With another resignation, Trumbull Planning Commission drops from 9 staff members to 1


By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

With the Trumbull County Planning Commission accepting the resignation of planner Shane Burkholder on Tuesday, the agency will be down to one employee starting Monday.

It had five workers 18 months ago, nine workers three years ago.

The agency carries out a variety of tasks related to township zoning and land use, flood plains, city and township comprehensive plans, economic development, housing and mapping. It is overseen by a board of eight volunteers and the three county commissioners.

Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda said the commissioners intentionally reduced the size of the agency several years ago as a cost-cutting measure, but reductions in the past 18 months have happened through resignations and an extended sick leave.

Nick Coggins, who was hired in September 2016, has been in charge of the planning commission since Executive Director Trish Nuskievicz went on sick leave last July. Coggins will now try to find someone to handle Burkholder’s duties in mapping and floodplains but will work alone starting Monday. There is no plan to replace Burkholder’s work in writing comprehensive plans.

When Coggins leaves the office to attend meetings, he will post a sign on the door telling people to call the office and leave a message.

When the last employee who handled zoning and land-use issues left, the county hired MS Consultants of Youngstown for up to $4,500 per month to handle those tasks.

The agency also contracted with Neighborhood Development Services to operate the county’s Community Housing Impact and Preservation program, which works to provide affordable housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income people.

Nuskievicz, who said her sick leave was because of negative health effects from psychological abuse, bullying and harassment, could return to work this month because her sick leave runs out, though officials say they do not know whether she will.

Bob Marino Jr., former Niles councilman, now chairman of the planning commission board, said though the planning commission has a smaller staff than it did a few years ago, “there is going to be a planning commission.”

At Tuesday’s planning commission meeting, the board approved a one-time payment of $8,320 to Coggins for running the department in Nuskievicz’s absence since July 28.

The board also assigned him the new title of assistant director.

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