Judge halts JFS chief Bob Bush's garnishment

By Peter H. Milliken



A judge has halted the garnishment of the salary of Robert E. Bush Jr., Mahoning County Job and Family Services director.

Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court granted Bush’s motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the garnishment pending a 10 a.m. Nov. 6 status hearing.

Since May 31, the county has been withholding $730 every two weeks from Bush’s $111,738 annual salary to pay debt, which had risen to $70,758 before the garnishment began.

Judge Sweeney had ordered the garnishment to pay the 22-year-old rent debt Bush owed the Cafaro Co. for a retail beauty-products supply business he operated from 1987 to 1991 at the McGuffey Mall.

Judge Sweeney did not offer any explanation for halting the garnishment in the judgment entry she filed this week.

“Our attorneys have just begun to look at it, and they are going to defer any comment until they have a chance to analyze it,” Joe Bell, a Cafaro spokesman, said Friday.

Bush and Tom Michaels, an assistant county prosecutor, said the question of whether Bush gets a refund of monies the county has withheld already from his salary will be decided by the judge at a later date.

Bush’s lawyers want Judge Sweeney to void the 2003 revival of the 1991 judgment against Bush on the grounds his due-process rights were violated when he didn’t get notice and an opportunity to be heard.

The judgment went dormant Feb. 1, 2001, and the 10-year deadline to revive it has expired, Bush’s lawyers argued.

Bush said the withholding of the $730 from his pay Friday will stand because that pay period ended Sept. 21, which was before the judge issued her order; but future withholdings will be halted pending a further order from the judge.

Michaels said that’s his interpretation of what should happen.

Thomas Lyden, county payroll director, could not be reached to comment.

Bush is represented by Attys. Ronald D. Yarwood and Edward A. Czopur of Youngstown.

The Cafaro Co. is represented by Michael J. Wright, a lawyer at Cafaro’s Youngstown headquarters.

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