Mahoning County hires new HR director

Published: Sat, March 30, 2013 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken


Mahoning County commissioners have hired Karen D. U’Halie as the county’s human resources director, effective Monday.

She replaces Rachel Livengood, who retired Friday.

“She worked in our county years ago. She has the experience in Mahoning County government. She knows the system,” Carol Rimedio-Righetti, chairwoman of the county commissioners, said of U’Halie.

U’Halie, who will earn $77,000 annually, has both public- and private-sector personnel-management experience and knowledge of collective bargaining, Righetti said, noting that county workers are represented by 21 labor-union locals.

From 1994 to 2000, U’Halie was HR manager at Mahoning County’s Department of Job and Family Services.

She served in the same role at Sysco Food Services Inc. of Cleveland from 2000 to 2008 and in Portage County government from 2008 to 2012.

She has a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in personnel and labor relations from LaSalle University in Philadelphia and a master’s degree in business administration from Youngstown State University.


Also this week, the commissioners bought a 2013 sanitary sewer and pumping station cleaning truck for $237,908 from Jack Doheny Supplies Inc. of Twinsburg through a state purchasing contract, with sewer fees paying for the purchase.

Cerni Motor Sales Inc. of Austintown is supplying the cab.

The purchase included the trade of a 2007 sewer- cleaning truck, with a $100,000 value.

The county uses two such trucks to clean more than 800 miles of sewers and more than 80 pumping stations.

“Generally, we like to rotate these trucks out about every five to seven years to keep the equipment running efficiently,” said Bill Coleman, office manager at the county sanitary engineer’s office.


Also at the meeting, the county commissioners heard John Williams of McDonald, a member of Frack Free Mahoning Valley and Frack Free Ohio, ask whether the county has an evacuation plan ready for use in case of a blowout or some other oil- and gas-well emergency.

The county has a master emergency operations plan, which includes evacuation plans, said Clark Jones, county emergency management agency director.

“The fire service is very instrumental in what would be evacuated,” Jones said. “We would be taking our direction and lending our assets in support of the fire chief in charge of any situation,” he said, adding that state law puts the local fire chief in charge in any such emergency.

“We know where the wells are, and we know where the people who live around the wells are, so we can make contingency plans ahead of time in this case, and I’m hoping that the county does so,” Williams said.

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