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Jay Williams will join Obama administration as auto czar

Published: Wed, July 6, 2011 @ 5:58 a.m.



YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams has accepted an executive position in the President Barack Obama Administration, and will resign as the city’s top official for the new job.

The announcement that Williams will be the executive director of the Department of Labor’s Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, effective Aug. 8, will be made at about noon today in Flint, Mich., according to sources close to the decision.

The main responsibilities of Williams’ new position are to:

• Work to coordinate a federal response to factors that have adversely impacted automotive communities and workers.

• Provide advice to Hilda L. Solis, the secretary of labor; Gene B. Sperling, director of the National Economic Council; and Obama on the potential impact pending legislation could have on those communities and workers.

• Provide recommendations on executive-policy proposals affecting automotive communities, and changes to federal policies and programs intended to address issues of special importance to those communities and workers.

• Conduct outreach programs for nonprofits, businesses, labor organizations, state and local government agencies, elected officials, among others, that will assist in bringing to Obama’s attention concerns, ideas, and policy options for expanding and improving efforts to revitalize automotive communities.

Williams, 39, declined to comment on the job. He’s done so since he confirmed in October 2010 to The Vindicator that he had met with White House officials to discuss the vacant position. 

Williams has had ongoing discussions with White House officials about this job for several months. An offer was recently made to Williams to take the post and he decided to take it.

Ed Montgomery resigned the position, also called the auto czar, in June 2010 to be Georgetown University’s dean of public policy. Obama appointed Montgomery in March 2009.

Williams doesn’t have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate and will start his new job on Aug. 8.

The draft of an Obama executive order, obtained by The Vindicator, states in order to help stabilize the automotive industry the president’s administration will “require the use of expanded strategies by automotive communities that include land-use redevelopment, small business support, and worker training.”

That responsibility will be in the hands of Williams in a month.

As for who will run the city after Williams' departure, the city charter calls for the president of city council to automatically fill the remainder of the mayor’s term. Williams’ term expires Dec. 31, 2013.

Long-time Council President Charles Sammarone, a Democrat, has said he would fill the unexpired term as mayor.

Williams’ impending resignation as mayor leaves several key decisions up in the air. 

They include: adopting a comprehensive citywide rezoning plan, appointing a replacement to outgoing Police Chief Jimmy Hughes, who’s already retired and is supposed to serve on an interim basis until Aug. 31, and the creation of a charter commission to look at proposing significant changes to the city’s laws.

Williams rose to prominence in late 2002 as the city’s Community Development Agency director. In that capacity, Williams was the face of Youngstown 2010, a comprehensive land redevelopment plan for the city’s 31 neighborhoods. 

The plan has garnered much national — particularly in Detroit and Flint, Mich., and Gary, Ind. — and even international attention primarily for embracing the city’s shrinking population. But progress in improving many of those neighborhoods is either slow-going or nonexistent.

Williams was elected mayor in November 2005 as an independent. He is the city’s first black mayor and was the first independent to win the seat since 1922.

He was re-elected in November 2009 to his second term as Youngstown mayor, running as a Democrat.

Because of the city’s term-limits law, Williams couldn’t run for another term in 2013.

“Mayor Williams’ appointment is a loss for Youngstown, but a win for the auto sector and the nearly 800,000 Ohio workers whose jobs are tied to this critical industry,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat who’s been a strong advocate for Williams to get the Obama administration job.

“Mayor Williams has not only been a strong leader for Youngstown, but also understands how important auto manufacturing is to Ohio and our nation’s economic recovery," Brown added. "I have no doubt that he will excel as director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, and I am proud to congratulate him on this new opportunity.”


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years ago

Mayor Jay - don't let the Mayor's office door hit you in the arse on your way to Washington, DC. Youngstown will be better without you.

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

"Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams has accepted an executive position in the President Barack Obama Administration, and will resign as the city’s top official for the new job."

Excellent ! Jay will be fully capable of signing his paychecks . I sure do hope that OJT (on the job training ) molds him into someone who gives a return for money invested .

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3Letstryagain(218 comments)posted 5 years ago

Congratualation to Mayor Williams and his family. This appointment is a loss to Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

I know that his efforts alone will shed a good light on the Mahoning Valley.

