10 seek mayor’s seat in Niles

Half of city council, service director among candidates

NILES — Ten people want to be mayor of Niles, a number that includes half of city council, the safety director and five other residents with occupations ranging from painter to church music director and everything in between.

City Council President and interim Mayor Barry Steffey, who previously said he had no intention of seeking the position, submitted an application at the Board of Elections Tuesday, as did council members Steven Mientkiewicz, D-at Large, and Linda Marchese, D-3rd Ward. Councilman Barry Profato, D-at Large, filed June 26 and Safety Director George Kaniclides filed June 28.

George Kuriatnyk, who routinely attends city meetings, posts about city issues on social media and was once temporarily banned from city property in 2016 after city employee Mark Holmes filed a civil stalking protection order against him that was later dismissed in the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas, also put his name in the running.

Residents Steven Hrosar, a painting contractor; James “Jimmy” Julian, a commercial recruiter for a local staffing agency; Robert “Bo” Violette, a church music director; and John Madigan, who works in conjunction with the Department of Liquor Control to oversee the operation of state liquor agencies in Niles, also have applied.

The vacancy was created when former Mayor Thomas Scarnecchia abruptly announced his retirement June 19, citing personal reasons, and leaving Steffey to serve as interim mayor.

The Niles Democratic Central Committee planned to vote and name Scarnecchia’s replacement July 18. However, on Tuesday they rescheduled the meeting to July 27 “in an effort to ensure full transparency and opportunity for the public and all candidates,” according to a press release issued by Jeffrey Goodman, parlimentarian of the Trumbull County Democratic Party.

“This gives everybody time to get their information out for the public to take it all in and learn whatever they want to know,” Goodman said. “We don’t want anyone to be rushed, we don’t want anyone to not be able to have an opportunity to effectively convey their message. It seems like the appropriate thing to do.”

Although the deadline to apply was Tuesday, Goodman said nothing prevents more candidates from throwing their names in the ring even up to the day the committee votes.

“That’s probably an improbable scenario, but I’m not aware of any impediment to that happening,” Goodman said. “It would certainly require a vote of the 12 precinct committee people to accept that person’s candidacy after the deadline, but that could be done.”

The committee needs a quorum of seven people in order to vote on Scarnecchia’s replacement at its July 27 meeting, Goodman said.