I didn't know Christ Michelakis well, enough to chat with the former Trumbull County Democratic Party chairman about local politics or matters that concerned the Trumbull County Board of Elections, which he led as chairman for several years.
What I gleaned from covering election board meetings was that Michelakis was firm, but reasonable when it came to deciding issues before the board.
And that's what others who knew him best say too, whether it was an issue facing the board or one facing the party.
''He was such a powerful figure in the local party, but he had the velvet hammer approach,'' said Rocco Vadala, formerly with the Trumbull County Young Democrats.
For example, Michelakis was skeptical of a proposal Republicans made in the spring to eliminate 92 voting precincts in Trumbull County, saying then such a large reduction would create long lines and long waits for voters to cast a ballot.
But he was OK with a compromise to eliminate 28 precincts. That compromise preserved voter ease at the polls on Election Day, but also one that saves the elections board about $25,000 in election-related expenses per election.
Michelakis died Sept. 3. He was 73.
Michelakis also knew the importance of keeping young people involved in the Democratic Party, which is why he persuaded Vadala and Rokey Suleman, former deputy director of Trumbull's elections board, to restart the Young Democrats in the early 2000s.
Include a young Jon Wike, current Young Democrats president, and Republican-turned-Democrat Jim Calko, and the group was reborn with the full backing and support of Michelakis.
Michelakis gave the Young Democrats use of the party headquarters, Suleman said, and Michelakis was eager to help in other ways, whether it was making an appearance or donation. ''If we were having a fundraiser, there may have been 10 people, but Christ was there,'' Wike said.
''He was 100 percent there for us all the way,'' Wike said.
The executive committee of the Trumbull County Democratic Party will be meeting Wednesday to recommend someone to fill what's left of the elections board term belonging to Michelakis.
The committee's recommendation will be forwarded to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who can confirm or deny the appointment.
Party chairman Dan Polivka says he's not interested in putting his name in the hat again. That's best, given Husted's rejection of him earlier this year. Husted reasoned that Polivka, also a county commissioner, could not also be an elections board member because the positions were incompatible due to conflicts of interest.
Likewise, Mahoning County's Democratic Party executive committee will be meeting on Saturday to do the same. Party chairman David Betras said he is the only person who has expressed interest in filling the spot being left by Michael Morley, whose resignation is effective Saturday.
Betras does not hold public office. It would be surprising if Husted denied Betras.
Five people who worked in the positions of highway superintendent and highway supervisor (there are three) in the Trumbull County Engineer's Office last year racked up 2,259 hours of overtime. That's $60,492. In an effort to reduce that number, new engineer Randy Smith has re-assigned the office's former highway superintendent, to a vacant, fourth highway supervisor's position. Highway supervisor's positions pay about $47,000 a year.