Youngstown council paves way for settlement with city worker

Published: Wed, August 1, 2018 @ 12:08 a.m.

By David Skolnick


City council approved legislation paving the way for a settlement with an employee who sued to keep her job.

Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to change the title of the job currently held by Abigail Beniston from wastewater construction engineer to wastewater construction coordinator and to reduce the job’s annual salary from $60,769.19 to $52,805.50.

The board of control will vote Thursday on the lawsuit settlement, said Nicole Alexander, an assistant law director.

The city and Beniston reached an out-of-court agreement June 25 to stop Mayor Jamael Tito Brown from demoting her to a code-enforcement officer at an annual salary of about $39,000.

Beniston was promoted in November by then-Mayor John A. McNally. But Brown, who beat McNally for the mayoral seat last year, ordered Beniston to vacate the job May 4 and become a code-enforcement inspector, resulting in her lawsuit.

Before the promotion, Beniston was the code enforcement and blight remediation superintendent with a salary almost identical to what she will now make.

Also, council authorized the board of control to give a 75-percent, 10-year real-property tax abatement to Youngstown Tool & Die Co.

The company wants to spend at least $13 million to construct a new building, add equipment and hire an additional 57 workers.

Over that 10-year period, the company would save $655,750 in real-property taxes and pay $218,583.

The company, located at 1261 Poland Ave. on the South Side with 43 employees, is looking to construct a 60,000-square-foot building in the Salt Springs Business Park on 12 acres on the West Side.

“It’s a phenomenal project,” said T. Sharon Woodberry, the city’s director of community planning and economic development.

The project’s construction would begin in a few months and would be done in 2022 as long as the board of control approves the abatement.

Council also voted to appropriate $50,000 to purchase the former Immaculate Conception Church, 811 Oak St., to be used as part of a possible expansion of the Joseph Co. International chill-can plant project.

Council also gave the go-ahead to the board of control to sell the long-closed Bel Park Professional Building, 1005 Belmont Ave., for up to $450,000 to Mercy Health Youngstown, which owns St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital across the street.

The city purchased the property in December for $355,000 from Behnam David Enayati of Los Angeles.

The city will demolish the structure, grade it and sell it to Mercy on or before Oct. 1, Alexander said.

Mercy doesn’t have any immediate plans for construction at that location and will turn it into green space for the time being, Woodberry said.

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