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Officers, firefighters sworn in

Published: Tue, November 8, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.


Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley, left, welcomed six new offi cers to the department after a swearing-in ceremony at city hall. They are, from left, Nick Bailey, Eric Ruschak, Michael Medvec, Nick Menichini, Jose Morales and Jimmy Hughes Jr.

By Denise Dick and

DAVID Skolnick



Because of new civil-service rules approved by the Republican-controlled state Legislature, the city was able to hire Jimmy Hughes Jr., the son of the retired police chief, who finished 30th among those seeking police-officer jobs.

Under the old state civil- service rules, Hughes would have been ineligible. Known as the “rule of 10,” the policy required the city to offer jobs to those who finished in the top 10 on the tests. If those in the top 10 were hired as Youngstown police officers or rejected the job offer, the person with the next highest score moved into the top 10 and could be hired.

But the new law, included in the state budget by the Gov. John Kasich administration, allows the city to hire anyone who scored in the top 25 on the test. There were 198 people who passed the test, meaning anyone in the top 50 could have been hired.

Hughes, 26, jumped to 17th on the list for two reasons.

First, the five other officers sworn in with him Monday moved him up five slots. Also, eight candidates who finished ahead of Hughes on the combined written and physical- agility test chose not to seek a police patrol-officer job.

“Everyone hired was eligible,” said Jennifer Lewis, the city’s civil-service commission administrator.

Three of the other new officers were in the top 10, while two others, Nicholas Menichini and Jose Morales, finished 13th and 15th, respectively. They jumped to seventh and ninth after others turned down the jobs.

Police Chief Rod Foley, who replaced Jimmy Hughes Sr. as police chief, said he wondered how people would react to the hiring of the ex-chief’s son.

“I felt it wasn’t fair to rule him out because his dad was the police chief,” he said. “I was concerned with people saying it’s nepotism. But he has the experience and training and is going to earn his bachelor’s degree shortly. I’d be silly to pass him over because of who his dad is.”

Besides the son’s being a good police officer, Foley said it’s important to have diversity in the department. Hughes is black and is the only Youngstown resident among the new hires. He previously worked for the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department.

The six new officers are the first patrolmen hired at the police department in four years, Foley said.

Mayor Charles Sammarone swore them in Monday in city hall council chambers.

There is another familiar name among the new hires.

Morales, 23, of Canfield, is the son of Detective Sgt. Jose Morales. The younger Morales previously worked at Phantom Fireworks.

Eric Ruschak, 37, of Fowler, formerly from the Portage County Sheriff’s Department; Nicholas Bailey, 25, of Farmdale, formerly of Howland Police; Michael Medvec, 30, of Poland, formerly of Struthers Police; and Nicholas Menichini, 24, of Mineral Ridge, formerly of Weathersfield Police, rounded out the new police hires.

Three new firefighters, Kyle Trimble of Canfield, Bryan Meehan of Lowellville and Matt Durkin of Youngstown, also were sworn in during Monday’s ceremony bringing to 138 the number of city firefighters.

Foley said the new police hires brings to 150 the number in his department compared with a high of 215 in 2001.

He expects more officers to be hired.

“We’re going to be losing six to seven officers in the next six months due to retirement,” the chief said.

The department includes 103 patrol officers with the remainder being ranking officers.

Shortly after becoming chief, Foley said he would move officers from special units and put them on patrol.

“We need more officers to be generalists rather than specialists,” he said.


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Why no mention that Jimmy Hughes Jr had been arrested for DUI recently, but the police officer who arrested him failed to appear at his trial to testify about his DUI findings so his case was dismissed. I'm sure that was a wink - wink to avoid his not getting this YPD job. I mean .166 is a serious alcohol reading.

Once again, Youngstown gets friends and family over justice in their criminal enforcement system. Who wants another drunk on the Youngstown police force when there are so many criminal problems around Youngstown to deal with? Who wants a sheriff who does this kind of thing for his son in the face of the taxpayer?

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2nane6(41 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Wrong son! Get your info right before you make comments.

