Thursday, August 20, 2015
By David Skolnick
Candidates for township trustee in Austintown and Poland have withdrawn from their races.
David Engler, a former Mahoning County commissioner who established residency April 4 in Austintown, pulled out Wednesday.
Engler said a renovation of the house he owns in the township on South Meridian Road is taking longer than he anticipated.
Engler, an attorney, obtained ownership of the 100-year-old house from a client who owed about $15,000 in back taxes on the property.
Engler said he is paying those back taxes over time.
“I do not want this to be the focus of any township trustee race when the attention should be on the condition of our roads, financial records that were unauditable, and a lack of a 20-year plan,” he said.
A hearing scheduled Wednesday on a protest over Engler’s residency. was canceled. He said he was confident he would have won that protest, however.
That leaves Rick Stauffer, Bruce N. Shepas and Andrea Paventi as the remaining candidates for the trustee seat. Stauffer was appointed in March, replacing Lisa Oles.
Before Engler took ownership of the South Meridian Road house, it was in foreclosure and had been on the township’s demolition list. Engler opted not to seek re-election to the county educational service center board to seek the township trustee seat.
The county elections board disqualified Mary Hricko of Austintown as a candidate Monday, however, because of a lack of valid signatures on her nominating petitions.
That means the winner of a write-in campaign would get that seat.
Engler said he will seek to retain his seat on the educational service center board as a write-in.
Also, Joe Tiberio has withdrawn as a candidate for the Poland township trustee seat on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
Election officials said Tiberio quit because he didn’t want to be in a competitive race.
With Tiberio out, the only candidate seeking the job is the incumbent Eric C. Ungaro.