After 24 years on the Canfield Board of Education, Martha Zarlenga decided not to seek re-election in 2007. But her retirement from public life in her community was short-lived; in 2009, a two-year term on the Canfield Township Board of Trustees was on the ballot, and she ran for it, getting 46 percent of the vote in a three-way race. The appointed incumbent got 19 percent.
And now, Zarlenga, 73, shows enthusiasm uncharacteristic of her age and a determination characteristic of past service in seeking re-election to a full four-year term on the board.
The two challengers in the race are Joe Paloski, a 26-year-old master of arts graduate of Youngstown State University who says he would quit his job at a wine store to devote full time to the trustee’s post, and Stephen Maszczak, 36, a lawyer.
Zarlenga and Paloski agree on one thing, the need to get a fence around a retention pond at the site of new township soccer fields. Beyond that, their interviews at The Vindicator took them in different directions. Maszczak did not sit for an interview, making him ineligible for endorsement. His questionnaire states that he is seeking election to pursue effective administration of the township and that he believes his legal training and business experience would serve him well.
‘Complacency’ doesn’t ring true
Paloski is a strong critic of the development of soccer fields off Herbert Road, and while he acknowledges that the township committed to developing the fields before Zarlenga was elected, he accuses her of being “complacent.” Yet Zarlenga has been working to get an easement for a water line that would allow the use of the vacant concession building at the site. It is, frankly, difficult to envision Zarlenga as “complacent” about anything involving the township or the school board on which she previously served.
Paloski says there should be more regional cooperation, between the township and city regarding police protection and between Canfield and the neighboring townships of Boardman and Austintown and the city of Youngstown on water service. And while he may be right on principle, he could give no concrete explanation of how such cooperation could be realized. He’s strong on theory, short on political reality.
Zarlenga talks about the nuts and bolts of running a township, of attempting to clean up eyesores, of freeing money for another road department worker and of seeking grants to address septic and storm sewer problems in impacted areas of the township.
In the race for Canfield Township trustee, The Vindicator endorses Martha Zarlenga for re-election.