Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone said he has no intention of disciplining or firing city Prosecutor Jay Macejko.
Sammarone said Friday he wouldn’t even consider taking any action against Macejko unless several factors occur.
A derogatory text message about President Barack Obama has been attributed to Macejko or one of his assistant prosecutors in documents given to the media by a supporter of Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains.
Macejko, who is challenging Gains in the March 6 Democratic primary, says he didn’t send the text and never saw it until last week. It was supposedly sent in April 2009.
Sammarone said he won’t “make a decision on information provided by a Gains’ supporter” that has yet to be substantiated.
If a federal judge provides the messages and the Obama text is among them, the mayor said he’d have a three-member panel investigate the matter.
That panel would include city Law Director Anthony Farris, Jonathan Huff, executive director of the city’s Human Relations Commission, and a member of the police department’s internal affairs office.
Sammarone said only after that investigation is completed would he make a decision on whether something improper occurred.
Gains has called for Sammarone to fire Macejko and Bret Hartup, an assistant city prosecutor. Documents given to the media by Scott Cochran, an attorney and Gains’ supporter, include the Obama text message.
Cochran is the lawyer for the Islamic Society of Greater Youngstown, which is seeking to unseal documents in a settled lawsuit between the city and Bassil Ally, an assistant city prosecutor, who sued for discrimination. Ally received a $110,000 lump sum and promotion that includes a $4,000 annual raise.
Sammarone dismissed the documents as “nothing official.” He added, “You need the facts to make a decision.”
Sammarone said the controversy has not been a distraction. He said he told Macejko, ‘I hope there’s not a problem.’” Macejko has strongly denied writing or receiving the text.