Vienna pushes for representation on Port Authority

VIENNA — Township officials are pushing for a Vienna resident to be named to the Western Reserve Port Authority seat recently vacated by Michael Welsh, who has represented Vienna on the board for the past six months.

Welsh stepped down last month, citing personal reasons. Trustees had lobbied Trumbull County Commissioners, who appoint four members to the board, last December for representation because the port oversees the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport, which sits in Vienna.

Trustee Phil Pegg said too often there is a lack of information from the port authority to trustees on what takes place. Pegg said the port authority sent a letter to the commissioners supporting former WRPA board member David Detec of Girard as Welsh’s replacement. All seven board members signed the letter.

“When we recommended Mr. Welsh to the port authority, the county commissioners had indicated we should have a voice on that board. We feel we should still have a voice on that board because they are doing business in Vienna Township,” Pegg said.

Pegg and Trustee Heidi Brown said because the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport takes a sixth of the township’s land and makes it untaxable, they should have a seat at the table, not just public input, on decisions the port makes.

Pegg said trustees are waiting for an outcome of the matter but plan to attend the county commissioners meeting Wednesday when it is held at the Trumbull County Antique Tractor Club grounds on Ridge Road in Vienna. Pegg is encouraging residents to tell commissioners how important it is for Vienna to have a vote on what is going on at the port authority.

Detec and three others have applied for the now-vacant seat which carries a four-year term. Pierson J. Butcher Jr., David DeChristofaro and James Cicchillo also applied for the seat.

The Trumbull County commissioners are expected to fill the position soon.

Detec, of Girard, is an attorney at Manchester, Newman and Bennett in Youngstown, who specializes in oil and gas law, business law, health care law, banking, bankruptcy law and real estate law, according to the firm’s website.

Mahoning County commissioners and Trumbull County commissioners each appoint four people to the port’s board. Both counties contribute to the funding of the board with a portion of the bed taxes they collect.