No apathy about public service in Youngstown | News, Sports, Jobs

Ethel Walsh

Sometimes so much apathy about local government exists that no one runs for elected posts, particularly in smaller communities.

We are pleased to report that is far from the case in Youngstown. In fact, residents there should be applauded for their involvement and interest in local government.

Last week, The Vindicator reported that an astounding nine residents have thrown their hats into the so-called ring in hopes of replacing outgoing Councilwoman Lauren McNally, D-5th Ward. McNally is resigning to take over a new post as newly elected 59th district state representative in Columbus, effective Jan. 1.

Her existing 5th Ward term is up for election in November 2023, so the person appointed would run then for a full four-year term. The ward includes most of the city’s lower West Side.

Those voting on McNally’s successor are the six Mahoning County Democratic Party central committee members from the city’s 5th Ward. Those committee members are scheduled to meet Jan. 7 to hear speeches from the candidates and select McNally’s replacement.

We are pleased to see this plentiful number of applicants willing to step up and represent their city ward. Indeed the role of council member is a wholly grassroots position that requires a good work ethic, commitment, knowledge and a conscientious attitude when it comes to constituents’ needs. The right person should be readily available and demonstrate that he or she will be responsive and attentive to constituents.

Applicants are Brandon Kovach, founder and chief financial officer of the Kovach Companies; Carie Watson, a teacher and literacy coach at Youngstown Community School; Cynthia McWilson, a nurse for Centers for Dialysis Care; Pat Kelly, security chief for the Youngstown school district and former police officer; David Hight, class supervisor at Mahoning County High School; Terry Grenga, attorney and former assistant prosecutor; Richard Yaslik, parts manager at Kufleitner Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram; Emmett Warren Jr., a Mahoning County wastewater treatment plant operator; and Paul Dahman, service and support administrator for the Columbiana County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

At the end of 2023, the appointed council member could run for election to the post in the November 2023 election for a new term beginning in January 2024, if he or she so chooses.

We urge those making the appointment to be cautious and focused on the candidates and this important decision at hand.

While this is a political appointment, we urge the Democratic Party central committee members not to treat this appointment as a popularity contest, but as an opportunity to appoint a candidate who will best serve the community. That’s all we can ask, and indeed, if the appointed person does that job successfully, he or she will have an advantage when it comes to running for election next year.

We are thrilled to see so many candidates step up for consideration.

McNally has served the local community well. We will be even more thrilled if the appointment is made according to these few suggestions and the successful candidate is equally as dedicated as McNally has been to her constituents.

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