WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Members of the Trumbull County Democratic Party named 5th Ward Councilman Vince Flask the new Warren auditor to replace Anthony Natale, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge about two weeks ago.
Natale was charged with conveying false information related to the use of a weapon of mass destruction. Prosecutors said he mailed white powder to his former employee after being fired. His guilty plea prevented him from holding public office.
Along with Flask, Councilman Eddie Colbert and Valdeoso Patterson also ran. Interim Auditor Nancy Ruggieri, who served as the city’s long-time deputy auditor and temporarily took Natale’s place last week, did not run.
Each of the candidates had three minutes to explain to the voters why they should be selected.
“There will be no other greater responsibility to me than keeping our city government transparent and accountable to you, the taxpayers,” Flask said.
Colbert said the new auditor needs to know the budget.
“It is in the best interest of the city to have someone who knows this budget well, to step in midstream to an office that obviously, it is going through a storm right now.”
Patterson stressed that a team of knowledgeable people has to come together.
Twenty-five of the precinct’s 38 members took a vote. In order for a candidate to get the position, they had to receive a majority of the votes.
When a majority of the vote was not reached after the first ballot, the party moved to cast a second ballot with the two candidates that got the highest counts: Flask and Patterson.
In the end, Flask won with 15 of the 25 total votes. He thinks the transition will be smooth, citing interim Auditor Nancy Ruggieri’s handling of the office.
“It’s been a trying time for the entire city. We’re glad this process is over and look forward to moving forward,” he said.
Flask will be auditor until the general election in November 2017.
“I’m sure he’ll do a good job as the next auditor for the City of Warren. He knows the people of the city, works well with the staff. Wish him the best,” said Trumbull County Commissioner Dan Polivka.
Another vote will have to take place in the coming weeks to replace Flask on city council.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to show that Patterson was the other person with the highest vote count.