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Elections board looks to fill opening

Democrats can apply for deputy director position until Feb. 1

WARREN — The Trumbull County Board of Elections will accept letters of interest until Feb. 1 from those interested in being considered for the open deputy director’s position.

The job is available after the Dec. 31 retirement of Ron Massullo, a Democrat. The person replacing Massullo has to be a Democrat under state election law as the director, Stephanie Penrose, is a Republican and the two positions must be held by people from the other political party.

Chairman Mark Alberini, a Democrat, at Monday’s board meeting complimented Massullo as having “an unmatched skill set when it comes to election expertise.”

Massullo said he’d been looking to retire for a while and after the presidential election and with a low-profile primary in May, this was the ideal time to leave.

After two years as an elections specialist at the board, Massullo was promoted to deputy director in August 2018.

The board will advertise for Massullo’s replacement as well as a Republican elections specialist position for a week starting Monday with a Feb. 1 deadline to apply.

“We want to advertise this internally so staff can apply and throughout the county,” and through the Ohio secretary of state, Alberini said

The job pays about $58,000 — the same as the director’s position.

Penrose said she expected several people to apply for the job.

“I imagine they’ll flood in,” she said.

The board next meets Feb. 2, the day after the deadline to submit a resume and cover letter for the deputy director’s job.

Monday was Kathi Creed’s second-to-last meeting as a board member. The Trumbull County Republican Party’s executive committee voted Saturday to recommend to the Ohio secretary of state that Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill replace her starting in March.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve on this board,” said Creed, who unsuccessfully sought a second four-year appointment.

Alberini’s term on the board is also up. Trumbull Democrats have until Feb. 16 to meet and recommend a candidate for the seat he holds.

The terms are for four years and pay is about $15,000 per year.

COVID-19 IMPACT

Also Monday, Penrose said a board employee had COVID-19 and about half of the staff is working for three to four days while the other half stays home, with pay, and then the groups switch.

The board decided to change that to having half the staff work a full week at the office and the other half stay home.

Staff can’t access the board’s computer network because of cybersecurity issues related to voters, so those who are staying home will take continuing education and training programs, Penrose said.

The virus has closed the board office for a few months.

With the Feb. 3 deadline to file nominating petitions for the May 4 primary approaching, Penrose said she is asking candidates seeking to pick up or drop off nominating petitions to first call the office at 330-369-4050 to make an appointment.

As of Monday, the only candidates to file are three Democratic incumbents: Warren Councilman Ronald White of the 7th Ward, Hubbard Councilman Michael Toda of the 4th Ward and Girard Council President Reynold Paolone.

The board voted 4-0 on a proposal from member Ron Knight to seek a formal written opinion from the county prosecutor’s office regarding a potential investigation into 16 people who voted during the 2020 general election at the early voting center and then voted by mail, and 25 more who voted either at the center or by mail and then went to their polling location to vote again.

Penrose said she didn’t believe the voters tried to commit fraud. But the board wants a written opinion about those voters from the prosecutor.

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