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3honestman(33 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

i notice that unionforever has nothing to say for a change, he usually doesnt have anything to say when asked for real numbers on taxes and such, union forever should be union never, vote no on issue 2

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4kensgirl(1061 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

No matter what the situation is people will always find something to bitch about. Not everything is as corrupt and underhanded as people think and I'm old enough to say that. I wish all the patrolmen good luck and and may you remain safe on the job. You'll need all the protection you can get- not only from the thugs but also fron the poisoned tongued public.

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5UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

My apology to Jimmy Hughes Jr., but Nepotism lives in Youngstown. Use John Kasich's laws for your friends and family hiring whenever you can.

**Voting Yes on Issue 2 in 15 minutes for me**

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6blkpride(186 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Jimmy Hughes Jr met the qualifications and was hired based on his own merit. It is unfair to disqualify him because his father was a police officer. Just because the private sector gets away with hiring whoever they want, does not mean the public sector does. Quite the opposite. Jr had to compete with other applicants and prove he was qualified to do the job. Probally even more qualified because of who his father was.

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7boxerlover(133 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Hey, Union, how is it that you have time to post on here all the time? How come you aren't at your union job? Or are you and this is what you do on company time? All I can say, is maybe Jimmy Sr. was a great role model for Jimmy Jr. and that led to his passing all the exams and qualifications to follow in dad's footsteps...did you ever think of that? Once again something GOOD for the city is trashed and bashed. Will anyone ever be happy?

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8Silence_Dogood(1677 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I am sorry DR. so and so , but you are not allowed to practice medicine because your father/mother was a doctor. I am sorry ATTY. so and so but you are not allowed to practice law because your father/mother was a lawyer. I am sorry TEACHER so and so but you are not allowed to teach in any school system because your father/mother was a teacher.I am sorry BAKER so and so but you are not allowed to bake because your father/mother was a baker.
blkpride is right , Jimmy Hughes jr. should not be excluded because his father was a cop. I am curious though as to where he placed on the civil service list.If he is anything like his father, odds are he did not place very high on the list.

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9kensgirl(1061 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

The article states that he placed 30th out of 198 people. That's pretty good to me seeing as though way back when most policemen needed 30 or more points to bring them up to just 70% needed to pass. I have the paperwork to prove it! Some of them went on though to become great sergeants and lieutenants. Sometimes street smarts is far more impt. than book knowledge. God bless all the new patrolmen and please God keep them safe.

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10AnotherAverageCitizen(1194 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

OH come on people. Hiring friends and family goes on in private and public sectors. NOBODY can argue that. Quit whining on both sides. A lawyer/politician/grocerymanager/ all have hired freinds and/or family. Its that way all over, not just here in the valley.

Jenny, using the lawyer without a degree is a useless arguement, Hughes passed his tests.

I've worked several different private sector jobs that all had freinds/family hired.

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11One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

There's not a thing in the world wrong with Nepotism. Think about it - you are hiring someone that you already know their strengths and weaknesses before hand. Rather than taking a chance on an unknown based on their resume and test results, you are hiring a known based on their resume, test results and known attributes.

Having said that, hiring someone who is sub-standard (as Hughes' test results clearly seem to show) is a total load of crap. Now you are not comparing apples to apples - you are just hiring family because they are family (or friend).

If he was even close to the top 10 or so, I'd have no problem with him (even though I think his dad was a totally ineffective Chief - bordering on incompetence). But he isn't even close - why does he have this job?

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12woolyd(579 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I finished 27 out of 298 in 2008 somehow I never got a letter or call for one of the positions. I was told they werent hiring. I did 27 reps on the bench press only 2 people did more then me during the testing period. Oh I also passed the psychological, physical, and obviously the civil service. Congratulations to those who were hired.

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13AnotherAverageCitizen(1194 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago


Finally you admit it goes on in the private sector also. Trust me, I have felt the pain. But I also knew something alse would be there for me.

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14woolyd(579 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Wait a second one of these individuals was fired from another law enforcement position???? Now im peeved so he will probably be on the streets running amuck.

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15kensgirl(1061 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Back when, a person did not need a police background to be hired. They came right out of college or from the mill. But most went on to become great police officers, sergeants etc. You learn real fast on the street. It all comes down to why you really want the job. If you're serious you'll learn as much bookwork as you can but also need to be people smart. Eventually the bad apples if there are any will self destruct. God bless our police who do the hardest job out there. And may you be guided by dedication, loyalty and dignity.

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