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Righetti flexes her muscle



Published: Sun, May 15, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


Two down, two to go.

With former Mahoning County Commissioner David Ludt and former county Administrator George Tablack bearing the scars of her political assault, Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti can now be expected to turn her attention to Prosecutor Paul Gains and Commissioner Anthony Traficanti, both of whom will up for re-election next year and will face challengers.

And, Rimedio-Righetti will go after anyone who attempts to punish a close friend of hers, Danielle O’Neill, an employee at the board of elections whose job performance is again being called into question.

Since the commissioners manage the county’s general fund, the threat of financial retribution is ever present.

But the attack on Ludt, Tablack, who also was the budget director, Gains and Traficanti is more primal politically. The four were the key participants in the county’s purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Place, the former South Side Medical Center, which is now home to the Job and Family Services Agency.

The relocation of JFS from Garland Plaza, owned by the Cafaro Co., caused a political firestorm with county officeholders taking sides. The then influential company president, Anthony Cafaro Sr., did all he could to stop the JFS move to Renaissance Place.

The fallout of the battle will be felt for quite some time since Cafaro and six others, including McNally and another elected official, are defendants in a state criminal trial. They have been charged with criminal conspiracy.

The defendants are: Cafaro Sr., now retired from the company; his sister, Flora, an officer of the Cafaro Co.; Commissioner McNally; Auditor Michael Sciortino; former Treasurer John Reardon; former JFS Director John Zachariah; and, Atty. Martin Yarvocik.

Public trough

Rimedio-Righetti has spent her entire working life feeding at the public trough. She joined the board of elections in July 1970 when she was 18 years old and retired with a two-year buyout in August 1999 at age 47 — with a full pension.

She then ran for the council seat in Youngstown’s 4th Ward and served seven years before challenging Ludt, a 12-year veteran of county government, in the May 2010 Democratic primary. She won.

But it was how she went about ousting him that provided a glimpse into her political philosophy. It can be summed up thusly: Take no prisoners.

Despite her being a professional public sector employee, she railed against Ludt’s performance in office and brilliantly made Tablack an issue.

She sensed that the Democratic Party precinct committeemen and women, many of them union members or with ties to government, resented Tablack’s no-nonsense approach to departmental budgets and his insistence that the county embrace government accounting principles. He also was highly critical of the lack of uniform salary schedules and workplace rules. He made enemies because he was rocking the boat and argued that the status quo was not sustainable.

Rimedio-Righetti’s winning the party’s endorsement over a long-time Democratic officeholder was revealing. She made no secret of the fact that if elected, Tablack would be gone. She seemed to know that McNally, who has admitted to being close to the Cafaro family, would join her in going after the administrator/budget director.

Again she won — and Tablack is history.

Party endorsement

That’s why speculation about her targeting Gains and Traficanti isn’t idle. Youngstown City Prosecutor Jay Macejko has announced that he will challenge Gains next year, but it won’t be a cakewalk. The county prosecutor has a strong following within the party, and Chairman David Betras has made it clear that incumbent officeholders who have been faithful Democrats deserve to be endorsed.

Thus, it could come down to a battle between the chairman and a commissioner who obviously sees herself as queen of the hill. It would be an interesting fight.

It’s noteworthy that Rimedio-Righetti’s claim to fame is the fact that she has never held a private sector job. But, she believes she can run the county.

Tablack, a certified public accountant, is an acknowledged expert in government financing in Ohio. Yet, he was unceremoniously drummed out by a person with five months’ experience as a commissioner and a lawyer who is a defendant in a criminal trial.

That’s brazen.


Comments

1author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

So if the Sheriff's Department finds out Danny "I'm Probate Judge Mark Beliny's sister-in-law and Carol Remedio-Righetti's best bud" O'Neil is guilty of fixxing elections - is the "Queen of the Hill" (as Betram writes) going to cut the sheriff department budget as pay back?

Find it funny that Righetti worked for many years at the Board of Fixxed Elections and will "protect" Ms. O'Neil. Did Righetti teach O'Neil how to count absentee ballots or was it the other way around?

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2TAXEDOFF(118 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

This is the biggest LIE ever told in local politics !!!

"Betras has made it clear that incumbent officeholders who have been faithful Democrats deserve to be endorsed"

WHAT HAPPENED TO LUDT????
A LONG TIME FAITHFUL DEMOCRAT;

Betras and Rimedio-Righetti Spagetti have proven to be puppets of the Cafaro's

It's a SHAME how many millions this family has cost the county taxpayers and the bills will keep adding up.

Think how many sheriff deputies could have been employed or county workers spared layoff if millions had not been spent on their buy out of the Garland dump.

Their influence has been the most destructive factor in local politics next to the closing of the steel mills,

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3commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Another example of career politicians in this area - - -and people wonder WHY nothing changes, just fighting amoung themselves for POWER.

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4mrblue(999 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

I believe that Gaines and Traficanti are in the cross hairs and will be gone after the next election. ( In my opinion----no loss.)

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

The Cafaro Enterprise is constanly tightening its grip on political power . How many in The Valley owe their souls to them ?

Has anyone seen Maureen lately ?

http://www.vindy.com/news/2010/mar/05...

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6Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

If there is one thing that can be taken away from this article, it is this:

Dave Betras is irrelevent. But that irrelevence does not excuse him from his destructive tendencies in causing this kind of political upheaval that harms the Valley, because the rest of us have to live here too.

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7Millie(192 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Carole should immediately give up her salary as a commissioner - and Youngstown and Mahoning County should champion legislation that does not permit anyone to collect a public pension and go after another one. Bertram - would this make 3 for her and she has never held a real job? Just what we need attorneys and public pensioners at the helm. What are the credentials for the person just hired for human resources? And then Betras never shuts up just attacks.

