I have interviewed the major candidates for the city of Youngstown. It's up to the people living in the city to hire a CEO for the next four years to run a 189-million-dollar enterprise. This is big job, one not to be taken lightly.
I have talked with write in candidate Amber White, current Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, Republican Tracy Winbush and finally independent Richard Hill.
Today was a surprise when I met Richard Hill, a former democrat, a slight, softspoken man in his mid 40's, Sharply dressed in a dark blue suit and matching tie.
I learned Hill attended Cardinal Mooney, played on the tennis team, went on to star at YSU, winning a few Horizon league titles and then continuing as a coach.
Hill has worked in the clerk of courts office for Sarah Brown Clarke for nearly 20 years. He earned his master's degree in Public administration from the University of Akron.
Hill is not prone to hyperbole, but a measured speaker who told me attention to detail would be his model in office. The hard work of meetings and holding department heads accountable would be the order of the day in a Hill administration.
He agreed that 19 million dollars might not be enough for the police force, because security is imperative. Covid money can now be used for safety forces and Youngstown needs more police. Hill would use the economy of scale in the Fire Department to provide a city ambulance service.
He stated an after-school program based in the neighborhoods would be a worthy project using a model constructed in St. Cloud Minnesota. Regarding our children, Youngstown is number two in the nation for childhood poverty, and woefully behind in literacy.
Hill said the appearance of the city needs attention and many of the problem areas are on public property with weeds, old fences, and garbage prevalent. He said he would hold department heads accountable for the goals of the city. For example, many streetlights are out in the city, why is that when the city pays First Energy a flat rate for electricity?
He made the point that national narratives have little to do with Youngstown. We do not have a racist police department; the force is diversified and needs to have special operations teams restored.
Finally, Hill made the point that 80 percent of the payroll tax the city takes in comes from people who do not live in the city. If you consider that fact alone, one realizes suburbanites have a true interest in the race for Mayor. Richard Hill is the most prepared candidate I have seen in years.