Lack of administrator messes with plans

Council of Governments formation delayed

WARREN — The formation of a Trumbull County Council of Governments has been put on hold after the man picked to be Trumbull County administrator backed out of the job.

The council voted Wednesday to ask the man Trumbull County commissioners approved to be administrator, Mike Matas of Cortland, to serve as its executive director so it could register with the state and begin operating.

But Matas, in an email to commissioners on Feb. 27, announced he was staying in his position of budget director in Lake County.

“Due to the recent departure of Mr. Matas, we are unable to submit the organizational forms to the state,” said James LaPolla, Howland trustee and chairman of the council.

Council members are scheduled to meet March 28 to work on a solution. The council already has bylaws and officers, but it needs a permanent fiscal officer. In the meantime, Fred Bobovnyk, Weathersfield fiscal officer, is serving in the position.

Once fully formed, the council intends to form partnerships with member communities to share equipment and other resources. About 20 communities locally are represented on the council.

The communities that joined are paying between $100 and $300 a year in dues, depending on their population. The council is still working on other funding sources.

Trumbull County Commissioners Mauro Cantalamessa and Dan Polivka said they have not yet decided how to proceed after Matas turned down the $95,000-a-year position. He is earning about $125,000 a year in Lake County.

Cantalamessa said Matas was highly qualified for the position and if the commissioners choose to keep pursuing candidates to serve as administrator / purchasing director, they may need to expand their search to find another person to take on the job.

“We are in a bit of a limbo, taking all of our options under consideration. We had a clear vision, and now, suddenly, we are back at the drawing board,” Cantalamessa said.

The commissioners reviewed two candidates, Matas and a fire chief in Michigan, after a hiring committee went through 13 applications received for the position.

Polivka said he is still “regrouping” and has not planned how to proceed.

Commissioner Frank Fuda said he is still against the idea of hiring an administrator.

“I haven’t changed my mind. We don’t need an administrator and we can’t afford one,” said Fuda, who voted against hiring Matas on Feb. 20.