Mike Matas resigns as Trumbull County administrator three weeks before his starting date
By Ed Runyan
Mike Matas, the Trumbull County administrator hired two weeks ago, has resigned three weeks before he was supposed to start work.
Trumbull County Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said he doesn’t know yet whether the commissioners will start the search process over.
“It’s disheartening because I thought we had a clear-cut plan, and it got turned upside down,” Cantalamessa said of hiring Matas, who was supposed to start March 19.
Matas was one of two finalists recommended by a citizens committee that reviewed applications. “None of the applicants were close to what Mike brought to the table,” Cantalamessa said.
Matas, who is budget director for Lake County, wrote a short email to several officials in the Trumbull County commissioners office Tuesday afternoon, saying he was resigning as Trumbull County administrator “due to a family matter.”
Cantalamessa said he believes that is true, but he also thinks Lake County may have offered Matas more money to keep him.
Part of the reason he believes this is the letter Lake County Commissioner John Hamercheck wrote to Trumbull commissioners Tuesday talking about Matas’ value to Lake County.
“Mr. Matas can be characterized as a franchise player for Lake County,” Hamercheck’s letter says, making a sports analogy. “To this end, a maximum effort on the part of Lake County has been made to retain Mr. Matas’ continued employment.”
Hamercheck added, ”I regret that this action on the part of Lake County to retain Mr. Matas will deny Trumbull County a qualified individual.”
The Lake County Auditor’s Office says Matas, a Cortland resident, is scheduled to make $99,050 in 2018 in Lake County. Matas had agreed to a salary of $95,000 to work as Trumbull County administrator and purchasing director.
An attempt to talk to Hamercheck about whether Lake County offered Matas more money to stay in Lake County was unsuccessful.
The Lake County auditor’s office said Matas earned $125,042 in 2015 when he was transitioning from the Lake County auditor’s office to budget director for Lake County. The figure was higher that year because he was paid extra for doing two jobs simultaneously for part of 2015, the Lake County auditor’s office said.
Matas was viewed as the best candidate for the Trumbull County job, but questions were raised about whether it was appropriate for him to apply for the job after serving on the Trumbull County Citizens Budget Review Committee that recommended that the commissioners hire a county administrator.
The commissioners have not had one since 2006, when the last one resigned.