Published May 23, 2010
Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally’s “no” vote on extending Administrator George Tablack’s contract for a year could be an indication of things to come. The two other commissioners, David Ludt and Anthony Traficanti, voted for the extension.
Although McNally explained that he opposed the one-year contract because he wanted Tablack to be treated as a regular (at will?) employee, the handwriting may well be on the wall. If the commissioner is still around in May 2011, and Carol Rimedio-Righetti has replaced Ludt, Tablack could be gone. Righetti defeated Ludt in the May Democratic primary and faces inconsequential Republican opposition in the November general election.
Why does Tablack have a target on his back? Because he was one of the masterminds of the relocation of the county Job and Family Services agency from the Garland Plaza, owned by the Cafaro Co., to Oakhill Renaissance Place (formerly South Side Medical Center.)
Although Righetti insisted during the primary that she was not put in the race by Anthony Cafaro Sr., it should come as no surprise that Cafaro told a prominent Democratic Party leader that he wanted to see the Youngstown councilwoman win.
Ludt and Traficanti led the charge for the JFS relocation to Oakhill Renaissance; McNally opposed the county buying the former South Side Medical Center.
A grand jury is currently hearing from a special prosecutor and an investigator from the Ohio Ethics Commission about the role several county officeholders played in allegedly trying to block the purchase of Oakhill Renaissance. There could be indictments. McNally’s name has been mentioned as one of the targets of the probe. The others are Auditor Michael Sciortino, Treasurer Lisa Antoninni and former Treasurer John Reardon.
If there are indictments and the officeholders refuse to step aside, then McNally could well be in a position next May to vote on Tablack’s future.
And a 2-1 vote against the administrator (Traficanti would still in office) becomes a real possibility.