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Youngstown demo employee reprimanded for wrong information on house



Published: Wed, August 28, 2013 @ 12:06 a.m.

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

A city demolition worker received a verbal warning — in writing — for providing incorrect information about a Wick Avenue house supposedly being demolished to the mayor’s chief of staff/secretary who then gave it to The Vindicator.

Jean Schaefer, rehab assistant at the city’s demolition department, received the warning Tuesday from DeMaine Kitchen, “for your role in relaying incorrect information to me as your direct supervisor.”

He added in the letter that the city has “a program of transparency and accountability, and we cannot afford to provide inaccurate information.”

The city’s website had the long-vacant and dilapidated house at 1321 Wick Ave. on the North Side incorrectly listed as “demolition complete” when it is still standing. As of Tuesday, the website lists that property’s current stage as “abatement.”

Schaefer said Monday that a “clerical error” had city officials believing the Mahoning County Land Bank was going to demolish the house.

The city planned to use federal Community Development Block Grant money on the removal of asbestos from the house and demolition, but a clerk mistakenly put it in the land-bank file, she said Monday.

If not for inquiries from The Vindicator about the house, the city wouldn’t have realized the mistake for months, said Kitchen, the city’s pointman on demolition.

Jan Pentz, who has lived across the street from 1321 Wick Ave., contacted the newspaper Monday about the structure and the wrong listing on the city’s website.

That house as well as the vacant house next door at 1319 are missing their front doors, most of their windows, in horrible condition and almost not visible from the street because of overgrown trees, shrubs and grass.

After Kitchen said the land bank was going to demolish the house, two officials with that agency said that wasn’t the case. The newspaper followed up with Kitchen, who was able finally to provide the correct information.

The city is looking to see if it can “rush” the demolition of 1321 Wick while the house next door “will eventually come down,” Kitchen said.


Comments

1endthismess(307 comments)posted 1 year ago

All these goof balls with the city who are involved with the city's demo list NEVER KNOW what they are doing...EVER. Not any simple single one of them. This means there are far too many nitwits all being paid to all do the same job...which should say several nitwits need to GO all the way down the line. Lost in space!

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2rickking123(288 comments)posted 1 year ago

Isn't a verbal warning in writing a written warning?

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3Southside_Res(170 comments)posted 1 year ago

This is just one more unfortunate twist in the city's mismanagement of demolitions. I continue to hold Kitchen to task for HIS management of the demolition list. This article is clearly just one more inidication that Kitchen cannot and will never accept personal responsibility for his own misguided attempts to manage something effectively and efficiently. Readers should take note that this man wants to be mayor and he can't manage a simple demolition list. Kitchen has a reputation for doubkespeak off by first saying, "It didn't happen on my watch!" (I've personally heard him say this.). Now, he wants to sanction one of his own peons for his own poor management style. Those "razing concerns" should be mortified that the management of the demolition list by Kitchen has reached moronic levels.

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4handymandave(456 comments)posted 1 year ago

Jean Schaefer might be too dumb to have this position. How is she at holding a shovel?

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5johnyoung(241 comments)posted 1 year ago

These are the results which can be expected when you have idiots supervised by bigger idiots.

If Mr. Kitchen truly wants to enhance the effectiveness of Youngstown's demolition program, his best move would be to stay away from it and put someone competent in charge.

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