Thursday, May 17, 2018
By David Skolnick
Some city council members questioned a professional service contract Mayor Jamael Tito Brown plans to sign with a company to be the coordinator of downtown events and citywide special projects.
At the end of Wednesday’s council meeting, the exchange between council members and Brown became somewhat testy.
Brown announced Monday he had come to a professional service agreement for $42,437 annually with 2Deep Entertainment, operated by Terrill Vidale, for the position.
Councilwoman Basia Adamczak, D-7th, wanted to know why the decision wasn’t done by a council ordinance and with details of the contract.
In the original announcement, Brown said the agreement went into effect Monday. He corrected himself Wednesday night saying it wouldn’t happen until next week when the board of control takes official action, and the contract would run through the end of this year, subject to renewal.
Councilwoman Lauren McNally, D-5th, said her concern was over a “conflict of interest” with 2Deep. She said the entertainment booking company has an outstanding $375,000 loan from the city that helped the business move from Boardman to a downtown Youngstown building at 237 E. Front St. and also gives the company money for an annual gospel festival it has in the city.
Brown said the position is his appointment and he was “disappointed this is coming up” at a council meeting when members can discuss the issue with him privately. The mayor added he doesn’t see a conflict of interest.
McNally said she tried to contact Law Director Jeff Limbian with her questions about the contract and didn’t receive a response, so she asked them at the council meeting.
Brown said the professional service contract will save the city money because it won’t have to pay for health-insurance coverage, pension and other payments that are given to city employees.
Also, some details were revealed regarding what will happen with the long-closed Bel Park Professional medical building at 1005 Belmont Ave, across the street from St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.
The city purchased the structure in December for $355,000 from its previous owner, Behnam David Enayati of Los Angeles.
The city will demolish the structure and sell the property to Mercy Health, which owns St. Elizabeth, by Sept. 1, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of public works.
“We’ll go out to bid in about a month and have it done around August,” he said.
Kyle Miasek, interim finance director, said, “The intent is to remove a blighted structure.”