Fuda upset in endorsement vote

Frank Fuda did not receive the endorsement of the Trumbull County Democratic Party in the race to keep his seat.

WARREN — Democrat Frank Fuda, a Trumbull County commissioner running to keep his seat, did not receive the endorsement of the Trumbull County Democratic Party for the May 8 primary and he wants to see how members voted.

Democrat Lisha Pompili Baumiller, a Hubbard councilwoman, received 91 votes to Fuda’s 84 at the Democratic Party’s endorsement breakfast on Saturday.

Fuda said he believes party Chairman Dan Polivka, his colleague on the county board of commissioners, stacked votes against him by appointing 52 news committee members over the last two years, which is something the party’s by-laws were amended to allow in 2016.

“It’s tough to win when the party chairman makes 52 appointments to get what he wants,” Fuda said.

Polivka said Fuda is “grasping at straws, because 173 committee members were elected, not appointed.”

The two have been bumping heads over the county’s needs and disagree on whether the board of commissioners should hire a county administrator, with Fuda against the idea.

Fuda said he wants to see a breakdown of how the party’s central and executive committee members voted. Fuda said he was told by Polivka to submit his request in writing to the party’s parliamentarian, Jeff Goodman.

The party’s bylaws state the tally sheets are to “remain open for public inspection for the remainder” of the candidate’s term. The bylaws do not state the request to view the tally has to be in writing.

Polivka said Fuda had an observer in the room where the tally was counted, twice.

“I have always honored people’s vote and would not want any retaliation against people that didn’t vote his way,” Polivka said.

Fuda said he doesn’t want to see the vote breakdown to retailiate against anyone, but because it’s his right, as defined by party bylaws. Fuda said he also was prevented from observing the tally count himself.

Fuda said he is concerned the tally sheets will be destroyed before he is allowed to inspect them.

Polivka said it was a fair vote and his appointments to the committee included people Fuda is friendly with. After consulting with Goodman, Polivka said Fuda is welcome to look at the tally sheets.

The endorsement meeting Saturday at Enzo’s in Warren also was held earlier than usual and with only a week’s notice, Fuda said, which means many people who would have been there to support him were out of town.

Pompili Baumiller said she is honored to receive the endorsement of the party and is ready to see change and diversity on the county board of commissioners. If she wins the primary race, and she or the Republican seeking the commissioner seat, Mary Williams, wins in the November general election, one will be the first woman elected to the county board since Margaret Dennison in the 1980s.

“I am a public servant, an advocate for the people. I have served my constituents with passion and with concern. I will maintain that level of excellence as your commissioner,” Pompili Baumiller said.

She said she has experience in business, negotiation, communication and public service.

“In our rapidly changing world, we can no longer continue in our existing ways that are hindering us,” Pompili Baumiller said.

The party also endorsed Samuel Bluedorn for judge in the Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, Juvenile and Domestic Division, over Jack Pico. Bluedorn received 97 votes to Pico’s 79 votes.

Fuda said he will not let the endorsement vote get in the way of his campaign to keep the seat he has held for 11 years.

“I am just going to keep campaigning. People know me, they know my record and that I keep my promises. This motivates me, I want to work harder,” Fuda said.

The party also endorsed Ohio Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, for Ohio governor. Democratic gubernatorial candidates Bill O’Neill and Dennis Kucinich also were at the meeting, but only Schiavoni addressed the crowd.