Mucci manages again

STEUBENVILLE – The first order of business Wednesday for Mayor and Acting City Manager Domenick Mucci was coffee, doughnuts and a conversation with city department heads.

Today Mucci is set to sit down with a representative of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla and City Police Chief Bill McCafferty, as well as staff members from the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

“This will be a roundtable discussion and collaboration effort to discuss recent criminal activities in the city and how we can stop crime effectively. We will be talking about those issues and how we can work together,” Mucci said.

“I continue to have the full faith and confidence in the Steubenville Police Department and I hope to build on that,” he added. “The safety and security of our community and our residents is a top priority.”

Mucci assumed the acting city manager duties Wednesday morning after former City Manager Cathy Davison submitted her resignation to City Council Tuesday night.

“After months of trying to move the city forward, it has become apparent that City Council and I do not have the same vision for the city of Steubenville,” Davison announced in a prepared statement released Tuesday night following the City Council meeting.

City Law Director S. Gary Repella said City Council will start the search process for a new city manager in the next week or two.

Mucci said Wednesday this is the fourth time he has served as acting city manager, “and I am confident I can handle the duties without any problems.”

He said he has been working late hours as he moves from a ceremonial mayor to acting city manager of the community of 18,000 residents.

“We have a very dedicated, qualified and professional group of department heads. I know I can get an immediate response to any questions I may have or at least an understanding of city issues. I look forward to working on the challenges the city is facing,” Mucci said.

“I also believe we need to develop a strategy or blueprint for our future. We will need to build a consensus of our citizens to achieve our goals and to move forward. I will be listening to suggestions and ideas from our department heads, our city employees and our citizens. I will listen and take all ideas under consideration,” Mucci stressed.

The city charter calls for Mucci to receive the same $90,000 annual salary Davison was paid as city manager.

“I will be giving back to the community in some fashion. When I receive my first check as acting city manager I will make a $500 donation to the Save Our Pool fund to help open the Belleview Pool this summer. I will be giving back a substantial portion of my acting city manager salary every month,” Mucci remarked.

“I know we can resolve our issues because of our department heads, our outstanding city employees and our citizens. My top priority at this point is reviewing and fully understanding the 2013 city budget and making appropriate adjustments where necessary. I am also preparing to start working on the 2014 city budget and have already been meeting with the Finance Director Alyssa Kerker. Addressing the city budget will be the number one priority. It will be a difficult task, and contract negotiations with the city unions will be the key,” said Mucci.

“I will maintain a transparent, open and honest administration as we move forward. We are now in the middle of contract negotiations with the police department. Another session is scheduled for Monday and I will be in attendance at those contract talks,” Mucci promised.

Davison also had been managing the city recreation department since former Recreation Director Troy Kirkendall resigned in December.

“I have asked Street, Sanitation and Electrical Department Superintendent Bob Baird to now supervise the recreation department employees. I will also stay involved in the recreation department and will coordinate the monthly meetings with recreation board President Sandi Rue,” Mucci said.

Mucci said he is capable of serving as acting city manager and continuing to work as director of the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission.

“I have always held at least two jobs during my adult life. The community is accustomed to me attending many community events, but I may have to alter my schedule because of the job commitments. But I am fully prepared to continue fulfilling my obligations and duties,” Mucci stated.

He also is running for re-election in the mayor’s race and faces Republican and independent candidates in November.

“The re-election is not important at this point. My job is to manage the city and help us move forward. That is what I am concerned with at this point in time,” he remarked.

Mucci also said collaboration with Jefferson County officials will be important and his role as acting city manager will benefit those efforts.

“I work with the county as the head of the Regional Planning Commission. And I was directly involved in the collaborative efforts that saw the city agree to treat sewage from Pottery Addition as well as the agreement to form the Jefferson County Port Authority,” Mucci explained.