3 vie for 4th Ward council seat

By David Skolnick



The next Youngstown City Council 4th Ward member will be selected today from among three candidates, none of whom ever sought elected political office.

The Mahoning County Democratic Party precinct committee members from the city’s 4th Ward will meet at 7 p.m. today at the party headquarters, 3321 Mahoning Ave. in Youngstown, to vote on who will replace ex-Councilwoman Carol Rimedio-Righetti. There are 13 precinct committee members from that ward.

The three candidates who submitted their names for consideration are:

Michael Ray, 33, of Division Street. Ray is a salesman for United Sciences Testing Inc., an environmental testing company. Rimedio-Righetti is supporting Ray.

George Doward, 57, of Wilkinson Avenue. He has been an employee of First Energy Co. for 39 years, currently as a line troubleshooter.

Howard J. Edwards, 50, of Glacier Avenue. Edwards has been unemployed since January 2009. Before that, he held management jobs with four companies over nearly 15 years.

Milan Zordich, 71, of South Hazelwood Avenue, withdrew as a candidate for the appointment.

Zordich, who retired in 1995 after 26 years as a city firefighter, plans to run in the May 2011 Democratic primary for the council seat. Zordich said he withdrew because he is positive the committee members will support Ray.

Zordich said he invited all 13 precinct committee members to a meeting last week to discuss his candidacy, and only five showed up.

“I could see the writing on the wall,” he said. “Rather than exert the energy on the appointment, I’ll focus on the May primary.”

Rimedio-Righetti resigned Wednesday after nearly seven years on council. She begins a four-year term next month as a county commissioner, a position she was elected to last month.

The term on city council expires Dec. 31, 2011.

Feb. 2 is the deadline to file nominating petitions with the county board of elections for the primary ballot for city council. The winner of the November 2011 general election will serve a full four-year term, beginning January 2012.

The job pays $27,817.24 annually with full medical benefits, according to the city’s payroll office.

The 4th is the most populated ward in the city and includes the upper portion of the West Side.

The precinct committee members will listen to speeches, up to three minutes in length, from each candidate, and then select the council member by a voice vote, said Mahoning Democratic Chairman David Betras.

“The Mahoning County Democratic Party will do [an] open voice vote for replacement of an officeholder for the first time in its history,” he said.

“This is done pursuant to policies set by the [Democratic National Committee] and the Ohio Democratic Party.”