Recount confirms Boardman school levy victory

By David Skolnick


A recount of a Boardman schools replacement levy upheld its four-vote victory.

It took about an hour Tuesday for the Mahoning County Board of Elections to conduct the recount of a 1.6-mill, five-year levy that voters supported 1,560 to 1,556. The levy will raise $1,313,621 annually for capital improvements and more security at school buildings.

“A big thank you to Boardman voters for having faith in the school system,” said Frank Lazzeri, Boardman’s superintendent of schools, who was at the elections board for the recount. “We’ll continue to be good stewards and use the additional resources for the safety of our students and the staff.”

The Boardman schools levy replaces one first passed in 1988 and will bring in an additional $480,000 annually.

The extra money will be used to beef up security with locks on classroom doors among the first items to address, Lazzeri said.

A recount is automatic when the margin of victory or defeat is 0.5 percent or less. The levy’s margin of victory was 0.12 percent.

Election board employees counted by hand three precincts in accordance with state law. Once the hand count matched the numbers in those precincts, the rest of the ballots were counted by the board’s voting machines in compliance with state law.

“It really shows how accurate and how much faith we can have in our voting process,” Lazzeri said.

Also Tuesday, the board certified the nominating petitions for all independent candidates for the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

However, Cecil Monroe of Maranatha Court withdrew his nominating petitions Tuesday before the board was to vote to disqualify him as a Youngstown mayoral candidate.

Monroe was to be disqualified because he voted in the Democratic primary May 7, the day before he filed petitions to run as an independent, said Joyce Kale-Pesta, the board’s director.

State election rules call for the automatic disqualification of those who file as independent candidates and then vote in a partisan party primary election. That’s because voting in a partisan primary no longer makes a candidate an independent, according to the rule that was first enforced in 2007 as the result of a 2005 Ohio Supreme Court decision.

There likely also was another problem with Monroe’s eligibility, Kale-Pesta said.

Monroe’s nominating petitions were eight short of the 176 valid signatures needed to get on the ballot, Kale-Pesta said.

In situations like that, the board will double-check petitions to see if eight signatures could be found to be validated, but that is moot because Monroe voted in the Democratic primary, she said.

A telephone number Monroe provided to the board of elections isn’t his. It is for a business with an employee telling The Vindicator on Tuesday that the office gets calls for Monroe even though he’s never worked there.

This is at least the third time Monroe has circulated petitions to run for city office and not been on the ballot.

In 2007, he was disqualified as a 4th Ward city council candidate because he didn’t have enough valid signatures. Two years later, he withdrew as a mayoral candidate before he could be disqualified because he lacked the amount of valid signatures needed on his nominating petitions. In 2009, Monroe ran as a write-in candidate and received only 34 votes.

Four independents — former Police Chief Jimmy Hughes, Frank Bellamy, John M. Crea and DeMaine Kitchen, the mayor’s chief of staff/secretary — and Democrat John McNally IV will face off for Youngstown mayor in the November general election.