2 added to panel to choose elections board deputy director

Committee will recommend new deputy director

YOUNGSTOWN — Two people were added to a committee that will screen, interview and recommend the hiring of the Mahoning County Board of Elections’ next deputy director.

David Betras, a board member elected chairman Tuesday, and Joyce Kale-Pesta, the retired director who now serves as a board member, already were going to handle the work.

Betras said Herb Washington, CEO and founder of HLW Fast Track Inc., and Kathi McNabb Welsh, Mahoning County’s chief deputy clerk of courts, also will be on the committee.

“Herb is a very successful entrepreneur,” Betras said. “He knows what makes an organization a success and I want him to bring that to the board of elections. Kathi brings her years of experience managing public employees to the committee.”

Betras said he’ll rely on those two and Kale-Pesta, who retired Nov. 30 after 35 years as a board employee, to “tell me who will be the best fit.”

He added: “Given the critical role the deputy director plays in ensuring the integrity of our electoral process, Joyce and I thought it was extremely important to involve trusted community leaders like Herb and Kathi in what will be a fair and transparent selection process.”

The job became open with Kale-Pesta’s retirement. Republican Thomas McCabe, who was the deputy director, was promoted Tuesday to director.

The director and deputy director jobs pay $81,200 annually.

The deadline to apply is Dec. 17. Kale-Pesta expects a deputy director to be name by Jan. 1.

State law requires the deputy director, if one is hired, of a county board of elections to be from the opposing party of the director.

The person recommended for deputy director by Kale-Pesta and Betras would need at least one vote from the two Republicans on the board of elections, Sandra Barger and Bob Aurandt.

Betras said as chairman he wants the board to do additional community outreach to get more people to vote.

“To be open and transparent is my No. 1 priority,” he said. “I want people to have confidence we’re running the board in a way to make sure their voices are heard. I take this job very seriously. There’s nothing more sacred in a democracy than voting.”


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