LOWELLVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – At a special meeting on Thursday, Lowellville Village Council created an interim police chief position after the former chief suddenly resigned on Friday.
Mayor James Iudiciani Sr. now can begin looking at candidates to replace Ryan Bonacci, who has been off the job since emailing the mayor his resignation letter. Iudiciani said Bonacci’s resignation took him by surprise.
He said he could only guess why Bonacci left the village to work as manager of protective services at Mercy Health.
“I am assuming the pay is a little better than it is here. His email came last Friday afternoon/evening and it said he resigned to take a job at Mercy Health Systems,” Iudiciani said.
When asked to clear up rumors circulating around the village that he also planned to resign because of corruption in the mayor’s office, Iudiciani denied it.
“No. No. Why would I? There is no corruption in our office,” he said.
With the new legislation, the current mayor chooses who he thinks will be a good fit for the interim position. That person will begin working part-time after they are approved by council.
Council members believe this interim position will last about six months or until the beginning of the year.
“There is a mayor’s race that is coming up this year, so maybe in January, a new mayor, or maybe if is the same mayor, will want to appoint their own chief, naturally,” Lowellville Village Council President Robert Coppola said.
Right now, two police captains are taking on many of the responsibilities the chief had. The mayor could choose a candidate within the next few days, but he said Council is taking its time on choosing someone permanent.
“We don’t want to rush into it. It could be a month or two, or maybe even longer. I may even ask council. Maybe they will want the next mayor. No one has filed to run for mayor yet and the deadline is in August, so we will see what happens,” Iudiciani said.
Sources within the police department said that since the former chief resigned last week, morale in the department has been affected and they have had to work longer hours.