Beniston asks judge to make mayor approve settlement


Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

The Youngstown Board of Control approved a settlement with a city employee Aug. 2, but the mayor has yet to approve it, according to a motion filed in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court this week.

Mayor Jamael Tito Brown says the filing is unnecessary, and that there is a process to be followed.

Abigail Beniston filed a lawsuit against the mayor in May after Brown sought to demote her from wastewater-construction engineer to code-enforcement officer, which would have reduced her salary from $60,769.19 to $39,000.

Beniston had led the city’s code-enforcement department under Mayor John A. McNally.

The parties reached an agreement in June to change the title of her job to wastewater-construction engineer and reduce the salary to $52,805.50.

The motion filed Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court asks visiting Judge Thomas J. Pokorny to order Brown to comply with the settlement or to hold him in contempt of court.

It says Brown has blatantly refused to issue Beniston’s appointment letter despite multiple requests.

“[Brown] is unable to point to any reason whatsoever why he would be prevented from placing a pen on a piece of paper and signing his name,” the motion says.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Sept. 11.

Brown said he has been in contact with his law department regarding the settlement.

“There’s a process, and we don’t circumvent process. I talked to the law department this morning, and they assured me the filing was unnecessary,” Brown said. “The law department assured me they’re doing everything they can to keep this case moving to a place of closure and that we’re on the right track.”

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