Monday, March 24, 2003
The city worker says he didn't circulate the mayor's petitions on city time.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HUBBARD -- Edward Pompili Sr. is resigning as a precinct committeeman.
"I don't want to jeopardize my job," he said Friday.
Pompili has been Democratic committeeman in Precinct 4C since 1992. He's also a classified employee in the city's sewage treatment plant.
The federal Hatch Act prohibits classified employees -- those who generally have civil service status -- from being involved directly or indirectly in partisan politics.
Pompili circulated a petition for Mayor George Praznik, who is being challenged in the May 6 Democratic primary by former Mayor Arthur U. Magee.
The Trumbull County Board of Elections ruled Tuesday that Praznik's name could remain on the ballot, despite Magee's complaint that the petition circulated by Pompili is invalid.
Pompili said he got the signatures of six family members at home, not on city time.
He said he circulated the petitions after being approached by Praznik several times.
"I wanted to stay out of it because I know both candidates. The mayor shouldn't have asked me," Pompili said, adding he didn't want to ignore Praznik's requests "because he's my boss."
Like Praznik, Pompili said he didn't know classified employees are not permitted to be involved in partisan political activities, such as circulating petitions.
Either the city or the elections board should have provided information calling attention to the restrictions, Pompili said.
There was a similar situation in Trumbull County in 1984.
Richard Marino was 1st Ward councilman in Niles while working as a county maintenance worker. He was fired by county commissioners in May 1984. Magee, a commissioner at the time, voted for Marino's dismissal.
Frank A. Lordi was found guilty in 1999 of theft in office, in part for directing Mahoning County employees to circulate political petitions on county time while he was county commissioner.
Police Chief Marty Kanetsky said Friday his department is not investigating the Pompili issue.
"Nobody has approached us. No complaint has been filed," Kanetsky said. "We need a complaint from somebody."