Sammarone reconsidering plans to not run for mayor
By DAVID SKOLNICK
Mayor Charles Sammarone, who’s repeatedly said he is “99-percent” sure he won’t run for the seat next year, is “reconsidering” it.
“I’m going to look at it again and rethink it,” Sammarone told The
Vindicator on Friday.
Sammarone, a Democrat appointed mayor in August 2011, said even before taking over the city that there was only a 1-percent chance he’d run for the position in the 2013 election.
“A lot of people are asking me to reconsider, so that’s what I’m going to do,” he said.
Sammarone, 69, said residents, city council members and business leaders want him to run next year “to finish what I started with accountability in city government.”
The mayor said he’ll discuss his political future with his family and community leaders over the upcoming holidays and make a decision shortly after the first of January.
As for the “99-percent” statements, Sammarone said that always left the door open for the remaining 1
And if he runs for mayor, Sammarone said he isn’t sure he’d complete the full four-year term.
If not mayor, Sammarone said he could run next year for council president, a position he held before the mayoral appointment.
“Anything is possible,” he said. “Who knows? I don’t even know.”
Feb. 6 is the deadline to file for the Democratic primary, which is May 7.
Outgoing Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally IV and Matthew Smith have filed nominating petitions for the Democratic primary. Several others are looking at a mayoral run with decisions expected by January for most potential candidates.
Sammarone has about 29 years of experience in city government. He’s been mayor since Aug. 1, 2011. Before that he served as a councilman, council president and water commissioner.
“There’s not a lot of people left in government with my experience,” he said. “I’ve been involved a long time.”
Sammarone was council president when then-Mayor Jay Williams resigned Aug. 1, 2011, to take a job with the President Barack Obama administration.
Williams was selected as the executive director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. Since June 8, Williams been deputy director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, based in the White House.
Under the city charter, council president automatically succeeds the mayor and fills out the remainder of his term if the top elected city official leaves office early.
During his 16-plus months as mayor, Sammarone has focused his efforts on making city employees, particularly managers, more accountable as well as finding ways to cut the cost of government, and increasing code enforcement and the demolition of vacant residential houses.
In July, he said, “I’m trying to change attitudes. That’s a long and hard process. It’s one of the hardest things you have to do. Not everyone in city government, but some government workers have a tendency to do enough just to get by rather than make the best decisions. We have to be proactive, and not just reactive.”