Boccieri Takes House Seat, Leaves Port Authority

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mahoning County commissioners again are faced with the task of finding an appointee to fill an opening on the Western Reserve Port Authority’s board of directors, following John Boccieri’s resignation.

Boccieri, who was named to fill the vacant 59th district seat in the Ohio House of Representatives, submitted his resignation Wednesday from the port authority’s board to its chairman, Ron Klingle. According to the letter, which was sent to the port authority’s executive director, John Moliterno, and Mahoning County Commissioners Anthony Traficanti, Carol Rimedio-Righetti and David Ditzler, Boccieri’s resignation was effective 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Boccieri, of Poland, was sworn in yesterday to fill the House seat vacated by former state Rep. Ron Gerberry of Austintown, who stepped down in the wake of an ethics investigation.

“I regret not having the chance to complete the good work we’ve started at the port,” Boccieri said in an email last night.  “However, in my new role, I’m in a position where I can affect greater change for our region and keep the regional airport on a strong and stable vector.”

In his letter to Klingle, Boccieri said that following discussions with the Joint Legislative Ethics Commission, staff counsel suggested it was “entirely inconsistent” for him to remain on the port authority board “both constitutionally and through the Ohio Revised Code.”

Boccieri, a former U.S. congressman who also served in the Ohio House and Senate, was appointed to the WRPA board last December, following several months of tumult among board members.

There remains “much unfinished business” with the port authority, from bringing daily scheduled service to Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport to modernizing its infrastructure to providing resources to small business utilizing WRPA’s bonding authority, he said.

“However, the biggest accomplishment we made over the last nine months was putting an end to the public disagreements between board members,” he continued. “That in itself sets a stronger tone for the WRPA as an entity that truly can be taken seriously to help move projects to completion. I hope my successor follows that same belief.”

Klingle, interviewed by phone last night, said Boccieri brought “so much insight” to the board, particularly with regard to activities at the Youngstown air Reserve Station, which shares facilities with the regional airport. Boccieri, a pilot, is commander of the 757th Airlift Squadron at YARS.

“He is absolutely a very, very capable person and I was glad to have an opportunity to work with him,” Klingle said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.