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Early personnel tests for Greene, Ginnetti

Published: Sun, May 19, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Todd Franko (Contact)

There’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Jerry Greene, and he’s been busy.

In Austintown, he opened a new satellite office for the Mahoning County Sheriff Department’s Senior Services Unit.

He’s established a new set of fees to drive more revenues for county services, including:

A $40 reception fee to be charged to newly convicted and sentenced county jail inmates that should amount to $40,000 to $60,000 in annual revenue;

A $175 filing fee for bank foreclosures, expected to raise $200,000 annually;

A $25 sex-offender registration fee, expected to raise up to $15,000 annually;

Fees for criminal background checks, expected to raise $20,000 to $30,000 annually.

But the most important decision of his new leadership — the one the public will care about most — was presented to him this week:

What to do with Deputy Ken O’Rourke? He was arrested on a charge of DUI after crashing his car last Sunday and damaging two other cars when he rolled off Raccoon Road. His blood-alcohol level was .242 — not even a horseshoe’s throw close to sober.

New Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti is also into his first round of decisions.

The list is a lot less sexy than the crime and punishment world of a new county sheriff.

It’s why Hollywood legend John Wayne never played a county engineer:

“I’m the engineer in this town, pal, and this asphalt pile is not big enough for the two of us ....”

Nah ....

But Ginnetti’s list is no less vital to taxpayers.

It thankfully includes remaking Walker Mill Road, which is just slightly better than driving over a cheese grater.

Other roads are on the list as well. That fewer funds are causing fewer roads to be fixed is hardly Ginnetti’s toughest decision.

The toughest was hiring a guy who just one year ago pleaded guilty to stealing from the Ohio Turnpike Authority, his employer for about two decades.

The Valley’s government history is not without good decisions and practices. Yet what has overshadowed the successes are persistently bad personnel moves.

Ultimately, personnel moves have a way of distinguishing one’s leadership agenda.

So when a leader fails at either personnel or personal actions, that failure seems to linger more than, say, a flawed road project or jail inner-workings.

Greene and Ginnetti are in the dawn of new regimes and both are taking over posts with unique public profiles.

Their terms may combine to open many jail cells and create autobahns out of sections of Western Reserve Road.

But how they hire, fire, promote and manage their employees will be what many taxpayers will measure most come re-election time.

It wasn’t just Republican fervor that fueled SB5.

There were taxpayers — both Democrat and Republican — who were simply frustrated with government workforce activities.

The frustration has settled a bit. But it would be foolish to think it’s not simmering just under the surface.

Ginnetti did not help himself with his hire.

Greene is next up with a problem deputy.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. E-mail him at tfranko@vindy.com. He blogs, too, on Vindy.com. Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.


1TERRAPINST(320 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Truly, the staff of the Vindicator have a responsibility to question the decisions of County elected officials as part of their mission. Accountability is crucial. Sheriff Greene should not be taxed however, in that the individual in question was already an employee at the time of his charge.. He should of course follow departmental policy with follow -up that might include progressive discipline and the requirement of substance abuse assessment and treatment as appropriate. The idea that someone should be thrown out however for having been involved in an unfortunate occurrence is something I am hesitant to support. The same applies to Engineer Ginetti. The hiring of Mr. Bindas was said to have occurred following the successful completion of his sentence as ordered by the Court. I don't know if his conviction should mean that he be banned from any public sector position ever. Perhaps the Engineer felt he was qualified. Shouldn't that be the primary factor? I know folks will say that there are other non-convicted individuals qualified for the job. That may be true, but I certainly don't think that making a mistake and fully paying for it means a person should be banned from a decent job ever again. Just an opinion, but the facts are he did his time and may turn out to be an exemplary employee motivated in gratitude-just a thought.

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2redeye1(5615 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

terrapin Once a thief , always a thief If what you say is true. Why wasn't Trafficant reelected ? But everyone including BERTTY condemned him for what he did. He paid the price and should have had the chance to run again.. But in this union laden valley it's okay for some ,but not others!

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3Spectator2(1 comment)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Wow. First you report how Sheriff Greene has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in new revenue in little more than 4 months in office, and then you negatively speculate on his ability to properly deal with disciplining his staff? Give him a chance before you start mud-slinging. I don't believe that The Sheriff has given us any reason to assume anything other than he will respond in accordance with department policy. He clearly has no control over the actions of his officers, only accountability to handle the situation as it is presented to him. Tell me, what does your editor do when one of his reporters gets a DUI (or 2...)? Funny that we don't see any articles on that, do we? People who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones.
And as for Mr. Ginnetti, who cares if he gave a guy a second chance? The guy is like 50 years old. Has he ever been in trouble before? I'm sure you would've dug that up if he had so I will assume that the answer is "no". So now, he completed his punishment and is probably working twice as hard for almost half the pay. And what makes this hire different than the article you ran a few months ago glorifying the State Pen for hiring 17 felons still living in a halfway house to cook and clean at the Supermax at nearly $30,000/yr each? Surely there are 17 law abiding citizens who would love those jobs. They too, are being given a second chance. If you spent a little more time investigating instead of just pouncing on the first bit of dirt that someone throws at you, and then beating it like a dead horse, I bet you'll find that there have been many more positive changes going on in the Sheriff's and Engineer's offices this year, as is expected with a new administration.

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