Government

Brown Vows to Serve as ‘Mayor for Everyone’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said he expects to begin naming members of his cabinet as soon as this week, beginning with the law director and city prosecutor.

Interviews have been completed with candidates for both posts “and you’ll probably see that come out this week,” Brown said following his swearing-in ceremony Saturday afternoon.

The new mayor said he expects to name appointees to fill posts over the next 30 days, with jobs that receive fewer applicants such as water commissioner probably being filled earlier than posts such as police chief, fire chief and parks and recreation director that received more applicants.

“I may do one a week or two a week, whenever the transition team is done,” he said.

He also plans to conduct a national search for a finance director, following the resignation of longtime Finance Director David Bozanich, although he did not provide a timetable. No one applied for the position.

The department’s deputy director, Kyle Miasek, will serve as interim finance director, and Brown plans to enlist an “executive on loan” to help look at the city’s books.

“What I want them to do is look at it from top to bottom,” he said. He also has been in discussion with the state auditor’s office, he reported.

Brown was sworn into office during a public ceremony at New Bethel Baptist Church. Also taking their oaths of office during the event were DeMaine Kitchen as the new president of City Council and Sarah Brown Clark, who was re-elected as clerk of courts.

The city’s newest municipal court judge, Carla J. Baldwin, administered the oaths to the three officials, all of whom are Democrats.

During his remarks, Brown thanked his supporters, and pledged to work for the citizens of Youngstown and be “a mayor for everyone.” He also called for a collaborative effort to address the issues facing the city, including poverty, racism, infant mortality and social injustice.

“We must come together and work on issues that may not be our fault, but it is our responsibility – for our kids, for our grandkids and for the next generation,” he said.

Brown emphasized that the city needs leaders who care about the people rather than personal interests. “We can’t have leaders who exploit the poor, prey on the weak and manipulate those who are less fortunate.”

Like Brown, Kitchen and Brown Clark thanked their supporters.

“We dedicate this day to this community because the force that swept through this community was you,” Kitchen said. “We stirred up the winds of change and it’s because of you that there’s a new day beginning in Youngstown.”

The clerk of courts recalled her first election in 1999. She won “because you came out and voted, and because people believed us when we said we can do that job and we will do it well,” she said.

“I am proud to say that in November of 2017 you believed me again.”

Supporters who turned out for the ceremony are optimistic about the future.

Attorney David Betras, chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party, said he looks forward to helping the officeholders in any way he can with the challenges facing the city. “We’ve really got to tackle those problems for the citizens of Youngstown,” he said.

Brown is “a great leader” and will “take off running,” Cristina Esparra of Youngstown said. She hopes the new administration would be “true to their values, true to their worlds and represent the people in the community” as they said they would.

“It’s a great opportunity for the city,” Thomas Tubbs, another city resident, said. “They have a challenge ahead of them but I know they can do it.”

Delmas Stubbs, veteran outreach coordinator for the Mahoning County Veterans Service Commission, who led the Pledge of Allegiance during the ceremony, said he looks forward to working with Baldwin, who replaces retired Judge Robert Milich in the veterans treatment court.

“It’s going to be a change. I guess the best is yet to come,” he said of the incoming officeholders. “It wasn’t about an individual. It was about the people, and the people spoke up.”

Pictured above: Jamael Tito Brown delivers remarks Dec. 30 following his public swearing in as the city’s next mayor.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.