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Sheriff gets jump on filing for 2020

YOUNGSTOWN — The deadline to file for the 2020 primary is more than two months away, but Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene has already turned in his nominating petitions.

Greene is the only candidate as of Wednesday in all of Mahoning and Trumbull counties to file his petitions for a political race next year.

“I just wanted to get it out of the way; nothing more than that,” he said. “I wanted to be done with it. I got my signatures at the Canfield Fair, and I knocked it out.”

Greene, a Boardman Democrat, needs 50 valid signatures to qualify for the March 17, 2020, primary. He turned in petitions with about 140 signatures.

Dec. 18 is the filing deadline for the primary.

Greene will seek his third four-year term as sheriff.

In the 2012 Democratic primary, Greene won a three-way race for an open seat, getting 55.5 percent of the vote. Former Youngstown police Chief Jimmy Hughes, who is running unopposed next month for Youngstown’s 2nd Ward council seat, finished second in the 2012 primary with 24.6 percent, with Poland Township police Chief Brian Goodin getting 19.9 percent. Greene, who succeeded longtime Sheriff Randall Wellington, ran unopposed in the 2012 general election.

In 2016, Hughes filed as an independent candidate against Greene in the general election. But Hughes failed to get on the ballot because he didn’t have enough valid signatures. Greene ran unopposed that year in the Democratic primary and in the general election.

As for a potential opponent in 2020, Greene said, “You never know. There’s plenty of time to file. I’m not hearing anyone talking, so I might get a pass.”

Greene started at the sheriff’s department in 1989 as a reserve officer and was hired full time in 1992, rising up the ranks to become a captain before his election as sheriff. He is a 2000 graduate of Youngstown State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and completed the certification program at the FBI National Academy.

“I’m just incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish at the sheriff’s office,” he said. “We’ve brought our agency up to date technologically and tactically with the different initiatives we’ve developed. That remains our goal.”

During Greene’s time as sheriff, the department re-established a contract with the U.S. Marshals to house federal inmates. In 2013, it brought in $400,000 and will raise more than $2 million this year, Greene said.

The department also has created a program for inmates to make co-payments for doctor and nurse visits if they have health insurance, has identified inmates illegally collecting Social Security Disability Insurance while in custody — receiving a fee of about $60,000 annually for that — as well as implemented a daily reporting program for nonviolent inmates to fix potholes and pick up garbage, and initiated a portable scale program to determine if overweight vehicles are improperly driving on roads, he said.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com