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Deputy elections chief suspended

WARREN — The Trumbull County Board of Elections put its deputy director on unpaid leave for three days after a current employee and three former ones — all women — complained about his behavior.

Deputy Director Ron Massullo’s suspension begins Monday and runs through Wednesday.

Board Chairman Mark Alberini said Friday the reason for the unpaid leave was “due to (Massullo) not complying with board-member directives pertaining to personnel management.”

Alberini added it was “based on allegations and claims that we received. We take all of these allegations seriously. We’re going to take decisive action that we deem is appropriate.”

Massullo declined to comment.

Massullo of Liberty makes about $58,000 annually. The unpaid time off will reduce his pay by about $670.

The board met in executive session starting about 2:10 p.m. Friday. Board member Ronald Knight left at 3 p.m. The three remaining board members — Alberini, Kathi Creed and Diana Marchese — brought Massullo into the closed-door meeting about 3:20 p.m. and spoke to him for about 20 minutes before going into open

session and unanimously voting on the unpaid leave.

Alberini said of Massullo’s time away: “This will give us adequate time to devise the right plan of action and go-forward strategy.”

He added that the board will “conduct further inquiry and consultation.”

Massullo worked for the board for two years as an elections specialist before he was promoted in August 2018 to deputy director. Before moving in August to Liberty, he lived in Poland and served four years as the executive vice chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party and as the party’s Poland district leader for about two decades.

It was reported last week that Teresa Leugers wrote in an email to the Trumbull County Human Resources Department that she resigned as an election specialist at the board Nov. 6 after only months on the job because Massullo “created a hostile work environment.” She complained that Massullo “has screamed at me, threaten(ed) my job and made me feel inept and not capable of doing my job. I am not the only person that he has done this to.”

Since then, Andrea Renn, who’s worked for the board since 2005, wrote in a letter to Alberini — and given to the county human resources department — describing the “incessant boorish and despicable behavior” of Massullo “and your enabling therein.” She wrote that Massullo “on numerous occasions berated staff as well as made disparaging and patently vulgar statements to me of a sexual nature.”

She added that she “remained silent out of fear of retaliation” and spoke to Alberini because he sought her out.

“Despite your assurance that my statement would be anonymous, (Massullo) approached me on Nov. 1, 2019, specifically blaming me for the hearing you had with him earlier in the week,” Renn wrote Alberini. “He has now forced the resignation of a valued coworker. How long before I am targeted for termination?”

She said she retained an attorney “in order to protect my interests.”

Also, two former board employees — Marleah Campbell, who worked there from 2015 until late 2018, and Jackie Weston, hired as seasonal help during the 2016 presidential election — told a reporter for this newspaper about Massullo’s questionable behavior.

Campbell said she saw Massullo bring employees to tears, yelled at employees in front of the public and was rude to members of the public. She also said Massullo made comments of a sexual nature and described his coworkers as “dumb Greek” and “stupid Greek.”

Weston said she complained about Massullo’s unprofessional behavior, but nothing was done to stop it.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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