The head of Youngstown’s public works department is staying

Department also faces additional changes, hirings

By David Skolnick


Mayor John A. McNally is retaining Charles Shasho as deputy director of public works, hiring two new assistant law directors and changing how the city handles its neighborhood improvement operations.

Shasho, deputy director of public works since January 2008 and a 14-year city employee, is doing a good job in a department that is “woefully understaffed,” McNally said Monday.

The mayor recently hired a worker for the traffic and signal division, which falls under the public-works department, bringing the number of employees there to three. He plans to hire two more.

McNally also wants to hire one or two supervisory employees in the wastewater department. Those position have been vacant for several years.

“My issues [at public works] are with staffing and not oversight,” McNally said. “I don’t need Chuck Shasho on-call to fix streetlights, and that’s what’s existed lately. Overall, I’ve been impressed with the job [Shasho’s] done. He’s been responsive. Increasing the staff will allow him to focus on the key issues in that department.”

Public works oversees various departments including streets, engineering, traffic engineering, parks and recreation, buildings and grounds, and wastewater. The mayor is technically the public works director with the deputy director actually running the department’s day-to-day operations.

Shasho is paid about $84,000 per year.

Also, McNally appointed Abigail Brubaker on a 120-day temporary basis to oversee neighborhood-improvement operations, which includes code enforcement, demolition, and the rental and vacant property registration and inspection departments.

Brubaker, who earned about $37,000 annually in the code enforcement department, will see her salary increase to $51,000, McNally said.

The city’s Civil Service Commission will develop a test to officially have the new post become a permanent job with the mayor hiring someone off that list.

Maureen O’Neil Farris had run the city’s code enforcement, and registration and inspection operations on an independent-contractor basis for the past few years. A six-month, $23,000 contract with the city expired last week.

Her husband, Anthony Farris, recently resigned as deputy law director to become law director of Cleveland Heights. O’Neil Farris is uncertain if she will continue working for the city, McNally said, and if she returns, it would be on a part-time basis.

The city is retaining Deborah Myers, who helped with rental property registration. The city will keep her on an independent-contract basis for $12,000 for six months.

Also, effective May 19, the city’s law department will have two new assistant law directors — Nicole Billec on the civil side and Jeffrey Moliterno on the criminal side. Both will be paid about $47,000 annually.

Law Director Martin Hume recommended the two to McNally.

Hume said he interviewed about 15 people for the job and chose the two, who both graduated from law school two years ago, because of their “academic backgrounds, high character, demeanor and willingness to work hard. I was very pleased, generally, with the quality of people who applied for the jobs.”

McNally, who took office Jan. 1, still has one more Cabinet position to fill — finance director.

McNally will begin the search shortly for a candidate for that job.

Finance Director David Bozanich originally told McNally he would remain in the job for the first half of this year. But McNally said he hasn’t found a suitable replacement, and Bozanich is willing to stay through the rest of 2014 if needed.

Bozanich has worked for the finance department since 1983 as either finance director or deputy finance director.

Bozanich retired Dec. 28, 2012, and immediately was rehired through the end of 2013 by then-Mayor Charles Sammarone. Bozanich is paid $83,949 a year.

Before taking office, McNally said he wanted to have his Cabinet in place before his swearing-in.

“There’s a lot of things that go into being mayor, and some things took longer than I expected, but they’re getting done one by one,” he said. “The time demands are more than I anticipated.”

As mayor, McNally has retained all of the department heads he inherited from Sammarone except he selected a new police chief, Robin Lees, and replaced Farris with Hume as law director.

During his 31/2 years as mayor, Sammarone replaced only the city prosecutor, though he selected a new police chief and law director to fill vacancies caused by retirement shortly after being appointed mayor.

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