Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally was the most popular officeholder in the region Friday, but it wasn’t because of anything he did. Instead, McNally’s popularity was triggered by a rumor that he had been led out of the county Administration Building in handcuffs.
Reporters scrambled to try to confirm the rumor, but when they spoke to the commissioner they found out he was very much alive, well — and free. Indeed, the rumor took on such intensity that even Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras got into the act. Betras called McNally to ask if he was O.K. The commissioner assured him that everything was fine. He laughed about the reporters chasing after him.
But beyond what occurred Friday, there is a real issue at play: McNally’s name, along with those of county Treasurer Lisa Antonini, Auditor Michael Sciortino and former Treasurer John Reardon, have been mentioned as targets of an Ohio Ethics Commission investigation into the Job and Family Services relocation controversy.
The probe has been going on for more than a year and in the last several weeks a grand jury has been presented with evidence by a special prosecutor. The public has been anticipating indictments.
It is common practice for indictments to be announced on Fridays, which is why reporters gave credence to the rumor about McNally.
It’s time for the investigation to be brought to a close. It's unfair to the public officials, especially Sciortino, who is on the ballot this year, to keep the probe going indefinitely.