Mayor suspends Youngstown legal director | News, Sports, Jobs

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YOUNGSTOWN – Legal Director Jeff Limbian, who has clashed with the city clerk over the timeline for delivering council legislation and admitted other communication issues, has been suspended for two weeks without pay by the Mayor Jamael Tito Brown.

Limbian, who also served as the city’s attorney, wrote in a letter Thursday to Brown, members of city council and Valencia City Clerk Marrow that he would no longer hold that post “and would focus (on) my duties as legal director “.

Limbian’s annual salary is $ 83,948, so a two-week suspension, which began on Thursday, will result in a loss of salary of $ 3,228.

In that letter, delivered on Friday, Limbian wrote: “It has been clear for some time that communications inside and outside the Legal Department have been less than what is necessary to ensure proper functioning and operation. service efficiency. The situation resulted in undue delays.

He added: “Such communication problems under my control resulted in an expression of unhappy anger on my part towards Valencia Marrow, city council clerk, and she did not deserve it. For this Valencia, I am very sorry.

Last Wednesday’s board meeting and a board finance committee meeting, scheduled two days earlier, were canceled last week by Marrow and board members when the Legal Department failed to provide copies of the legislation to his office within the requested time.

Marrow wrote in an email last week that the Legal Department said the legislation would be in their office no later than noon on November 10, as the next day was a statutory holiday, Veterans Day, and it didn’t was not working on November 12.

“It has been a constant struggle to get legislation in a timely manner so that the council has time to read and digest its legislation,” wrote Marrow.

Limbian said of the email: “It’s just childish.”

Last Monday, Limbian sent a letter to Marrow stating that his “poking anger and shifting the blame is unfortunate”.

He pointed out that council rules state that the deadline for legislation is Friday noon before a council meeting.

“Your justification for canceling the meeting is flawed and your concomitant rhetoric is misplaced,” Limbian wrote in the Monday letter to Marrow.

MAYOR’S RESPONSE

Brown sent a memo to city staff on Thursday stating that “from now on” any “pending legal matters of your services currently underway with the Limbian lawyer” should be forwarded to Lou D’Apolito or Daniel Dascenzo. , Deputy Legal Directors, until December 31. 2.

When asked to comment on the memo on Thursday, Brown called it “personal issues.” He’s taking a few weeks off. Brown said Limbian would be back in two weeks, and there was nothing more.

But Limbian’s letter tells a different story.

Limbian wrote: “There must, of course, be an acceptance of responsibility for such actions. I recognize the need to have consequences and I accept your directive, Mayor, of a two week suspension without pay and that I will no longer serve as the city attorney and that I will focus (on) my duties as legal council.

There is no record of a letter Brown sent to Limbian about the suspension, according to the Legal Department. It is presumed to have been done verbally.

In his letter, Limbian apologized to Brown, the city council and the administration “for putting you all in such a difficult position.” Steps have been taken to ensure that such difficulties do not recur in the future.

There has been turnover in the legal department over the past two years, particularly in the past few months. Limbian had previously said that the low salaries offered to people working in the legal department contributed to this problem.

In an effort to bring stability to the office, Limbian recently hired D’Apolito, a former Mahoning County Common Plea Judge, and Dascenzo, a former court magistrate who worked for the Legal Department.

In its letter, Limbian wrote: “I can assure you that the legal department will be well staffed and well placed to meet the needs of the mayor, city council, clerk of courts and all government departments.

Limbian has been a longtime friend of Brown and has actively campaigned for him since his unsuccessful run for mayor in 2013.

After winning the mayoral race in 2017, Brown announced he was hiring Limbian as legal director.

But there have been tensions between Limbian and members of the city council.

During the board meetings, there were verbal clashes between Limbian and the members, with some wanting to hire their own lawyer rather than using the General Counsel.

Additionally, after a charter amendment passed in November 2020 that allowed the CFO and General Counsel to have their salaries determined by city council, Brown sought to increase those salaries by 15% each.

There was strong council resistance to a 15 percent increase for Limbian, so Brown lowered his request to 3 percent. At a February 1 board finance committee meeting, it became clear that the votes for this increase were not there, and Brown removed the legislation from the agenda for the board meeting on February 3. February.

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