Austintown board expected to fill vacant trustee post today

By Ashley Luthern


Trustees are expected to name a replacement today for David Ditzler, who was sworn in Wednesday as a Mahoning County commissioner.

Trustees Jim Davis and Lisa Oles will meet at 11 a.m. today to discuss the position and are expected to offer the job to a candidate at noon.

Davis said five people, including two former trustees, submitted letters of interest to the board. They are Andy Frost Jr., who retired last year after 27 years as Austintown fire chief; Ken Carano, a former Austintown trustee; Andrea Paventi, executive director of Mahoning County Treat Alternatives to Street Crimes (TASC); Bruce Shepas, co-owner of Austintown Bounce; and Warren “Bo” Pritchard, another former Austintown trustee.

Trustees also heard verbally from interested candidates, Davis said.

Carano served as trustee from 1996 to 2001, when he was sworn in as a state representative after winning an election. He later served as regional director for then-Gov. Ted Strickland.

Pritchard first was elected as a trustee in 1993 and did not seek another four-year term. He was then appointed to replace Carano in 2001 and served until he lost re-election in 2009, with Ditzler and Davis winning the two open seats.

In January 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court indefinitely suspended Pritchard’s law license for multiple violations of professional codes of conduct between 2006 and 2009.

The board had to wait to offer the position until there was an official vacancy. Ditzler, who served as trustee for 19 years, resigned effective Wednesday, Davis said.

Although trustees have 30 days to fill the post before it would go to a committee, Davis said he and Oles want to move quickly because of pending activity in the township.

“The racino is moving forward. ... We’ve got negotiations beginning for contracts up in 2014,” he said. “Along with the racino, we’ve been contacted personally by an investor that’s looking at building a hotel in the community. We’ve got a lot of projects we’re finishing in the [township] park.”

Davis said it’s important for the board to represent diverse viewpoints.

“We want to make sure we’re getting input from a different point of view. [Ditzler] brought a great point of view with his 19 years of experience. I bring a law-enforcement point of view, and [Oles] is in real estate,” he said.

Whoever is chosen will fulfill the remainder of Ditzler’s term, which ends Dec. 31.

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