Youngstown mayor hires a parks and recreation director

By David Skolnick


Mayor Jamael Tito Brown appointed Dawn Turnage, a housing adviser at the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority for the past three years, as parks and recreation director.

Turnage will be paid $56,947 annually.

Brown said he expects to make several more Cabinet appointments next week.

Brown announced Friday that Turnage was selected over 12 other candidates. She will start March 1.

She replaces Robert Burke, who resigned in December to become Niles parks and recreation director.

Turnage has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Youngstown State University and a master’s degree in administrative justice from the University of Phoenix.

In addition to working for the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority full time, she is a part-time customer service leader for the Westerville park and recreation department, Brown said.

“Turnage’s experience in these positions prepared her well to be the next director of parks and recreation for the city of Youngstown,” Brown said.

Mayor since Jan. 1, Brown said he’s taken a deliberate approach to filling his cabinet.

In addition to Turnage, Brown appointed Jeff Limbian as law director, made Deputy Finance Director Kyle Miasek the interim finance director and hired Michael Abouserhal, a retired certified public accountant, as an “executive on loan” to assess the city’s financial condition and evaluate the proposed 2018 budget on a temporary basis through April 30.

Between Dec. 14 and Jan. 18, Brown said his transition team reviewed the applications of about 90 people, invited more than 30 for interviews and recommended a final round of 15 to meet with him for eight positions.

A majority of the remaining Cabinet positions will be filled by next Friday, the mayor said.

That includes fire chief, police chief, buildings and grounds commissioner, water commissioner, public works deputy director and prosecutor.

Brown also said details are being finalized for a national search for finance director. Brown said he will then conduct searches for other Cabinet positions, including director of downtown events, director of community planning and economic development, and law department attorneys.

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