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Paul Gains (Democrat)

Photo
Running for
ResidenceYoungstown, OH
EducationUrsuline High School (Graduated 1969) Youngstown State University (Graduated B.S.A.S. in Law Enforcement Admin. 1976). University of Akron School of Law (Juris Doctorate 1982)
EmployerMahoning County Prosecutor's Office
21 W. Boardman Street
Youngstown, Ohio 44503
Currently employed as Mahoning County Prosecuting Attorney since January 6, 1997.
FamilyNone
Family in office?No.
Time in area60 years
Reasons for runningI want to continue to maintain an office with a reputation for integrity and the fair prosecution of those charged with crimes. I also want to continue to provide the excellent services to the statutory clients, who include all elected county and township officials acting in their official capacities. Since I’ve taken office in 1997, Mahoning County has experienced an increase in criminal prosecutions and terminations from 393 in fiscal year 1997 to 1,405 in fiscal year 2011, and an increase in prison commitments from 153 in F/Y 1997 to 445 in F/Y 2011, according to the official reports of Community Corrections Association. The number of prison commitments exceeded four hundred in F/Y 2009, and have remained above that amount each year thereafter. In addition, there has been a drastic reduction in homicide and aggravated assaults since I assumed office in 1997, and I believe there is a direct correlation between the reduction in those crimes, integrity in the office, and the increase in prison commitments. I have also developed a relationship between the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office and federal authorities which never existed before. Together, we have participated in the Weed and Seed Programs and V-Grip, (designed to rid our streets of criminals and guns), and joined the federal government’s war on public corruption.
PrioritiesMy priority is to continue to effectively prosecute those accused of crimes, and to recommend incarceration for those convicted defendants who have demonstrated that they must be sent to prison, and to help those who have expressed a desire to help themselves with participation in the Drug Court and Mental Health Court. Another priority is to continue to pursue federal and state grants, which have diminished in recent years. I intend to again encourage the courts to implement a Pre-Trial Services Division of the Common Pleas Court, whose personnel would interview those awaiting trial to assist the Court in determining if pre-trial release is warranted for certain defendants in order to reduce the inmate population in the county jail. The federal government has utilized Pre-Trial Services successfully, which provides the court with much more information regarding a pre-trial detainee than information provided by a defense attorney and the police, which is the current practice. As the economy improves, another priority is to convince the Board of County Commissioners to adequately fund this Office in order that support staff may be hired to free attorneys from the burdens of scanning documents for discovery, preparing their own subpoenas, and other routine duties which can be performed by secretaries and paralegals. Consequently, attorneys can then devote their time to the preparation required to prepare for trials and motion hearings.
QualificationsMy qualifications include nearly ten years service as a Youngstown Police Officer, nearly fifteen years as a private practicing attorney, and over fifteen years as Mahoning County Prosecuting Attorney. Prior to taking office, I was experienced in criminal law and government civil law, and brought that experience to the Office once I was elected. I have defended and prosecuted death penalty cases, as well as a myriad of other cases. I discouraged the use of outside counsel by the county and all the townships, and have saved both the county and the fourteen townships hundreds of thousands of dollars by performing legal services in-house that had previously been performed by various law firms. Examples of in-house legal services provided both the county and the townships include defending worker’s compensation claims, civil rights litigation, labor and employment issues, contract litigation, personal injury, and many others. Boardman Township, which is a Charter Township, has recognized the excellent legal services my Office provides by repeatedly paying the county and designating the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office as its Law Director.
Positions on the issuesThe largest issue facing the county is a limited source of funding. Problems associated with low funding include a high turnover of attorneys and an inability to replace qualified personnel who have left for more lucrative employment opportunities with equally qualified and experienced personnel. In order to maintain a staff of experienced, well trained and competent attorneys, I increased their salaries while remaining within my allocated budget. Despite the increases, Assistant Mahoning County Prosecutors are still paid an average of seven percent (7%) less than Youngstown City Assistant Prosecutors (who only prosecute misdemeanors through completion and felonies through bind-over) and ten percent (10%) less than their counterparts in neighboring Trumbull County. Yet, these assistants handle a much higher caseload per attorney than those in Trumbull County.

Another major issue has to do with the civil side of this office. Nearly $300 million passes through Mahoning County annually, and I have maintained a policy of reviewing and approving county contracts in order to avoid improprieties in the bidding process and within the granting of unjustified and illegal change orders to current county contracts. As a result, Mahoning County has not experienced the type of corruption experienced by other counties since I’ve taken office.

The third major issue is the lack of funding for the Mahoning County Jail. Youngstown can go a long way to alleviating this problem, since the entire Mahoning County Jail was open when the City of Youngstown paid twenty-five dollars per day per city misdemeanor inmate pursuant to a Consent Decree I negotiated. Other cities assist their counties by paying for bed space, including Akron, Canton, Massillon, Alliance, and Warren, to name a few. Cooperation is the key to keeping the jail open, and anyone who espouses cooperation in law enforcement should encourage the City of Youngstown’s cooperation in assisting the county, especially since county employees, including deputies, pay the city’s 2.75% Income Tax.


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