Carano has the inside track

On the side

Say what?: Here’s a little insight into how some organizations prepare for press conferences.

I was sent an email from one of the organizers of Tuesday’s press conference outside Youngstown’s city hall by We Are Ohio, the group spearheading an effort to get an SB5 repeal on the November ballot.

The email included instructions from Jeff Pittman, a We Are Ohio spokesman, to those at the event. I’m guessing it was sent to me by accident.

It reads: “Pitched Mahoning Co press to cover this (see below). Please put on Facebook and listserves [sic] to dive [he probably meant “drive”] a few folks to hold the attached signs as backdrop! Thanks for your help. I’ll send Mahoning County specific draft remarks to the confirmed speakers (Traficanti, Rimedio-Righetti and Gillam) shortly. Also, council members Tarpley and Brown may be there tomorrow.”

Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti did most of the talking. Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti made a few remarks. Youngstown Councilwoman Annie Gillam, who Pittman spoke to and handed her a piece of paper before the event, declined to speak at the press conference.

If history is any indication, Mahoning County Democratic precinct committee members will select Kenneth A. Carano, likely by a wide margin, as the next county treasurer.

The precinct committee members are Democratic political insiders and when it comes to filling vacancies on the county level they usually choose a political insider.

Carano is the party’s executive vice chairman, its parliamentarian and elections committee chairman.

He was ex-Gov. Ted Strickland’s regional director in the Mahoning Valley, elected to four terms in the Ohio House, and served as an Austintown Township trustee.

Carano is the ultimate party insider.

Chairman David Betras’ detractors accuse him of rigging the election. But no one needs to fix this election.

Some have criticized Betras for using equipment from Turning Technologies to allow voting on hand-held electronic units rather than paper ballots.

All that’s going to do is save time when the precinct committee members vote on June 6 to make Carano the next county treasurer.

I’m sure some of them would like to vote now rather than wait until after the speeches.

As of Thursday afternoon, four candidates have applied. The deadline to file for the treasurer’s position is Tuesday.

Carano has more political experience than the others, but unlike them he’s never worked in the treasurer’s office or been involved with government accounting.

Carano correctly points out that the position is a management job.

The ideal replacement would have a reputation for integrity — which Carano has — as well as experience in the financial field — which Carano doesn’t have.

The former boss, Lisa Antonini, resigned as treasurer May 16 after being federally charged with taking and failing to report a $3,000 campaign contribution.

Her replacement needs to know what to do to restore trust in that office.

Paul J. Canter, the only certified public accountant in the race, specializes in government accounting and is a political novice. But he doesn’t have a prayer of winning.

When Canter voted in partisan primaries in 2004 and 2008, he did so as a Republican. He voted issues-only in the 2010 primary so the state considers him an independent. But with those two other primary votes, Democrats consider him a Republican.

Roxanne DeNiro has worked in the treasurer’s office for 29 years. She’s known among the precinct committee members, but I would expect most to vote for Carano over her.

Also in the race is Dan Yemma, who resigned as a Struthers councilman-at-large to be interim county treasurer. Yemma has 28 years of experience in the banking and mortgage businesses, and served as chief deputy treasurer for the past four years.

Yemma’s biggest problem is he was just kicked off the party’s executive committee by Betras. Yemma, an endorsed party candidate, supported a nonendorsed candidate in the Struthers 1st Ward council primary against the party’s endorsed candidate.

That’s likely enough to cost him the appointment.

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