Western Reserve Port Authority will be dissolved

VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) — The Western Reserve Port Authority is in disarray after a third board member resigned.

Now commissioners in both Mahoning and Trumbull counties said they have no choice but to dissolve the board in order to fix the problems there.

Jim Floyd, Western Reserve Port Authority board chairman, is the latest member to tender his resignation, effective May 21. He follows both Scott Lynn, who resigned two weeks ago, and Richard Schiraldi, who resigned last month, out the door.

“There have been some people on the board that have really been largely behind the resignations of the members who have resigned,” said Trumbull County Commissioner Paul Heltzel.

A couple of weeks ago, when commissioners first talked about dissolving the Port Authority, board member Don Hanni claimed to be the reason behind all the talk. Hanni said at the time that he would not resign.

Commissioners said they have been left with no alternative but to dissolve the board and form a new one.

“Time is of the essence so we have to act immediately so we have to see if another port would step in for everything to stay the same. We don’t want to jeopardize any outstanding money, any outstanding debt or the money we have sitting there,” said Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti.

The Port Authority acts as a conduit for economic development for the Valley when local governments can’t. With an unstable board, several million dollars worth of projects are either on hold or could be in jeopardy.

“It’s on the backs of both counties now to resolve this issue because I don’t know if they have enough board members to even have a quorum,” said Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti. “We don’t want outside businesses who may want to come in here to see a dysfunctional port authority and say ‘wait a minute. You guys got a problem here, you are not taking care of your own backyard, so we are not going to come in.’ So it’s imperative that we dissolve this board as fast as possible.”

Commissioners said they are working with prosecutors to dissolve the Port Authority, which could take about three weeks before there is any action. When the Port Authority is dissolved, all money and assets will be taken over by either Columbiana or Summit County’s port authority until a new board is in place.

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