Columbiana Port Authority Names Ksiazek Interim CEO

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – The Columbiana County Port Authority Monday named Diane Ksiazek, manager of administration and finance, interim executive director for a minimum of six months.

Ksiazek will be paid an additional $4,290.69 per month in addition to the $6,218.39 per month ($74,620.67 annually) as manager of administration and finance, that is, $10,509.08 per month for the next six months, or $126,108.95 annualized.

The board first extended her contract as manager of administration one year with a 3% raise, that contract automatically renewable under the current terms unless either Ksiazek or the board provides the other with three months’ notice of intent to not renew.

The contract, retroactive to Aug. 19, runs through Aug. 18, 2016.

The members of the board were unanimous and effusive in their praise of Ksiazek and her performance as manager of administration and filling in as chief executive since the departure of Tracy Drake last month as CEO.

Charles Presley, chairman of the board, noted, “She has been filling, unofficially, that spot [chief executive]. It was a natural to go to Diane.”

As for a full-time permanent chief executive, Presley iterated what he said at last month’s meeting, that the board would conduct a national search. “We’re not pinpointing a search time,” he said, and while the search might take less than six months, Ksiazek’s contract calls for her to be “an interim executive director for a minimum period of six months, subject to extension by mutual agreement.”

Thus it would appear the board intends to conduct a methodical and deliberate search that could extend well into 2016. Presley again made the point about the talent, knowledge and experience he says the board possesses, mitigating any sense of urgency to find a permanent successor to Drake.

Because 1st National Community Bank, based here, has been acquired by Farmers National Bank of Canfield – the port authority used both as depository banks – Ksiazek recommended the port authority establish depository relationships with Westfield Bank, based west of Akron in Westfield Center, and Consumers National Bank, based in Minerva. Westfield, founded in 2001, just passed $1 billion in assets last summer.

The port authority will continue its relationships with PNC Bank, Huntington Bank and Farmers Bank, she said.

The fiscal officer of the port authority, Penny Traina, reported the results of the audit for years 2013 and 2014, the state auditor’s office giving the economic development agency “a clean audit” with “no recommendations” on how to improve its operations or make them more transparent.

The results of the audit are online at the state auditor’s website, Traina noted.

She also reported that the port authority will likely join the U.A.N., or uniform accounting network, overseen by the office of auditor of state.

One change the port authority would first have to make is reporting its assets at market value instead of accrued value but Traina sees no reason not to do so.

Since becoming fiscal officer, Traina has, at every board meeting, provided the press with the previous month’s checkbook register that lists each payment and each deposit made.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.