I wish you nothing but the best Mr. Mayor.

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4Letstryagain(218 comments)posted 5 years ago

UnionForever - Such an articulate statement, feel better now?

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5VindyPost(436 comments)posted 5 years ago

To Jay Williams!!!

A well-chosen candidate that is intelligent, strong, hard-working, and full of great inspirations for our auto post. Best wishes to you and your family as you embark a new and powerful journey!

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6Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years ago

CONGRATULATIONS* Be sure to send some jobs back to the valley

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7author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years ago

Jay Williams experience in the auto industry is he passed his drivers license exam.

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8unclebill(23 comments)posted 5 years ago

Arthur50= Have you actually seen his drivers license? You need proof to make that statement.

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9pgurney(296 comments)posted 5 years ago

Wow, this comes as a shock. To me, at least. Not that I've seen too many improvements in Youngstown under Mayor Williams, except for downtown of course, but still.

Who knows, perhaps the next mayor will figure out a way to get around all the red tape and actually get stuff done.

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10walter_sobchak(2713 comments)posted 5 years ago

This is good news for the city of Youngstown. Youngstown 2010 has only been successful in downtown and much of that was due to government buildings. It has done nothing for the neighborhoods. And, how anyone in authority could tolerate Chief Jimmy is beyond me. The gangs control the streets and the good people have abandoned the city.

Personally, I'm disgusted with all of the "czar's" the Presidents have concocted up. They are a bunch of overpaid yes-men, not subject to oversight, designed to make the President feel like he is actually doing something about problems.

But, here's something I always wondered. If you were to blare Slim Whitman's "Indian Love Call" at Williams, would his head explode?

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11piak(508 comments)posted 5 years ago

Tsar: In Imperial Russia, the Tsar was an autocrat, one who ruled his serfs and peons with an iron hand. The last Tsar was done away with by the Communists in 1918.

What's with this business of naming special advisors to Obama as "Tsars"?

Yogi Berra said it right: "It's deja vu all over again".

Piak says: What the heck! What's one more "Tsar", more or less?

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12Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years ago

Finally!!! Now maybe Youngstown can get a hard core Mayor that has the guts to take the streets back to the citizens instead of smiling for the press and doing NOTHING to combat the crime. What great news, 1st the useless police chief and now the worthless mayor leaving for a job that really is worthless as any I can think of.
Maybe Youngstown might be able to get back on it's feet.

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13Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years ago

Hey Jay the haters are out in full force . They will tell you how to fix it all

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14redvert(2240 comments)posted 5 years ago

You libs must be so proud to see one of your finest move onto obowser's chain.

For anyone that thinks that the next mayor will be any better, remember who elected the last one. You get the idea!!!

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15300(573 comments)posted 5 years ago

Piak, you should be embarrassed by your post. All you did was point out to everyone that you've paid no attention to American politics over the last 25-30 years.

Falconeddy, you really think things are worse now than they were 10 and 20 years ago? What utter nonsense, crime is a fraction of what it used to be, especially back in the late 80's. How much is a result of the Mayor's work is debatable, but you're factually incorrect in asserting that crime has become worse.

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16mrblue(1175 comments)posted 5 years ago

Nothing will change. There isn't anyone in city hall that has what it takes to get things done. Think I am wrong?? Just wait and see.

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17Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years ago

"What utter nonsense, crime is a fraction of what it used to be, especially back in the late 80's. How much is a result of the Mayor's work is debatable, but you're factually incorrect in asserting that crime has become worse."

I hope you're not serious.

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18Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years ago


"Hey Jay the haters are out in full force"

Do tell, what has the useless Jay done for Youngstown???????????

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19300(573 comments)posted 5 years ago

Life, crime IS a fraction of what it used to be. Just because there is still a lot of it doesn't mean that the overall rate hasn't decreased.

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20Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years ago

MMMM Life 2 . I do not know !!! I do not live in YTOWN ,I live in new Ytown (aka Boardman).
And if you do not think the haters on this page are out in full force . Then I have give you credit for more brains then you show

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21taliwacker(54 comments)posted 5 years ago

Can't wait till Congress passes the new bill, that bans Presidential appointed czars... Jay Williams will be in the unemployment line with me... The i can say to him, " hey Jay, I see the Democrats treated you well"... I wonder if he plans on spending a couple million on trash cams for the Auto industry as well??? Money well spent... O wait, we could have used that money to hire a few more police...

