Commissioners expected to fill seats on Port Authority

LISBON – When Columbiana County commissioners meet this week they are expected to fill two vacancies on the county Port Authority board.

One of the vacancies is the result of Tim Weigle being elected commissioner in the November general election. Weigle, who had served on the Port Authority since mid-2011, already resigned from the board.

The other seat up on the five-member board is held by long-time Port Authority member Steven Cooper, who has asked to be reappointed.

Other applicants for the two seats are former commissioner Penny Traina, retiring Columbiana City Manager Keith Chamberlin, and John Wargo, a former commissioner and state representative.

Commissioner Chairman Mike Halleck said they may act on the appointments at Monday’s annual reorganizational meeting if they are allowed to also consider routine business. If not, the appointments will likely occur at their regular meeting on Wednesday.

Cooper, who currently serves as board president and fiscal officer, said in his letter asking to be reappointed that he probably spends four hours a week on Port Authority business. He said that during his time on the board, Port Authority assets have grown from $5 million to $35 million and that projects in which the Port Authority has been involved have resulted in the creation of 1,100 jobs.

“The last four years have proven to be very full. There is much work remaining on the Wellsville Intermodal with Cimbar, Marathon, Hilcorp and Consol, and the new rail siding. Additional projects including sale of the railroad is close, as is the re-emergence of the fuel project on the hill (aka BAARD). The future holds great promise for new jobs in Columbiana County. I wish to continue to be part of this positive direction in the years to come,” he wrote.

Chamberlin, in his letter to commissioners, cited his extensive background as a civil engineer, township trustee and city manager. “I believe with my background and experience that I would be a real asset to the board. These are exciting times in Columbiana County, and I would very much like to be part of it,” he said.

Wargo submitted his political resume, with a sticky note attached asking to be considered for one of the appointments.

In her letter to commissioners, Traina said she understands the importance of the Port Authority and believes she brings “a wealth of experience to the board, especially in finance and economic development. I also know the importance of keeping the board of commissioners apprised of any future endeavors concerning economic development in Columbiana County.”

The positions pay $7,200, and health insurance coverage is also available.

In related news, Weigle has also resigned from his position as a Unity Township trustee and from his job as branch manager with Ohio Caterpillar in Youngstown. Weigle said he did this to devote all of his energy to his new job as commissioner.