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Funeral director gets Port Authority seat

WARREN — A Howland man will serve on the Western Reserve Port Authority Board of Directors for the next four years.

Trumbull County commissioners voted Tuesday to appoint Sterling Williams, owner of Sterling McCullough Williams Funeral Home, to the board, which is responsible for overseeing the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport as well as economic development issues in the Mahoning Valley.

Williams will replace businessman Scott Lewis, an eight-year board member whose term expired Dec. 31.

“It was a tough decision because we had an excellent slate of candidates,” Commissioner Frank Fuda said. “But Sterling answered our every question in an impressive manner.”

Fuda said he and his colleagues were impressed with his background in business development and his love for the Mahoning Valley.

Williams, who was chosen from a slate of 13 candidates, has served on the boards of various area organizations, including the YSU Penguin Club, Northside Medical Center and Hospice of the Valley. He said he appreciates the confidence given to him by commissioners.

“Some of the issues that are concerns to me are job creation. Hopefully we can do some economic development that we can bring industries back,” Williams said. “One of my pet peeves is that we have many well-qualified young people leaving the area for better jobs elsewhere.”

Port Authority President John Moliterno said Williams comes from a great family who has given back to their community.

“I have worked with Sterling enough in the past to know what he brings to the table. He is a really good guy and a hard worker,” Moliterno said.

Lewis, a real estate broker who had unsuccessfully sought another term, hurt his bid for reappointment because of a 2014 reprimand by the Ohio Ethics Commission linked to a $97,366.38 commission check he received from a 2009 real estate transaction in which Davis International sold a cargo building to Millwood Inc., which leases airport land. Lewis had abstained from any vote in the matter, but did not tell other board members he represented Davis.

Fuda and Commissioner Daniel J. Polivka both called for Lewis’ resignation at the time. Lewis did not resign, serving out his term. Attempts to reach Lewis on Tuesday were not successful.

Commissioners said they narrowed the field to five finalists who were interviewed, including owner and CEO of GLI Pool Products, Gary Crandall of Warren.

Besides Williams, Lewis and Crandall, other applicants were James Cicchillo of Bristolville, Dennis Gartland of Cortland, George Holko of Warren, John Spivey Jr. of Youngstown, James Walker of Warren, Gina Angle of Warren, Carmen Mazza of Niles, Dennis Blank of Warren, Phillip Arbie of Warren, and Michael Rapovy of Youngstown.

Crandall and Cicchillo applied for the position four years ago when Lewis was reappointed.

gvogrin@tribtoday.com

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