Powers the pick in EP

EAST PALESTINE – In a move that was expected, Village Council this week hired David Powers to replace Solicitor Shirley Smith.

Powers was interviewed for the position last week and given a one-year contract on Monday. He was the only village resident who applied and will be making the same amount as Smith, which was also the same salary former solicitor Brad Allison was making more than 10 years ago, Finance Director Traci Thompson said.

Allison was hired in the early 1990s and worked until Smith was hired three years ago.

Powers currently works for Stacey and Powers Co. in Columbiana and will take over as solicitor next month. He will earn $15,600 a year and $65 an hour for any additional services, according to the contract.

Like Smith, he will be paid every two weeks and is required to attend all council meetings, including special meetings, and board or commission meetings.

The solicitor is also required to meet with the Village Manager on a regular basis and spend up to five hours a month consulting with village officials regarding their job performance.

Village Manager Pete Monteleone negotiated with Powers on the contract after the interview process.

“He agreed to keep the contract the same as it was,” Monteleone said in a written report to council.

Councilman Fran Figley, who was the only one who opposed hiring Powers last week, was not at the Monday meeting. The five remaining council members approved the hiring.

In other business, Mayor Margo Zuch administered the oath of office to Zach Gorby, who is filling the first ever reserve police officer position.

The reserve unit was created this summer upon Monteleone and Chief Kevin Dickey’s suggestion and council approval. The department has never before had a reserve unit, although it does have a paid auxiliary force. Members of the reserve unit will not be paid.

Dickey said the program is intended to recruit local people who are interested in police work and considering it as a career.

While the program is about recruiting and retaining local talent reserve officers do not have to be village residents. They do have to be at least 18 years old, meet the department’s physical standards, pass pre-employment drug testing and a background investigation and must be a high school graduate or have their GED.

Officers will participate in all required reserve police events and accompany regular officers on routine patrol as directed by the chief.

“This is a significant milestone for the department,” Dickey said of Gorby’s initiation into the program.

He said Gorby expressed an interest in the unit shortly after it was created and began riding with officers primarily on weekends to get acquainted with their line of work.

The officers were impressed with him and recommended him for the position, he added.

Gorby is currently an East Palestine volunteer firefighter and part-time street department employee.

“I’m really proud Zach is our pioneer,” Monteleone said.