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22taliwacker(54 comments)posted 5 years ago

Jay Williams, Can you please take Betras with you, we dont want him here??

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23VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 5 years ago

Why am I not excited about this announcement?

I am not excited because this only creates another government position for a political appointment.

I have heard that some ideas they are considering include raising taxes on gasoline to encourage purchasing high mpg vehicles, which will benefit Lordstown and other similar production facilities.

Get ready to tighten your belts...

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24300(573 comments)posted 5 years ago

Crime's a problem, no doubt about that. I'm just saying that the overall crime rates are lower today than they were 10-20 years ago.

I do think that people tend to paint a rosy picture of how things used to be. I'm in my mid-30's, so it's not like I was around to witness what it was like 50 years ago. But I do notice how so many people seem to gloss over the fact that Youngstown was a haven for criminals during that time. People are actually proud of how the Italians acted around here (where everywhere else in the US, those people were the trash that you didn't want moving into your neighborhood).

The truth is that Youngstown never was a nice place to live. For the peasant immigrants, it beat out where they were from. But from an American viewpoint, Youngstown has always been blue-collar, uneducated, and backwards in its thinking (to be compared with Pittsburgh, which was blue-collar, but educated and forward thinking).

Good people don't just want out of Youngstown, they want out the Mahoning Valley. But nonetheless, overall crime rates have dropped over the years, and hopefully they will continue to do so.

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25MLC75(661 comments)posted 5 years ago

Newsflash 300,the Italians never were considered trash anywhere,You are a first class A$$ Hole.

You could drive around on the south side 20 years ago,without any problems.

You are a wet behind the ear know it all,what a loser you are.

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26VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 5 years ago

Overall crime rates continue to drop as less and less people reside in the city. But, what is the crime rate per capita?

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27city_resident(528 comments)posted 5 years ago

AFAIK, the crime rate has been falling faster than the population. So, per capita rates would be lower too.

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28redvert(2240 comments)posted 5 years ago

Hell yes resident, all the good stuff has already been stolen and not too many city residents have any cash!

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29city_resident(528 comments)posted 5 years ago


I live in the Garden Distrct--the neighborhood east of Belle Vista, and south of Mahoning. The deterioration you're talking about is a symptom of flight. (white flight, wealth flight, whatever you want to call it) If people stopped leaving, the problems would stop getting worse. If people moved back, the problems would get better.

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30JME(802 comments)posted 5 years ago

Does this mean Buckwheat Bob Hagan is back in the running for mayor

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31MLC75(661 comments)posted 5 years ago

Chuck Sammarone will be the Mayor until do nothing Jay's term is up,in Dec. 2013.

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32redeye1(5662 comments)posted 5 years ago

Hey Jay its about they get your sorry a$$ out of Y-town. I figure you will fit right tin with the do nothing SOB's that work there now. I can't wait until 2012 to get rid Obama and you to the unempolyment line. Then it will no more Bro's helping Bro's to get made up jobs.

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33mauricelogic(2 comments)posted 5 years ago

Not sure how I feel about this. I am a former resident of Youngstown and it's hard for me to see any real progress. Granted, I now have an outsider's view. Crime has gone down, which is good, but where are the jobs? It's not Jay Willians' fault, however, the national economy is still struggling. Good luck to him though.

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34TERRAPINST(321 comments)posted 5 years ago

Entire Oakhill lawsuit thrown out tomorrow.

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35wearepack(26 comments)posted 5 years ago

Congrats Mayor Williams.

Also, as an Italian from Youngstown, I certainly know some Italian trash.

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36justonevoice(94 comments)posted 5 years ago

Best of luck, Mr. Williams on your new position.

As a community member who works downtown, I would like to thank you for what you did to the downtown area through the years. If you ask those of us who work downtown, we will tell you that it is hugely improved over the last few years. Sadly, I feel Mr. Sammarone will be ineffectual as he takes over Mr. Williams term as he is part of the "old school Mahoning Valley government".

