MVSD’s former manager agrees to plea bargain

Vigorito permanently loses his water license

YOUNGSTOWN — The former plant operations manager at the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District who was accused of letting participants of a water certification class leave early pleaded guilty to reduced charges Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Anthony Vigorito, 42, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of forgery, noncompliance with Ohio’s Safe Drinking Water Act and tampering with records, and was given a suspended 30-day jail sentence plus 100 hours of community service, a year of probation and a $3,000 fine.

Vigorito was originally charged with two counts of each charge, all felony charges before the plea.

He was plant operations manager at the water supplier when water certification classes he privately gave to 26 Youngstown Water Department employees in 2013 and 2014 came under scrutiny by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The 26 employees pleaded guilty to falsifying their continuing education hours earlier this year in Franklin County Municipal Court. They were ordered to pay restitution, complete community service and pay fines. Their certified water operators’ licenses were suspended for a year.

Vigorito permanently lost his water operators license in the plea deal, said his attorney Martin White.

“He did not know most of these people from Youngstown and he didn’t know if they needed the certifications for their jobs — meter readers and maintenance guys. He didn’t know they got paid a little bit extra to get the certificate,” White said. “His background is in chemistry and engineering, he was teaching courses to people with no interest in chemistry or engineering. They didn’t want to be there. So slowly, the courses started to get shorter. He got relaxed about and let them leave.”

While Vigorito issued certificates of completion, he did not send anything to the Ohio EPA, White said. The people filing for certificates had to send the agency affidavits to prove they took the class, White said.

“He never had any contact with the Ohio EPA, that is why these charges didn’t really add up,” White said. “He did get a little bit relaxed, but he didn’t know he was committing any crime.”

Vigorito has never been accused of wrongdoing at the MVSD.

“This was an error in judgment, not something to cause harm or motivated by profit. This has been lumped in with public corruption cases, but it isn’t one of those cases. His career in water supply is over, and that is a sad thing because he was good at it,” White said.