By Ed Runyan
Atty. James Floyd, chairman of the Western Reserve Port Authority, said he thinks the Mahoning and Trumbull County commissioners “have no choice but to be proactive” in addressing conflicts among port- authority board members and staff.
Floyd said after a special port-authority meeting Wednesday at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport here that Rick Schiraldi, a former port-authority member who resigned last month, “cannot be replaced.”
Floyd and Mahoning County Commissioner David Ditzler said they feel that Schiraldi left because of the board’s dysfunction as a result of the behavior of board member Don Hanni III.
Floyd said he agrees with Ditzler’s assessment that Schiraldi, a certified public accountant, was one of the best board members the authority had.
Ditzler said he and Commissioners Anthony Traficanti and Carol Rimedio-Righetti are asking the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office for advice on whether the authority can be reorganized to eliminate its board and have staff report directly to the commissioners of Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
Traficanti said he isn’t in favor of an overhaul of the authority’s governing structure because it could potentially jeopardize the organization’s funding.
He favors dealing with the “personality conflicts” that exist on the authority by putting new people into board positions.
The Trumbull commissioners also have asked for legal advice from their county prosecutor’s office regarding the organizational structure.
And they’ve asked whether Scott Lewis, whom they appointed to the board, can be removed as a result of the public reprimand Lewis received last month from the Ohio Ethics Commission.
The commission said Lewis was too closely involved in a WRPA decision that allowed him to make a $97,366 commission off a 2009 real-estate deal.
Hanni said he shouldn’t be criticized for the questions he raises about the activities of the authority and the board.
He said he was “shown to be right” about the questions he raised.
The Mahoning commissioners appointed him to the board, but they asked him and fellow county appointment Andres Visnapuu to resign about 18 months ago.