Odds and ends from the world of politics in Trumbull and Mahoning counties:
Major kudos to Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, who on Aug. 8 will join President Barack Obama's administration as head of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers.
Williams' political stock is on the rise and it will continue to do so, especially if, as U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan noted, Obama wins a second term in 2012. An Obama victory next year, Ryan speculates, positions Williams for a cabinet spot.
Either way, Williams can be a driver of economic growth for the Mahoning Valley, even more so if Ryan's speculation becomes fact.
Williams' appointment isn't without its benefits to Obama. Williams, who has seen first-hand the benefits of the auto bailout (GM Lordstown) and stimulus package (V&M Star), gives Obama a big-league advocate for his programs on the campaign trail.
And what about Ryan? His already solid political stock got a boost with the appointment of Williams. Ryan advocated to Obama for the position.
Former director of Trumbull County's Department of Job and Family Services, Tom Mahoney, fired two years ago from the job he held from 2000-09, wants the job back.
Mahoney was let go for knowingly allowing a worker dealing cocaine to keep working at JFS.
He admitted in recorded telephone calls he bought drugs from the worker, hired under a second chance program to help ex-cons get work experience. He was charged with felony possession of cocaine, but wasted an opportunity to have the charge dismissed by flunking multiple drug tests while in a program that would have resolved the case through rehabilitation.
He wrote to commissioners that he has put much work into healing and learning from his mistakes, and is now stronger mentally, spiritually and emotionally. But is that enough to overcome his past? Probably not.
He still carries a tarnished reputation and the nearly dozen other applicants are highly qualified. As for a frontrunner now, it appears to be JFS attorney John Gargano, named interim director last week.
Newton Falls 4th Ward councilman James Luonuansuu (full disclosure, he is my councilman) had proposed asking voters to put in the village charter requirements that would have made it much more difficult to recall the mayor or members of council.
The biggest change proposed by Luonuansuu would have required those wanting a recall to collect enough valid petition signatures to equal 45 percent of people who voted in the last general election in the ward being targeted or in cases of mayor or at-large post, village-wide.
The charter now relies on Ohio law, which requires valid signatures equal to 15 percent of the total votes cast in the most recent regular municipal election.
Luonuansuu's argument is that this and other changes he proposed take the process out of the hands of an upset minority.
A recall gives the public balance, a way to get rid of an elected official they believe is performing poorly and Luonuansuu's proposal goes too far. If the majority feels the official is worthy of remaining in office, that feeling will be expressed at the polls and Luonuansuu knows that, having survived a recall attempt earlier this year.