Wednesday, March 28, 2018
By Ed Runyan
The Trumbull County commissioners made a surprise move Tuesday, announcing their intent to hire Atty. Rebecca Gerson, deputy Youngstown law director, to become county administrator and fill two other positions.
The commissioners plan to vote today to hire Gerson, of Liberty Township, to the job at a salary of $85,000 annually. She will also be county purchasing director and administrator of the county’s public transportation service, Trumbull Transit.
The present transit administrator, Mark Hess, is retiring in the coming weeks. Gerson would begin work April 9.
As county administrator, Gerson would fill a newly created position recommended by a citizens committee last year. Mike Matas, Lake County budget director, accepted the position but last month decided to stay in Lake County for personal reasons and resigned before starting the Trumbull County job.
Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said hiring Gerson was a move “outside the box,” but he said he believes in Gerson, “I believe in streamlining this process we have here” at the commissioners office, “and I believe there’s going to be significant savings in adding a person of this ilk to our team.”
Bob Faulker, chairman of Trumbull Transit, said the timing is good for replacing Hess because Federal Transit Administration officials are getting anxious about the board finding a replacement for Hess.
Gerson also has experience with agencies such as the FTA and others important to the transit service, such as the Ohio Department of Transporation and Eastgate Regional Council of Governments, Faulker said.
Cantalamessa said Gerson may be able to save the county money because she has experience in handling labor-union grievances.
Commissioner Frank Fuda said he was not aware that Cantalamessa and Polivka wanted to hire Gerson, but he interviewed her Tuesday morning and will decide by today’s meeting whether to vote for her.
Fuda has said in the past he does not think a county administrator is needed.