved a resolution to hire an office assistant to work under the human resources director, effective Monday.
Jackie Montgomery’s yearly salary will be $39,936, which includes health-care benefits of which will she pay 10 percent.
Commissioners Carol Rimedio Righetti and John A. McNally IV, chairman, voted for the resolution while Commissioner Anthony T. Traficanti voted against it.
McNally said Montgomery has been performing office duties for the commissioners’ office through a temporary agency for a little more than three years and working about 40 years a week.
Traficanti said he feels it’s hypocritical to make such a move now, especially when commissioners have asked the sheriff’s department and other agencies to cut their budgets. Such a hire should wait at least until commissioners assess the county’s budget toward the end of the year, he continued.
Traficanti noted that roughly 53 percent of the budget goes toward the criminal-justice system, which includes the sheriff’s department, jail and courts.
The commissioner said hiring an office administrator is impractical also because county sales taxes are relatively flat, and it’s likely the county will lose more than $2 million in local government funds next year.