Malloy to represent Trumbull commissioners at D.C. Fly-In

WARREN — Commission board President Denny Malloy will be Trumbull County’s official representative at the 2024 Washington Fly-In scheduled to take place next month.

Commissioners Mauro Cantalamessa and Malloy voted at last week’s meeting to send him as the county’s representative, so his registration, travel, hotel and other costs are expected to be paid for using county funds. Costs for the fly-in are expected to be about $2,000, according to the commissioners. Registration for the weekend is $800.

Commissioner Niki Frenchko voted against Malloy being the county’s representative. Frenchko planned on attending the two-day conference and questioned why her expenses could not also be paid.

Frenchko attended the conference sponsored by the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber in 2022 and in 2023, so she would provide a level of expertise that Malloy does not have because he has not attended the conference in previous years, she said.

In addition, according to Frenchko, she has already purchased airline tickets for the weekend of June 25 to 27, for just under $400. She also obtained hotel lodging for approximately $100 less than what is being offered to others attending the conference.

Frenchko noted she already arranged to have people drop her off and pick her up from airports, so she will not have parking fees.

Malloy said the commissioners last year created a policy requiring county employees, including the commissioners, to obtain preapproval for official expenses.

“I don’t know why you would have purchased the tickets without getting preapproval,” he said.

Frenchko said she is the only commissioner that is a military veteran and has been affected by Base Realignment and Closure relocations, so she would be able to passionately discuss issues connected to the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna. She also said she already has begun studying many of the issues expected to be discussed during the conference.

Malloy reminded Frenchko that she will not be a commissioner after Jan. 1, 2025.

“With this, as president of the board, I think I need to be here to be able to follow through on the discussions,” he said.

Cantalamessa, who noted he cannot attend the conference, said he thinks Frenchko also should go to the conference.

“I just think you should have to pay,” he said. “It should be one representative and the president of the board should make that decision.”

Frenchko mentioned that last time when there was a dispute about whether she should have been reimbursed for her expenses related to the Washington Fly-In, she wrote a demand letter.

“It will cost you more to go to small claims court, than to allow the only person who is a veteran to go to advocate for the air base,” she said.

Malloy questioned why she would have to go to court, because she has not lost anything. He already has spoken to regional chamber representatives about changing the conference reservation from Frenchko’s name to his.

He added that because the conference will not take place for several weeks, she has time to cancel the airline reservations without losing money.

Malloy offered to personally pay the cost of Frenchko’s airline tickets, if she can prove she purchased it prior to Wednesday’s meeting and cannot be reimbursed for costs.

Frenchko argued she should represent the county because she represents the county well.

“No one said you didn’t,” Malloy said.

“As a commissioner, as a veteran, as someone who understands the needs of our community and understands the place that we are there to advocate for,” she said. “I look professional. I can fit into a suit and an airline chair.”

Malloy responded: “There we go again.”

Frenchko then referred to a story of a large man who died on the tarmac of an airport.

“I think we should have a health check,”she said. “How about whoever can do the most push ups and sit ups.”

Frenchko said it is embarrassing that Malloy will be representing Trumbull County during the conference.

“He smells bad,” she said. “He looks bad and is not that smart. We should send someone that actually looks right and presents right, who can fit inside a normal size suit and normal size chair.”

Frenchko said her fellow commissioners not allowing her to be reimbursed for this trip is retaliation for her making an American with Disability Act complaint.

“This has nothing to do with your going to Washington D.C. Fly-In,” she said.

Frenchko then asked for a vote for both commissioners to be reimbursed for the trip. Cantalamessa and Malloy voted against the motion.

Have an interesting news story? Contact Raymond Smith by email at rsmith@tribtoday.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.


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