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Youngstown mayor for U.S. auto czar?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published October 3, 2010

Untitled document

There are unconfirmed reports that the Obama administration is interested in Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams succeeding Ed Montgomery as director of recovery for auto communities and workers, the so-called auto czar position.

Montgomery, appointed by President Obama in March 2009 to guide the recovery of the auto industry which had collapsed, left to become dean of public policy at Georgetown University. He had previously served in the Clinton administration. General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Corp. received billions from the federal government to prevent them from completely shutting down. The two companies are on the road to recovery.

It’s not known how far talks between administration officials and Mayor Williams have progressed, but it appears that there will soon be a meeting in Washington.

If Williams does get the high-profile post, it will be a good thing for the Mahoning Valley, whose economy depends, in large part, on the stability of GM’s Lordstown assembly plant. The facility has gained worldwide attention because it is producing the highly touted Chevrolet Cruze. The Cruze is now in showrooms around the country and is seen as GM’s best chance to grab a large share of the compact car market.

Williams, who began his second four-year term as mayor in January, would be replaced by council President Charles Sammarone if he decided to go to Washington.

One of the auto czar’s chief duties is to ensure that displaced employees and struggling communities have access to federal stimulus money and assistance for job re-training and other such initiatives.

With Williams in the position, the Mahoning Valley would be assured of having an advocate for the GM Lordstown plant — another product line is essential for its future viability. In addition, his familiarity with the region’s economic revitalization efforts and the difficulties old industrial communities face in competing in the high technology-based global economy could help in the formulation of national policy.

If President Obama offers Williams the job of auto czar, the mayor would be hard pressed to say no.


1davidjohn(144 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

isnt this typical of politics

and this newspaper

the whole paper is about the violence in youngstown

and the useless administration

from the mayor to the police chief

vivian martin thomas repchic angeline fimognari

so lets reward a mayor who has done nothing to curb the violence

a mayor who has failed in his most basic responsibility

lets give him a cushy federal job

politics is truly governed by the peter priinciple

lets see hagan for federal _____________

gerberry for federal _____________

traficanti for federal ____________

they all have helped vitalize our area with their years of public service

reward them

send them on to washington

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2author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Excellent davidjohn (except on my eyes)!

I think Bertram must have been in rehab over the last few weeks, as this blog is evident he is addicted to singing praises of local government officials - no matter how unsuccessful they are.

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31970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I like the mayor, and voted for him. So obviously I live in the city. But I am not sure he is the best choice for this position. The city couldn't even get the grant proposals done properly to tear down old buildings, and there were no consequences or that to anyone.

And the mayor gave his police chief luke warm endorsement in Vindy grading him B- or C+ but still kept him. That is troubling.

If the mayor would go down to DC and loot the treasury to bring back fed $$ to tear down blight in Mahoning Co., by all means go. (Just be sure the forms are filled out properly) Otherwise, stay here.

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4InterestedInAll(13 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

This is an opportunity for our area to be directly represented at the highest levels in the administration. It could be very helpful. Also, Mr. Williams has heard numerous times about the effect on the area due to the unfair treatment of the Delphi Retirees. $161 Million a year for the next 20 years or so is a lot more than any Congressman has been able to send home. If he can help to get those people treated fairly instead of being thrown to the wolves it would help the area more than anything else that has been done! This is good news and we should be glad for the oppotunity. Let's just hope Mr. Williams remembers where he came from.

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5Nunya(1356 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


I'm certainly not hearing what Bertram is alleging here. Where I've heard a number of names aside from Williams. Although likely there will be a pitch to Biden by camp Williams when Biden arrives soon.

But thus far I'm not hearing Jay Williams name mentioned in any of the numerous names being circulated for federal selection on neither front nor back channels.

In fact as I recall Betram and Betras were the local political consultants whom myself and other national counterparts. Where via conference calls and correspondence they were scoffed and laughed at. When they took to the airwaves trying to skew Obama's candidacy while alleging Hillary was the shew in party nominee.

So I'll just say the tandem of Betram and Betras are rather capriciously known of. But they're damn sure not nationally sought or respected as any experts, strategy factors or go to guys to make a push in the polls.

In think tank circles they're { Bertram & Betras } are regarded as the kind of individuals. Who's thoughts don't register and thus their influence doesn't exceed the boundaries of Youngstown and sparse localities in Ohio.

Which relegates them as small time players in the grand scheme of things in regards to the big picture nationally,.. for a reflective reason of course.

Where I know that this president is fond of assisting the area. I don't know that Jay Williams having a mayoral association with the criminality infestation in Youngstown governance. Would favor well for him to be considered for a federal appointment.

Not to say or allege Mr. Williams is an orchestrator of the criminality. But merely by position he's a mayor of a locality where so much corruption is evident.

By it not having been effective thwarted. I don't know that he'd fair much better than a George McKelvey or any of his predecessors for consideration on national selection scale.

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6Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Safer cars are needed for crack consumers .


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7Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


What exactly has Ron Gerberry done...period. Or Bog Hagan for that matter? Please point out to me what Gerberry in particular has done to revitalize this area.

The only one I'd consider for federal would be Traficanti out of the bunch.

But that aside, Jay Williams can do what he wants as far as joining the Obama Administration, it is his choice and it might be a good opportunity for him. I am more concerned about who will take over for mayor if he leaves that post.

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8candystriper(575 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

In 1901 President William McKinley was taken to the hospital in a EV ambulance.

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