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Sweeping changes at planning commission with addition of three workers

By Ed Runyan

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

By Ed Runyan


After more than a year of uncertainty, the Trumbull County Planning Commission carried out sweeping changes Tuesday with the appointment of Julie Green as interim executive director and Mitzi Sabella as administrative assistant.

Green and Sabella have been working directly under the county commissioners in recent years, focused on grant writing. They both worked in the past for the planning commission. Green’s salary is $79,303. Sabella makes $51,222.

Planning commission member Darlene St. George, who is Howland Township administrator, said the board voted unanimously to add Green and Sabella in order to allow the commission to “move forward.”

Assistant director Nick Coggins has “done a yeoman’s job, doing everything and anything asked of him, but he couldn’t do it all,” St. George said. Coggins makes $67,428.

The commission carries out a variety of tasks related to township zoning and land use, flood plains, municipal and township comprehensive plans, economic development, housing and mapping. It is overseen by a board of eight volunteers and the three county commissioners.

The planning commission dropped from nine employees three years ago to just Coggins in June. One of those reductions was because the previous director, Trish Nuskievicz, has been off on sick leave more than a year, starting in July 2018. Last month, she said her return to work might be Oct. 17. Nuskievicz, who is on upaid leave, earned $84,866.

St. George and Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said Nuskievicz’s future with the planning commission is unclear. “The board will have to deal with that in October,” St. George said.

Green and Sabella also will continue to carry out grant work while handling their new duties with the planning commission, Commissioner Frank Fuda said. The move is expected to save the county money, Fuda said. But since it’s unclear whether Nuskievicz is returning, it’s unclear whether there will be another salary added for her.

St. George said the planning commission hopes Nuskievicz gets better, but the commission has gotten new date after new date for her return. “We couldn’t just continue to do nothing. It’s not fair to the taxpayers,” she said of leaving the planning commission without enough workers.

The commission also on Tuesday hired T.J. Keiran as environmental coordinator and floodplain administrator. In his position, he also will handle mapping, Coggins said. He began his job Tuesday, bringing the staffing to four people. Keiran earns $55,970.