Former commissioner seeks port seat

LISBON – Former county commissioner John Wargo is among those who have formally asked to be considered for appointment to a vacancy on the Columbiana County Port Authority board.

Although the issue did not come up at last week’s board of commissioners meeting, the Journal learned afterwards that Wargo had sent his resume to each of them, along with a cover letter asking to be considered for the position.

The seat on the five-member port authority has been vacant since Jan. 1 after the four-year term of Rob Johnson expired. Rather than reappoint Johnson, the son of the county Democratic Party chairman, the three Republican commissioners indicated they wanted to consider other candidates.

The position pays $7,020 a year and comes with health insurance benefits.

When asked if they had received applications from anyone else, commissioners said they have run into people on the street and talked with others on the phone who have expressed an interest in being considered for the appointment.

As for formal applications such as Wargo’s, Commissioner Tim Weigle said he received one from Madison Township Trustee Glenn Smith.

Commissioner Mike Halleck said he has received applications from Wellsville attorney Nick Amato and former investment banker Greg Ewing of the Rogers area.

Halleck said he had asked Ewing to consider applying for the appointment because his finance background would prove a valuable asset to the port authority.

“It’s fair to say we’ve reached out to some people,” said Halleck, who last month stated commissioners were interested in candidates “with experience beyond political experience.”

As for when commissioners might act, Halleck said, “Speaking as one commissioner, I think this is going to be wrapped up pretty soon.”