The Poland Township Board of Trustees bid farewell to a longtime colleague at the Dec. 13 meeting at the township government center.
Board Chairman Robert Lidle, Trustee Mark Naples and township administrator Jim Scharville, as well as Poland Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Zorn and a small crowd of family and friends gave their best wishes to Annette Jeswald-DiVito, who attended her final meeting as a trustee. DiVito, who has served as a township trustee since 1999, lost her bid for re-election during this past November election to Eric Ungaro. He was among the well-wishers offering her congratulations on her years of service to Poland Township.
Lidle called it a sad day, saying that he has known DiVito since childhood and that they graduated from school together. He jokingly "blamed" her for his being a township trustee, first suggesting the idea to him, and listed her accomplishments during her 12 years on the board, including various park renovations and road projects, for initiating the Poland Township Police K-9 and youth diversion programs.
"Poland Township is a far better place for her being here," he said.
Naples commended DiVito for all she's done for the township and for never having an agenda in her job. He agreed with Lidle's contention that DiVito has also served as a mediator during the sometimes-heated disputes that have arisen on the board over the years.
"She kept me and Bob from killing each other, there's no doubt about it," he said.
A plaque was then presented to DiVito commemorating her service to Poland Township.
An emotional DiVito said that she enjoyed her time on the board and will miss the job and the people served with, but foresees future involvement with the township somewhere down the road.
"I guess I'm not big on speeches, but I had a really good time," she said.
Donald Somers from the Mahoning County Board of Health addressed the board on a letter he received from Jim Petuch at the Mahoning County Solid Waste Management District-Green Team, which stated that funding cuts should be expected. He explained that the Health Department receives funding from the Solid Waste Management District to carry out inspections at the nearby Carbon Limestone Landfill and water testing in Poland Township.
Somers cited "a real concerted effort by the Solid Waste Management District to cut the funding of the Health Department" from Petuch's letter. He said that, combined with cuts in state funding, the Board of Health could not sustain any further reductions without affecting the existing testing program.
"We do not feel this is acceptable," he said.
Somers said that he isn't seeking increased funding, but emphasized the need to not cut any further and, hoped that trustees could address their concerns to county commissioners.
Naples said that he would not want to see the Board of Health eliminate any of its water testing, especially considering the current drilling associated with natural gas and oil exploration of the Marcellus Shale in the area.
Mike Heher, Poland Park Board chairman and manager of the Carbon Limestone Landfill, complimented the Board of Health's water testing program and acknowledged that testing has already been dialed back from five times per week to two or three per week. He confirmed that funding reductions are coming, but that Petuch wouldn't have any potential cuts sorted until February and they probably won't be as large as Somers fears.
"I think it's very premature to get things stirred," Heher said.
Tom Monus made his first appearance on the board as acting road superintendent during the meeting. Previous superintendent Joe Juillerat was suspended for 15 work days without pay on Nov. 22 for conducting personal business on township time, personal use of township property and failure to properly supervise fellow employees, plus a $500 fine. He will not return as superintendent as he has officially retired from the Poland Township Road Department. Also suspended for 15 days without pay were Road Department employees Steve Cramer, for unauthorized disposal of township property and failure to properly supervise fellow employees; and Darren Goodin, for personal use of township property. Both also received a $500 fine.
In other business:
* Scharville said that Christmas tree a recycling would be available again this year from Dec. 26 through Jan. 31 at the township's recycling center, 7508 Clingan Road.
* Dick Wade, who lives at the corner of Lee Run Road and Jennifer Drive, presented a petition for new street lighting on Jennifer Drive, at each intersection between Lee Run and North Lima Road. Scharville replied that the next step would be a public hearing, for residents of Jennifer and the general public, at a future date.