WARREN - Trumbull County Commissioner Dan Polivka, already on record saying he's not satisfied with the job that's been done by the Western Reserve Port Authority's executive director, now says the port authority board shouldn't let her contract automatically renew.
Instead, Polivka said he wants the board to advertise the position, to ''open it up and get the best person in there.''
Polivka's comments enter him into the debate over whether the $155,000 contract for Rose Ann DeLeon should be renewed. A motion at the port authority's recent board meeting to notify DeLeon that members planned to not renew the agreement when it expires Dec. 7 failed, but sparked talk about terms that could be part of a new agreement.
Polivka said then that he believed the contract was too lucrative and hinted at a salary that's tied to specific incentives. Now, he's gone a step further, saying he feels the board should look for someone new.
''I don't think they should renew the contract,'' Polivka said. ''I think they should go in a different direction.''
Polivka said his feelings are strictly based on performance, ''I don't think the performance is there for what is being paid,'' he said.
Polivka's proposal wasn't received well by fellow Commissioner Paul Heltzel, who said he doesn't ''like that idea at all,'' but, Heltzel stopped short of saying which direction he preferred the port authority board to take.
''When the thing popped up about the bonus, we had a reason to step in, but at some point, we start to meddle in the port authority's responsibilities,'' Heltzel said. ''They are the ones that have the day-to-day responsibilities, they have the meetings, the most information.''
Heltzel said commissioners stepped into the situation involving a $7,500 bonus given to the aviation director at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport because port authority members didn't understand that it sent the wrong message to county employees whose wages have been frozen.
''Unless they are way off base, we should wish them well and let them do the best job that they can,'' Heltzel said.
Commissioner Frank Fuda said the contract should not automatically be renewed for another year because of the money, but maybe the position should be changed to focus on grants, financing and bonds rather than having someone who is a business recruiter, given the strong interest in the area already from business.
Talk after the Sept. 26 port authority board vote was that there would be an attempt to renegotiate the contract with some of the considerations being a reduction in salary and specific incentives to earn back some of those wages.
The board must notify DeLeon of its intentions by Nov. 7 or, according to the terms of her contract, the agreement will be extended for another year.
Scott Lynn, port authority board chairman, said the administration committee would take into account the feedback and present a recommendation on how to proceed to the full board.
The administration committee meets Wednesday, and the board meets Oct. 17.