Warren pastor publishes platform for write-in candidacy for Trumbull commissioner
By Ed Runyan
Todd Johnson, 34, pastor of Second Baptist Church on Main Avenue Southwest, is using social media to provide his platform for his write-in candidacy for Trumbull County commissioner.
The Trumbull County Board of Elections has acknowledged his candidacy, saying the only requirement he had to meet was to be a registered voter and to pay an $80 filing fee.
Alan Shaker, deputy board of elections director, said Johnson met those two requirements and is eligible to receive write-in votes. His name won’t appear on the ballot, but voters can write in his name on a paper ballot or type it in on a computerized voting machine.
Johnson voted Democrat in the last four primaries in which he voted, Shaker said. Johnson worked nearly 10 years in Warren as a caseworker for the Ohio Office of Workforce Development, a job he left early this month to run for commissioner.
Johnson, of Williamsburg Street Northwest, is running for the seat held by longtime commissioner Dan Polivka, who is also Trumbull County Democratic Party chairman. Mary Williams of Cortland, a member of the Lakeview Board of Education and the Republican nominee for Polivka’s commissioners seat, also will be on the ballot.
Johnson’s platform mentions Polivka prominently.
“Trumbull County has been plagued by nepotism and favoritism under Mr. Polivka’s leadership,” Johnson’s post says. Johnson said he will use his experience in Workforce Development to “formulate a standardized and modernized job posting and application process.”
Polivka, who has been commissioner since 2004, said by telephone of Johnson’s allegation of “nepotism and favoritism”: “In the county, I have zero family on the payroll, and I stand on my record, and my record is to get the most qualified and best people in the position.”
Johnson said that because of Polivka’s dual positions as commissioner and Democratic Party chairman, “it is impossible for [Polivka] to make fair, nonpartisan decisions, and this has been seen time and time again in appointments, endorsements, and hiring decisions.”
Polivka said the party chairman’s comment is Johnson “grasping at straws.” He added in a text message that his position as party chairman “has nothing to do with being a commissioner.”
Johnson also said Polivka confronted him in the parking lot outside of the Workforce Development office at the county Job and Family Services offices in August after Johnson posted a question on Facebook, asking what people thought of him possibly running for commissioner.
“It seemed like an intimidation tactic,” Johnson said.
Polivka said in a text message, “Again grasping at straws, my friend. I welcome him to run. And I will run on a record of performance not promises.”
He added, “Let’s talk about voting not to impose additional sales tax on the people of Trumbull County, saving families money, economic development ... over $60 million in water and sewer projects in the county.”
The county also was recognized by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in June for joining Mandel’s OhioCheckbook.com, Polivka said.