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37Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years ago


Crime dropped from 10-30 years ago? Get real Einstein, the population has dropped thus you get the crime rate lower, but the one that matters is the "crime rate per capita". You don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand that.
I used to work at Idora Park in the late 70's early 80's, we would walked after work to a bar on Glenwood at night(think it was called the Crystal) and then back to our cars at Idora real late at night. No worries, no nothing. Go do that on a Friday night/sat night and not only chances are you'll get shot but might be six feet under.
South Ave used to be so nice with the bricks on the streets, you can drive anytime night and day and not worry. Today, your committing suicide doing that.
And Italian trash (you really said that?) I rather have Italians (which I'm by the way) in my neighborhood then trashy violent pieces of garbage not giving a damn next door.
Drive around and open your eyes and see the violence and trash roaming the streets. You didn't see that 10-20 years ago.

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38lumper(301 comments)posted 5 years ago

this is America ! the guy is leaving for a better job with more of a future attached to it. why be bitter about anything ? good luck, jay

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39TB(1167 comments)posted 5 years ago

Apparently Jay was supposed to solve the housing and foreclosure crises created by rich investment bankers.

Look beyond your nose for once in your lives Youngstown.

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40computer_rick(137 comments)posted 5 years ago


Hey, I used to drink on that stretch all the time. There was that bar the crystal, yeah, and the shortstop, and that place that followed the crystal where all the off-duty PD worked where you could buy Mexican food upstairs and blow downstairs and one brother got shot dead next to his wife and she didn't see a thing. And that bar next to the shortstop where four people got shot dead. And all the bars up and down Market Street that are now 80% closed. The Cave, Billy the Kids, C&R Saloon, to name a few. Every Summer night, Market St. SWARMING with white kids getting drunk and laid.

Thank GOD for crack, scared everyone home, and made the streets empty again, safe for folks who like to drive 20mph down the street at 2a.m. with the lights off daring the P.D. to pick 'em up. And you know what? Back in the 1980's, the safest place for a Y.P.D. to be was protecting Cornersberg, and THAT is why we lost Youngstown. Scared johhny-law hiding out as far from city center as they could get. Except for shift mount. Then the cars would stream in, and then back out again.

Hey, the Police ever allow GPS's in "their" cruisers? Thought not...

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41computer_rick(137 comments)posted 5 years ago

And I apologize to all Mexican food everywhere for calling a "wet burrito" Mexican food.

Seriously though, the yack was good. But then, in the '80's around here, there was no such thing as bad yack!

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42Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years ago

HEY Fair BLA BLA get over it you loss GM won . Go get a job for once in your life . and stop trying to hurt the great workers at GM . you scum !!! You
( Delphi salary ) brought down Delphi and now you want GM to pick up the tab BUY GM !!!! Next time join a Union STUPID

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43Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

psyker99 :

" Those couch potatoes and tavern dwelling critics who attack him have to be people who would never find honor or intelligence in a black man."

You must be talking about Jamar Houser and the SouthSide Posse killing white folk around St. Dominics Church . Do tell me about the honor . . ..


Jay Williams had a plan . . ..


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44Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years ago


And you think it's cleaned up in 2011? At least you were able to go out and such, think you can today? Your talking about 2 murders there over decades, not just about every weekend in 2011 someone getting shot or killed (can't even go to church over there). If you feel safe going to those places and south ave at night, then go right ahead. I'm sure you'll be totally safe and sound. <rolls eyes>


"this is America ! the guy is leaving for a better job with more of a future attached to it. why be bitter about anything ? good luck, jay"

Better job? What exactly will he be doing? A future? That is hilarious!
I'm thrilled he's leaving. He has done nothing but smile for the media every opportunity he had. Like I said before, we need a mayor and a police chief with the balls to take out these animals that plague our society and make Youngstown what it once was.

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45NsideKnight(1 comment)posted 5 years ago

Met him once, a good common sense guy. Obama is probably giving him a "show me what you got" chance with promotion to come in 2012 if they both do well. I wish him well and thank him for his hard work. Nobody's perfect, he can leave both proud and probably as frustrated as everyone else.

On the 2012 election, a majority of Americans don't like liberalism. A bigger majority don't like bigots, most of whom are in the Republican party. That's why the party was put down in 2008 and will probably be put down for the top spot in 2012 despite frustrations with Obama. Too bad, they have some good arguments but carry way too much baggage. Most folks today insist the President travel light.

