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3 express interest in county treasurer position

Published: Thu, May 19, 2011 @ 12:08 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Those who’ve applied for the vacant Mahoning County treasurer’s position include the office’s chief deputy treasurer, the former Mahoning Valley regional director for ex-Gov. Ted Strickland, and an Austintown trustee.

Two of the three come with some political baggage, which likely wouldn’t be issues in most elections.

But because the appointment is to be made by the county Democratic Party’s precinct committee members, those issues could become obstacles.

Those wanting to replace Lisa Antonini, who resigned Monday after being charged federally with honest-services mail fraud, have until May 31 to apply for the position. The Democratic precinct committee members will vote June 6 on Antonini’s replacement.

Three candidates already have applied. They are:

Dan Yemma, chief deputy treasurer and a Struthers councilman since 2000.

Kenneth A. Carano, Strickland’s former regional director, elected to four terms in the Ohio House and a former Austintown Township trustee. Carano also is the county Democratic Party’s executive vice chairman.

Lisa Oles, an Austintown trustee since 2004.

Yemma recently was removed from the party’s executive committee by Chairman David Betras for supporting Anthony Protopapa in the latter’s failed bid for the Struthers council 1st Ward seat in the May 3 primary. The party had endorsed incumbent Tony Fire in that race and Yemma in his at-large primary.

“We expect as an endorsed candidate to not work against the very party whose support you have received,” Betras wrote in an email to executive committee members. “Recently, an endorsed candidate took our endorsement and then [worked] openly for an unendorsed candidate. As an organization, this cannot be permitted.”

Yemma said, “I was in no way, shape or form trying to be disloyal to the party. I was merely trying to support who I consider to be a competent [former] officeholder. I’ve been loyal to the party for many years. I don’t think this one recent misunderstanding will cause me a problem.”

Yemma, who has 28 years of experience in the banking and mortgage businesses, said he’s the most qualified candidate. Also, Youngstown Councilman Jamael Tito Brown, director of operations for the treasurer’s office, is supporting Yemma.

Oles’ issue is she endorsed John McCain, the Republican candidate for president, over Democrat Barack Obama in 2008. Oles spoke at a McCain and Sarah Palin rally on Sept. 16, 2008, in Vienna Township.

Oles said she supported McCain because of his position on national security while her son was planning to join the Marines. Her son never officially joined the Marines.

“I’m not going to make any apologies,” she said. “I felt as a mother that national security trumped social issues. I trusted [McCain] more as commander-in-chief.”

Oles and Yemma question why Carano is running.

“We need to look to the future,” Oles said.

“I’m surprised Ken would seek this appointment,” Yemma added.

Carano said the treasurer’s office needs “someone with political and professional experience. We don’t need amateurs” in charge.

“It should be an easy transition for me,” he said. “I have a reputation for honesty.”

Betras said he won’t lobby for any candidate.

As for Oles and Yemma, Betras said that if precinct committee members “feel those actions should be involved in the decision-making process, then so be it.”

All three “bring a unique set of qualifications to the table,” Betras said.


1Miki(99 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Who's the most popular? NOT most qualified will be what happens here.

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2mishmash(333 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

This race is far from over. The deadline is May 31st and the best of the cream has yet to rise to the top.

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3outsideobserver(31 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Oles should be thrown out of the party for supporting McCain. Yes she can have her own opinion, but as a member of the Democratic Party you support our candidate no matter what, period.

Democratic precinct committee members are not going to support this closet republican. If she ticks off Carano too much she may have trouble getting reelected in Austintown. Remember elections have consequences.

If Yemma is running to "protect" his job this strategy may have already backfired in his face if Carano wins. Yemma has also had a hard time getting reelected in Struthers, how is he going to hold the seat in a countywide election next year when he has no money?

Carano has also pulled Betras off the edge of the cliff so many times (with all of the mistakes Betras makes as Chairman) that Betras owes Carano and I'm sure he is working behind the scenes to ensure a Carano victory.

The precinct committee members have been electing Carano to different positions in the party since the late '80's, and helping him win general elections for almost as long. Expect Carano to win big.

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4UNCOMMONSENSE(626 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The Treasurer's office needs someone that is qualified, not RECYCLED. Qualified does not mean political experience, Mr. Carano, but rather a degree in accounting or finance with professional work experience.

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5canfieldrebel(37 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Carano & Honesty in the same sentence.....I don't think so.

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6wakeboarder(17 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Carano and honesty in the same sentence..I don't think so???

I can only assume you do not know Mr. Carano or his family personally or professionally. He will come out on top...

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7canfieldrebel(37 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Carano is a career politician who has attained public office through years of political favors and glad-handing. He is not professionally qualified to be treasurer, but feels that he is entitled to the position because of his years of public service. He is dishonest and disingenuous. He is an opportunist. He will be appointed to the position, nonetheless....politics as usual in Youngstown.

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8Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The big question is who will the Cafaros endorse for the position ? Discussions well out of the public view have no doubt already taken place for the appointment . My guess is that Capri Cafaro has already spoken with Kenneth A. Carano, Strickland’s former regional director about his new job .

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9wipohio(3 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Did the Democratic Party throw Richard Billack out of the party when he endorsed Republican Scott Kirchbaum over the endorsed Democratic candidate, Beth Smith? NO! They honored him at a Democratic Hall of Fame banquet. Did the Democrats throw Lisa Antonini out of the party when she endorsed Marty Yavorcik an Independent over Paul Gains, the endorsed Democratic candidate? The hypocricy that goes on in this party is UNREAL! Ken needs another pension check. PERIOD! How long will this party live in the PAST!

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10AtownAugie(892 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

If Oles is selected, we'll still have two big boobs at the Austintown Trustees' meeting table: Ditzler and Davis.

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11wksb50(32 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

we need someone fresh, uncorrupted, qualified in finance and budgets above all has no connection already with all of this bull s---t that has been happening in the commissioners office and the cafaro's family. THINK BEFORE CHOOSING..............................................................

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12Zoned(51 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

To wipohio:
There were no endorsements by the party in those races....genius

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13CompMan(162 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The sleeper here is Tablack.

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14piak(508 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Tablack is the one who should have the job.

All the others are "feeders at the trough", but at least Tablack is more qualified than they are.

The only question is: Does Tablack know where all the bodies are hidden? That would be his biggest help.

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15Zoned(51 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Okay: How many public salaries plus pensions does Tablack need to take before he's called a trough feeder. Maybe he'll only charge us 120,000.00 a year plus pension for his brilliance. Quit kissing this guy's a$$. Ever hear the word narcissim?????????

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16Steamrollers(1 comment)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

How bout Ronnie Sefchik??? Was 4th ward councilman afew years back.

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17outsideobserver(31 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Tablack needs a lawyer! He is also part of the federal probe going on here in Mahoning County.

Anyone that thinks King George is any different than any of these other politicians has had the wool pulled over their eyes!!

George just talks up a good game. He does have some brains and has been surrounded by a bunch of dolts for years.

The investigation started by Gains/Tablack/Traficanti/Ludt is going to come back and haunt them. Once the FBI starts looking they find everything on everyone.

Oakhill will go down as one of the largest debacles in Mahoning County history for so many reasons.

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