By Peter H. Milliken
The Democratic candidate, David C. Ditzler, won an easy victory over three other lesser-known candidates to become a Mahoning County commissioner.
Ditzler, 54, who has been an Austintown trustee since 1994, will replace Commissioner John A. McNally IV, who will be leaving office at the end of this year because he did not seek re-election to a third-consecutive four-year term as commissioner.
Ditzler won 64 percent of the vote, with Republican David V. Rossi, 54, of Boardman, getting 26 percent; Green Party candidate Howard Markert, 46, of Youngstown, getting 2 percent; and independent candidate Edward L. Goldner Jr., of Berlin Center, getting 8 percent.
“We worked hard for almost a year,” Ditzler said of himself and his campaign supporters, explaining why he won so decisively.
“Labor support has been huge,” he said, noting that he was endorsed by the United Auto Workers, the AFL-CIO and building- trades unions. “The people I deal with always have considered me fair,” he added.
“Safety forces have always been my primary objective,” Ditzler said, adding that his top priority will be adequate funding of the sheriff’s department, including county jail operations.
He said he’s also ready to tackle consolidation of the county’s 911 dispatching functions and merger of the Youngstown and Mahoning County health departments. “We’ve got to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars” and improve services to them, he said.
After Ditzler leaves, the two remaining Austintown trustees will appoint Ditzler’s replacement, who will have to run in 2013 to keep his or her seat.
Rossi is a retired deputy sheriff and crime-scene investigator, who returned to Mahoning County last year after 30 years in Houston. His top priorities as a candidate were law enforcement and criminal justice.
Markert is a self- employed landlord who moved to Youngstown in April 2009 from Berkeley, Calif. He advocated creating a county central bank using the State Bank of North Dakota as a model and restricting oil and gas drilling to protect the environment.
Goldner submitted no candidate information to The Vindicator and did not appear for an interview with the Vindicator’s editorial board.
For the other commissioner’s seat on the ballot, Democratic incumbent Anthony T. Traficanti, 46, of Poland, cruised to victory as an unopposed candidate for a third consecutive four-year term as a county commissioner.
In the contest for county recorder, Democratic incumbent Noralynn Palermo, 59, of Youngstown, easily defeated Jim Villani, 63, of Boardman, who was the Green Party candidate, by a margin of 81 percent to 19 percent.
“I would like to mend some of the books. We’re looking into digitizing in the future a lot more of the records that aren’t digitized,” Palermo said of her goals for her new term.
Palermo, who has been with the recorder’s office for 37 years, became recorder seven years ago after 14 years as deputy recorder and 16 years as an administrative assistant in that office.
Villani is owner and operator of Pig Iron Press in Youngstown, where he edits, designs and produces books and other promotional materials. He teaches writing at Stark State College in Canton and Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pa., near Pittsburgh.