Judge Rusu announces MetroParks selection committee members

By Jordyn Grzelewski



Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert N. Rusu Jr., the appointing authority for the Mill Creek MetroParks board, announced Tuesday the names of 10 community members who will help him select the next park board member.

They are: Rick Shale, Richard Scarsella, Robert Toman, Leo Daprile, Jeff Harvey, Dr. Y.T. Chiu, Glen Cimaglia, Kate Shipka, Lynn Anderson and Andrew Detesco.

Judge Rusu recently announced that he would empanel such a committee after the resignation of board member Mike Senchak. The judge has said he hopes the move to include community members in the selection process would ease tensions between park leadership and members of the public, many of whom have voiced displeasure with recent leadership decisions.

In particular, many community members have expressed outrage over a February staff restructuring at the MetroParks and have called on park leadership to be more transparent in its decision-making. Some also have questioned the park board appointment process; state law assigns appointment authority to county probate judges.

“This is the first step in trying to make this process more open to the public,” Judge Rusu told The Vindicator.

His choice of committee members was an attempt to “get a cross-section of the community, with varying interests in the park,” he said.

Shale, for example, is a former park board member; Harvey is president of the Audubon Society of Mahoning Valley and a leader of the recent opposition movement against park leaders; Shipka is a former park volunteer; Anderson is an anti-fracking advocate; and previous Vindicator reporting indicates that Cimaglia is an avid cyclist.

Daprile is a local businessman with ties to the golf course; Dr. Chiu is affiliated with Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens, the nonprofit organization that supports the MetroParks’ public gardens; Detesco is affiliated with the Mill Creek Park Foundation; Scarsella is associated with the William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society; and Robert Toman is an Ellsworth Township trustee.

The judge will meet with the group April 19 to discuss the process of choosing a new commissioner and to outline the role of the selection committee. He previously indicated that he would ask the selection committee to vet potential candidates, then forward several names to him for review and final selection.

The process does not have a set timeline, he said.

“I would like [a list of candidates] within 30 to 45 days, but I don’t want to put them [selection committee members] under undue stress, because I want to make sure we get a good cross-section of resumes,” he said.

The chosen candidate will join board members Scott Schulick, John Ragan, Dr. Robert Durick and Germaine Bennett.

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