The Mahoning County commissioners spent nearly 90 minutes in executive session discussing legal and personnel issues with several members of the county children services board and two lawyers from the civil division of the county prosecutor’s office.
After Thursday’s meeting, Carol Rimedio Righetti, chairwoman of the commissioners, characterized the tone of the closed-door gathering as “very cordial.”
Neither Dave Arnold, interim director of the child welfare agency, nor Robert E. Bush Jr., director of the county’s Department of Job and Family Services, would comment as they emerged from the meeting.
On Wednesday, the commissioners unani- mously declared their intent to designate the county’s JFS department as its public children services agency, but they set no date for a merger of children services with JFS and took no final action on the matter.
Righetti said she wants to have the commissioners meet soon with the full 13-member volunteer CSB.
Before the executive session, Righetti told the CSB members the commissioners’ proposal “has nothing to do with the board members” that govern the child welfare agency.
“It’s financial,” Righetti said of the proposal, which could result in cost-savings from a combination of administrative, financial and legal services, now that several top children- services administrators here have recently retired.
Local children services levy money can’t be used for anything other than child-protective services, Righetti said. “The people that we need to protect are the children,” she added.