Warren Democrats look to fill council seat

WARREN — Less than a week before a meeting of the Trumbull County Democratic Party to appoint someone to the at-Large council seat vacated when Eddie Colbert became the city’s new safety service director, only two officially have expressed interest in taking the seat.

Fifth Ward Councilman Ken MacPherson and his former 5th Ward opponent, Robert Moody, have notified the Trumbull County Democratic Party they interested in being appointed to Colbert’s term, a seat he won in November and left earlier this month when Mayor Doug Franklin appointed him to safety service director. Franklin made the appointment after Enzo Cantalamessa left the position when voters selected him as the new law director last year.

Warren’s 25 Democratic precinct committee members are expected to hear from the candidates and then vote on Colbert’s replacement 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Enzo’s Restaurant, 2918 Elm Road NE, Warren, Cantalamessa’s family business.

Applicants will be given a specified amount of time to make presentations before precinct committee members vote, said Jeff Goodman, the party’s parliamentarian.

Candidates who want to be considered for the seat must send letters of interest to the Trumbull County Democratic Party by 4 p.m. Friday. Applications may be sent to Karen Zehr, Trumbull County Democratic Party, 36 Youngstown Warren Road, Niles, OH 44446.

Zehr said Moody and MacPherson are the only two people that have sent formal applications to be considered for the seat.

The person selected will complete the balance of Colbert’s two-year term on council.

MacPherson, 53, said he is seeking to expand his base.

“I’ve had pretty good experience working as a ward councilman,” he said. “If selected, I will use that experience at a city-wide level.”

As an at-Large councilman, MacPherson said he will expect more, demand better and will hold people accountable. He has spoken to people in his ward about his decision to seek the at-large seat.

“They know I still will be working to address the issues facing them,” he said. “We need a person that can run and win a citywide race against a Republican candidate.”

MacPherson advocates reducing the number of times council uses the “emergency” designation to pass legislation in order to encourage more discussion and possible citizen input about topics that may become city law.

Moody, 68, who retired after 30 years from the GM Lordstown plant, said he likes the direction the city has been heading over the last several years and wants to be part of its resurgence.

“I’ve always been a huge advocate of the city,” Moody said. “I like what has been happening downtown and want to see the growth of business and opportunity spread throughout the city.”

Moody said one of the most important issues that council and the administration will tackle over the next year likely will be convincing voters they should make the five-year, 0.5 percent sales tax increase passed in 2016 permanent.

“I’m hoping the city will show exactly how the money has been spent using these funds,” he said.

Moody said there is work to be done to improve city streets. He is a Warren representative on the board of the Trumbull County Planning Commission.