JFS director owes $2,490 in parking tickets
By Justin Dennis
Mahoning County Job and Family Services Director Robert Bush admitted he’s on the hook for nearly $2,500 in unpaid city parking tickets he racked up while driving a county-owned car.
Bush is one of 60 people city Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown-Clark said owe a combined $110,924 in tickets dating back more than 20 years.
The tickets were logged on Bush’s county car – which is titled to the county board of commissioners – between 2006 and 2012, while he worked as chief of criminal prosecution for county Prosecutor Paul Gains and after he became JFS director in 2010. Bush said he used the car for surveillance and for ferrying witnesses back and forth to the Mahoning County courthouse downtown.
Bush said he was, at times, aware his vehicle was ticketed, but he was unaware of the snowballed amount until reading The Vindicator’s May 16 story on the tickets. The former Youngstown police chief and law director scoffed at being called a scofflaw.
Parking ticket delinquents
The top 60 people who owe thousands in unpaid parking tickets.
“My thought process was, ‘Yeah, I would pay them later.’ I didn’t realize it was that kind of amount,” he said. “Scofflaw? I talked to Mr. Gains. ... I told him I accept responsibility. I used the car. It was checked out to me and I told you what I used it for.
“I neglected to pay the tickets. It’s my responsibility.”
The tickets totaled $830 before late fees. Bush now owes $2,490, according to a city court clerk. Bush said he has been in touch with Brown-Clark about the fines and plans to meet with her next week to pay up.
Mahoning County commissioners also learned about the unpaid fines through The Vindicator last week and questioned why the city didn’t first invoice the county.
Gains on Wednesday also said his department never received an invoice. He said he was aware Bush had accrued parking fines years ago, but thought the matter had been resolved.
He added Bush likely wasn’t the vehicle’s only driver, as county-owned vehicles are shared among employees.
Bush made $79,200 while with the prosecutor’s office, shortly before he was named JFS director in 2010.
In 2013, when Bush made $113,738 as the department’s director, county Judge Maureen Sweeney issued a wage garnishment order against Bush to recoup $70,758 for unpaid rent, utilities bills and maintenance area charges from 1987 to 1991, when Bush operated a retail beauty products supply business in McGuffey Mall.
A county judge first ruled in 1991 Bush must repay $14,396 to Cafaro Co., but that amount ballooned
after 22 years of interest.