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Trumbull elections deputy exits post

WARREN — Ron Massullo retired as deputy director of the Trumbull County Board of Elections, a job he held since August 2018.

“I’ve been looking to retire for a while and it’s the perfect time to do it,” said Massullo, whose last day on the job was Thursday.

Massullo, a Democrat, said the job was exhausting, particularly this past year between the COVID-19 pandemic and the presidential election.

“This past year, the amount of time we worked took its toll,” he said. “The job takes a lot out of people.”

The presidential election came a year after the county switched from electronic voting to paper ballots.

With the 2021 primary being “the lightest election we’ve had in years,” Massullo said it was the ideal time to leave.

Of Massullo’s retirement, board Director Stephanie Penrose said: “The board was quite surprised; I was surprised too. The job is very draining. It’s a high-stress job.”

Penrose had positive things to say about Massullo.

“He was wonderful to work with,” she said. “I really enjoyed working with him.”

The board will meet next Tuesday at 9 a.m. to discuss its search to succeed Massullo, Penrose said.

“We’ll advertise for a replacement,” she said. “We’ll get the ball rolling on a replacement.”

Massullo leaves with an outstanding complaint against him from Kathleen Barreca, a Democratic poll observer, who contended he yelled at her on Election Day, Nov. 3, in front of voters.

In her complaint, Barrecca said Massullo acted unprofessionally by yelling at her and told another poll worker to “shut up” when she tried to explain Barrecca was doing her job helping people at a Girard voting location.

Massullo was suspended for three days in November 2019 after complaints from four women who work or had worked for the board that he made inappropriate remarks, yelled at them and acted unprofessionally.

Massullo said the complaints had “nothing” to do with his decision to retire.

Massullo, 64, was paid about $58,000 annually as deputy director. He was promoted to that job in August 2018 after two years as an elections specialist for the board.

Before that, he worked for the Ohio secretary of state, the Mahoning County Treasurer’s office, the Mahoning County Board of Elections (part-time), the Mahoning County Engineer’s office and for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“It’s the right time to retire,” Massullo said. “If I would wait until the summer, it wouldn’t have been fair to the board to have someone prepare for a full-blown countywide (general) election. The primary will be light and it’s the perfect time to find someone for the job. I’m confident the board is not left high and dry.”

An avid gardener and cook, Massullo said he has 200 bulbs of garlic in the ground and six new raised garden beds and will take a gardening class at the Ohio State University Outreach and Engagement later this year.

“I’m looking at enjoying that and my three grandsons,” he said.

Before moving in August 2019 to Liberty, Massullo 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.

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