Leadership considering merger option

By William K. Alcorn



A vote is imminent on the proposed merger of the United Way organizations in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Laurie Reuben, official spokeswoman for the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and United Way of Trumbull County, however, refused to reveal specifics about what will be voted on and when the vote is to occur.

She did say the vote results are expected to be announced no later than July 31.

Reuben said the leadership of the United Way of Trumbull County and the Community Corporation, doing business as the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, are considering a proposal from the task force created last summer to explore potential partnering opportunities.

She said the proposal includes 12 primary recommendations and 16 secondary recommendations.

Further, Reuben said that in the coming weeks each organization’s board will vote on the slate of recommendations through a confidential ballot process conducted under the supervision of their accounting firms, with oversight by the independent consultant they’ve been working with since May 2011.

The proposal is structured so that additional steps are required once the votes are taken and tallied. The specifics of those steps depend on the outcome of the voting process.

The United Way organizations will not make any statements until the entire process has been completed, she said.

Officials from the organizations either refused to comment on the proposed merger or did not return phone calls Tuesday.

However, based on mergers of other community service organizations, such as the American Red Cross in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, and those considering mergers, such as the Mahoning County Mental Health Board and the Mahoning County Drug and Alcohol Addiction Services Board, major issues of discussions involve disposition of money from fund-raising efforts and governance.

This latest effort to merge the two United Ways is not the first time the issue has been discussed.

The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley and the United Way of Trumbull County have failed to complete several attempts at merging.

In each attempt, Mahoning County United Way officials have favored combining efforts and those in Trumbull County have rejected the idea.

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