Lots of rumors have been swirling about David DeChristofaro resigning as Trumbull County Engineer, and he's admitted that he's considering as much, saying stepping aside would relieve the emotional and financial pressure of a pending civil trial and possible criminal charges against him.
If DeChristofaro leaves his $99,209 a year job, Trumbull County Democratic Party central committee members would snap into action to pick a replacement to fill DeChristofaro's unexpired term, which ends in 2012. (It would be much like their counterparts in Mahoning County did recently to fill the unexpired term of Lisa Antonini, who resigned as treasurer May 16.)
Ohio law requires the committee to make the appointment between five and 45 days after a vacancy occurs.
Ohio law also requires that a county engineer must be a licensed professional engineer and licensed professional surveyor.
The qualification - holding the dual credentials - slims the field of possible replacements to just four people in Trumbull County.
Yep, that's right, four people in Trumbull County qualify now to replace DeChristofaro should he ultimately choose to resign.
They are Randy L. Smith (former deputy engineer under DeChristofaro's predecessor, John Latell) of Hartford; Aristithis C. Charnas of Warren; Jerry W. Daniel of Girard; and Gary Richard Taneri, also of Warren.
None have had disciplinary action taken against them since they've held their licenses.
Smith has made no secret of his intention, announcing in May in the Tribune Chronicle his plans to challenge DeChristofaro again next year.
Daniel said he would be interested, but under the right circumstances, and Charnas said he's unsure. Taneri did not want to comment.
Smith would appear to be the odds-on favorite to fill the spot if it became vacant. He's a trustee in Hartford; the former deputy engineer; his mother is a precinct committee person; and he has election experience, although there is one strike against Smith: He lost the 2008 Democratic primary to DeChristofaro by 9 percent.
Smith would have to leave his $90,000-a-year job as public service director in Euclid, a job he's held since 2009, and resign as trustee, a position he's held since 2004.
As an aside, DeChristofaro is right. Resigning would relieve the pressure by making the civil suit seeking his removal go away. It claims DeChristofaro misused county property, equipment and resources to further his campaign.
Stepping down may also lessen, to a point, potential penalties DeChristofaro would face if a grand jury brings criminal charges against him based on the results of an investigation by special prosecutors with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and Ohio Ethics Commission into the same allegations.