McNally to run for mayor, focusing on public safety, finances and blight

By David Skolnick


If elected Youngstown mayor, outgoing Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally IV said his administration would focus on public safety, the city’s finances, the continued elimination of blight and more demolitions of vacant structures.

McNally, a Democrat, told The Vindicator a year ago he wouldn’t seek re-election as commissioner and was “strongly considering” a run for Youngstown mayor.

On Friday, McNally said he’ll file his nominating petitions Monday for the May 2013 Democratic primary for mayor.

The filing deadline is in February.

McNally’s been campaigning for months.

“The presidential election is out of the way and my career as a county commissioner is coming to a close,” he said. “It’s now time to get to the next phase of my life.”

McNally spent nearly eight years in the city’s law department, including two years as its director, before being elected in November 2004 as county commissioner.

If elected, he personally would be involved in resolving crime issues, McNally said.

A mayor “needs to be a presence in the neighborhood on these issues,” he said. “It’s not enough to send the police chief or captains to do that. If there’s a murder and no one identifies [a suspect], the mayor should get in people’s faces.”

A mayor needs to be very visible in the community on a daily basis, he said.

“It’s pushing law enforcement a little harder,” he said. “It’s having neighborhood groups and residents clean up the neighborhoods and asking them for assistance.”

Also, McNally said the city under his leadership would “push the business community to get” more involved in improving Youngstown.

“We’re all in this together,” he said. “We need to increase the city relationships with the business community, neighborhood groups and the townships.”

McNally said he’d create a roundtable group with business owners in the city who would meet monthly to discuss issues.

Also, he would open the mayor’s office once a month to allow people with issues to come in and talk with him without making an appointment.

There needs to be a balance between saving money and proper staffing, particularly in key departments such as police and planning, he said.

Being mayor runs the gamut from “fun things” such as attracting new businesses and expanding others to the challenges of violence.

Though McNally will be the first mayoral candidate to file for the Democratic primary, he won’t be the last.

City Council President Jamael Tito Brown also is planning a run.

Others giving it consideration include state Rep. Robert F. Hagan, Councilwoman Janet Tarpley of the 6th Ward and Councilman John R. Swierz of the 7th Ward.

Also, a Facebook page urging community activist Phil Kidd to run for mayor was created Tuesday and has 153 likes. Kidd, who is not affiliated with the page, doesn’t “have any intention to run” but added he “wouldn’t rule anything out,” and if he ran, it would be as an independent candidate.

Mayor Charles Sammarone, appointed to the job in August 2011 after Jay Williams resigned to work for the President Barack Obama administration, said he is 99 percent sure he won’t run for the post next year.

Sammarone said he plans to endorse a candidate or maybe more in the mayoral race.

“I want someone in city government doing what they have to do, which is giving the best service at the best price,” he said. “If three candidates have that same philosophy, I’ll endorse three of them.”

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