WRAP cuts board to nine

WARREN – The Warren Redevelopment and Planning board voted to reduce its size from 25 to nine trustees. Among positions eliminated were the mayor, city community development director and the city council representative.

Trustees will serve three-year terms and will serve on a staggered-term basis.

“We are making common-sense changes to operate WRAP in a common-sense manner,” said Kim Phillips, chairman of WRAP’s board of trustees.

Other board seats eliminated are the chair of the Reinvestment Partnership Corp. and representatives of the Trumbull County commissioners, Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, the Fine Arts Council and the Warren City Schools.

However, those in those positions may be invited to participate on particular projects or to volunteer to serve on the board.

The decision to reduce the board’s size is to streamline its operation and make it more effective, according to Phillips. It originally was set at 25 members to qualify to be a Small Business Agency loan agency. However, WRAP has not managed this type of loan since the early-to-mid-1990s.

“We felt that Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corp. is more effective in handling these loans,” Michael Keys, the city’s Community Development director, said.

Phillips said WRAP’s executive committee meets on a quarterly basis.

“The full board has not met for several years,” Phillips said. “I do not know why.”

Jack Foley, former director of the city’s Community Development department, recommended that Warren’s mayor and a council member remain as trustees on the board, since WRAP still receives funding from the city.

However, member Don Emerson argued that these positions may be invited to participate on a committee at the chairman’s discretion on particular projects.

“We want to have that flexibility in making sure we are getting lots of expertise,” Emerson said. “We still have the ability to receive the input from the mayor.”

Phillips said the new nine-member board will be selected at the board’s October meeting. Those with interests in serving on the board should contact WRAP at its office, 418 Main St. S.W., Phillips said.