YOUNGSTOWN - The Western Reserve Port Authority on Thursday got another new board member; a new executive director is expected to be next.
About 40 minutes after Mahoning County commissioners appointed David Mosure to fill the last vacant seat on the eight-person board, they were meeting behind closed doors with several members of the port authority board and a businessman who had been named previously as one of the primary candidates for the organization's executive director post.
Mosure, vice president of the Youngstown-based engineering firm ms Consultants, brings the board up to full strength. He replaces former board member Richard Schiraldi who resigned earlier this year. Mosure will serve through the end of 2016 on the board that oversees operations at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport and some economic development activity in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
Last week, commissioners in Trumbull County appointed Sam Covelli, owner / operator of Warren-based Covelli Enterprises, and attorney David A. Detec of Manchester, Newman & Bennett law firm to fill the other vacant seats.
All three of the new appointees along with three other existing members of the eight-person board joined Mahoning County commissioners Thursday to discuss direction of the port authority's strategic plan. The meeting also included port authority management, two Trumbull commissioners on conference call and two officials from Columbus-based Council of Development Finance Agencies, or CDFA, a company contracted to develop a Western Reserve Port Authority strategic plan. The plan, expected to cost about $40,000, will outline port authority direction and personnel recommendations including what to do with the executive director position. The post has been vacant since January when former director Rose Ann DeLeon left due to health reasons.
Girard businessman John Moliterno, who has been listed as the prime candidate for the open executive director post, attended Thursday's meeting. He described his role there was as a "concerned citizen." Moliterno remained in the meeting during a one-and-a-half hour executive session called to discuss personnel issues. Ohio law allows public bodies to adjourn into private sessions for a number of specific reasons, including personnel issues.
Following the meeting, Moliterno left without comment. Moliterno, who operates a printing business, previously was the head of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber and also has served on the Western Reserve Port Authority board.
One day before the meeting, port authority board Chairman Ron Klingle said an interim director could be appointed soon.
"I think there's a chance that in the not-too-distant future we will probably be making a decision on an interim director, and I think everybody will be in favor of doing what we are doing," Klingle said Wednesday.
Thursday, he declined to identify Moliterno as a candidate.
Mahoning Commissioner David Ditzler said the port authority members had invited Moliterno to attend the meeting in order to participate and gather information.
Ditzler and Mahoning Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti, who previously were critical of the port authority's actions and reported plans to appoint Moliterno as executive director, on Thursday instead spoke highly of the board's activities.
"I think everything is fantastic. We are moving in a great direction. I think everyone is on the same page. We have got excellent people that have been appointed to the board with three people that bring instant credibility to the board," Ditzler said.
Rimedio-Righetti concurred and attributed the commissioners' change of heart largely to improved communication and said past criticism of the port authority's executive director hiring plans came not in connection with the candidate, but because of a lack of communication about the decision-making process.
"I think the board has a good focus and good direction, and I believe what comes out of their meeting, we would be supportive of," Rimedio-Righetti said.
Klingle seemed equally pleased with the improved relations.
"The meetings just keep getting better and better," he said following Thursday's gathering.