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46Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

NOBAMA 2012 . . ..


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47VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 5 years ago

Just so everyone knows, since no one called me out on this, the over all crime rate per capita in Y-town is higher than Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati according to Ohio crime demographics.

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48Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago


YOUNGSTOWN Annual Crimes

733 --------4,636-----------5,369

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49walter_sobchak(2713 comments)posted 5 years ago

You do not know what you are talking about with the GM situation. Packard Electric was the world's best manufacturer of auto wire, circuitry, electrical devices and electronics, as was Delco. These were two great companies that had foresight and vision and were extremely well run. GM wrapped all these component makers under the Delphi umbrella and installed GM management practices and ran these companies into the ground. The salaried workers from the previous organizations were powerless to change the GM thinking and they have paid for it, along with the cities of Warren and Dayton (research where the "Delco" name originated). All were screwed without lubrication by GM and the federal govt.

No reason to call you out when it is obvious that you have accurately reported the situation in Y-town.

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50Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

"The only thing I can hear him keep advising the good Liberal govt of Detroit is " Hey, when you can get some money, tear down that whole block there and there and there and plant flowers and grass and trees".

He will do much more . The old projects will be tore down and new built in Youngstown . Westlake Terrace is a good example . The endangered species AKA workingman will see no benefit .

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51taliwacker(54 comments)posted 5 years ago

I just find it funny how many of you people posted on here that it is a good thing, and a want for most people in Youngstown, to move out of this area to get better lives... what does that say for the people of Youngstown, and the leadership, such as Jay, that you vote for... To me it means " get out of here as quick as you can, we don't want to fix this place".. Way to sport that Y town spirit..

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52Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

"we don't want to fix this place".. ?

It's not broke since it's the culture .

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53Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years ago

"To me it means " get out of here as quick as you can, we don't want to fix this place".. "

Here we go again, not greener on the other side of the fence, no matter how much you might think it is. Been there, done that.
Yes Einstein, we want to fix this place, but you need the leaders with the balls to fight the crime and violence, unlike the useless mayor with his promises (typical) and the useless police chief that don't have the ambition to do there job! We need someone with balls!

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54Bigben(1996 comments)posted 5 years ago

"...Jay Williams has distinguished himself as a calm and intelligent voice in a sea of ignorance and prejudice."

-- - He may have been calm and he may have been intelligent but the man never returned phone calls or emails from any citizens I know.He took orders from above and was rewarded for it but he was not a people's mayor , not at all.

He will likely do the same in Washington , do as told and not contribute much.That is the way an individual gets ahead but that is not serving the electorate.

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55brntbarbour(18 comments)posted 5 years ago

Congratulations Jay, We will be praying for you and your family's continued success. I am certain by now that negative comments left on here mean little to you. You have done a good job, probably better than most of your predecessors, and in a more difficult environment.

To all the naysayers:

In order to fix such a city as Youngstown, the people, not just the Mayor, have to rise up and take back the city. Strong community organizing, and citizens that stand up, fight, and say enough is enough and we are not going to take it, is what has to happen. Opining that Jay has done nothing to help is not going to make Youngstown any better or safer. Partisan politics will continue to prevail until the people do something different.

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56Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

brntbarbour :

"In order to fix such a city as Youngstown, the people, not just the Mayor, have to rise up and take back the city."

Political correctness has showered the hood with probation and overlooked far too many crimes . It is up to city hall who controls the chief of police to get serious about crime elimination .

Jay did have a plan . . ..


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57taliwacker(54 comments)posted 5 years ago

Next question... Since the inception of the muti million dollar gun shot detection systems, the great mayor has placed around y town. Has the shooting rates gone down??? Do the police respond quicker?? Has it helped solve and murder's?? I think that was money well spent.. ( sarcasm).

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58Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

The money wasted on the gunshot detector would have been better spent on a shooting range for the boys in da hood . This would have kept some of the bullets shot within the confines of the range .

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59Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years ago

I've got the pose for the statue . Now lets raise the money . . ..


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60briant(57 comments)posted 5 years ago

Plain and simple:

Uck him

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