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8ytownoptimist(86 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Wow, this is some interesting story spinning. This article makes Tablack seem like a saint, Traficanti unblemished and Ludt the next pope. Sounds like the writer has an axe to grind against powerful women. Having experience in public office is now a bad thing? We should only elect people off the street that have absolutely no idea how the county runs? Commissioner Rimedio-Righetti was elected by the people not by the press (thankfully). If The Vindicator was more fair and balanced, maybe this article would have some legs to it. Otherwise, it is just as power hungry and set in its ways as Tablack, Ludt & Traficanti. Oh, my bad. ;)

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9walter_sobchak(1922 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

If the question is "where in the private sector can you work for 30 years and retire with a full pension?", then the answer is SB5. Of course, one must have the proper "qualifications" to get a position at the BOE. Unfortunately for some public workers, you are being dragged under by a sinking public ship. The taxpayers are now saying "NO MAS!"

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10Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

"But the attack on Ludt, Tablack, who also was the budget director, Gains and Traficanti is more primal politically. The four were the key participants in the county’s purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Place, the former South Side Medical Center, which is now home to the Job and Family Services Agency."

Recent activity in The Valley could all be summed up as loyalty not unto the taxpayers . Cafaro Enterprises seems to be the entity that they are bonded to . In the past this would have been called organized crime .

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112muchtax(343 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Rigetthi another Cafaro politician on the take. Getting a pension at 47 this is exactly why SB5 needs to stay and put an end to these greedy public deals on the backs of the taxpayers. Time to get rid of McNally, Rigetti and soritino who have all been tied to Cafaro

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12Askmeificare(700 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

"Thus, it could come down to a battle between the chairman and a commissioner who obviously sees herself as queen of the hill. It would be an interesting fight.

It’s noteworthy that Rimedio-Righetti’s claim to fame is the fact that she has never held a private sector job. But, she believes she can run the county.

Tablack, a certified public accountant, is an acknowledged expert in government financing in Ohio. Yet, he was unceremoniously drummed out by a person with five months’ experience as a commissioner and a lawyer who is a defendant in a criminal trial.

That’s brazen."

Tablack is a VERY GOOD MAN. Incredible and sad that he has been kicked around as he has.

The vindicator has unjustly trumped up Carol Rimedio-Righetti when all she has done is be a negative candidate and politician.

Hopefully the public will see Carol Rimedio-Righetti as I see her - a fake and a phoney out for herself.

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13Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Let me get this straight, the Commissioner is a trough feeder? Okay, what does that make Tablack, the double dipping, inflated salary taking minion of the Traficanti and Ludt. How much of his salary did he really give back, how much has Traficanti given back as he promised. The Auditor surely could put this in Government Watch. Ludt lost because people in government know Tablack is awful to work with, yeah he's smart, but there are alot of smart people who dont require110,000.00 plus a pension to work and theyre also not -a--holes. He is why Ludt lost, HE is why he lost the endorsement.

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14Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

They have given back MINIMALLY and no where near what they promised the PEOPLE. Before you respond and sound really stupid review the PAR's at the Auditor's office. McNally is the only one who actually changed his salary amount. The others gave back when their cable bill wasn't too high. Ludt LOST the election because he ran a nothing campaign due to arrogance, the low voter turnout helped Rigetti, people were sick of incumbents AND ALL COUNTY EMPLOYEES HATED HIS SUPPORT OF TABLACK WHO HE LET BE A COMMISSIONER. Plus the precinct people were leftover and supported of McNally and HATED Ludt's backroom hiring of Tablack without notifying a sitting Commissioner. Yeah there was real TRANSPARENCY with that hiring huh?

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15Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

NOONE can gaurantee an endorsement because it is done by uh vote genius. Like it or not HE LOST AS A 12 YEAR INCUMBENT TO A 1st TIME CANDIDATE BECAUSE HE WAS LOOOUUUSSYY. Must be EVERYBODY else's fault huh. If he would have won would that have been everybody else's fault too. Also noone said Garland was good, but OAKHILL is a bad idea and has cost a struggling community MILLIONS. your soooooo knowledgeable let me know what you think the total bill there has run and then, because your such an insider, you have to admit it was idiocy.

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16Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

You can throw in all the political smack you want. Oakhill will cost us millions FACT Waay more than Garland FACT. Oakhill was Tablacks way of screwing the Cafaros who are no good agreed. BUT dont be fooled and think its was done for the good of the community, it was done with as much political malice as the other side. Why is it that a 75,000. dollar building, as they promised has cost us millions. Genius George said that we wouldnt have to pay taxes BUT now we owe close to a million. A February heating bill that's more than 50,000.00. All of this is fact. Its already cost us way more than they said it would. Deputis are being laid off, but picking up a million dollar tax bill was a good move by the genius George Tablack???? Got a 12 year old nephew smarter than that. Reall scary is how they've hidden the payments, but as HOOKED in as you are you know all this right? Oh yeah the total bill for Oakhill is not a "may or may not be" issue it is a documented FACT that George and 2 of three Commissioners neglected to share.

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17Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Agreed, agreed, agreed, civil discourse-I love it

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18Askmeificare(700 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Anthony Traficanti ALWAYS returned ny telephone calls AND with answers that satisfied my questions.

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19Zoned(51 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Phone calls are easy. Its actually BEING in the office that he has trouble with. Traficanti has been on the public payroll forever-is he a trough feeder? He's a FEEDER thats fo sho!

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