The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

June 23, 2012

Timonere’s first 6 months in office

Ashtabula’s city manager spends a lot of time putting things in order for city government

ASHTABULA —  James Timonere is busy all the time.  

Juggling Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) meetings, moving offices upstairs in City Hall and going to meetings, meetings and more meetings, he’s stacking up a list of accomplishments achieved in the last six months as Ashtabula’s city manager.

Voters elected Timonere in November, and his first order of business was the 2012 budget.

“The 2012 budget was my immediate concern,” he said. “I spent Dec. 1 through Dec. 15 with all of the department heads.”

Once the budget was approved, Timonere said he believed he had the city headed in the right direction.

The city was being hammered regularly by the Ohio Department of Development concerning its Housing and Community Development Department. Timonere’s next step was to address these issues and reorganize the department, he said.

“I am extremely happy to report we are now doing things by the book,” he said. “Our relationship with ODOD has improved and the city is back into compliance with the ODOD.”

Although he received some criticism for his union contract negotiations, Timonere is happy with how it turned out. Some employees received raises, but they also are contributing to medical insurance costs for the first time.

“We brought everybody in at once; we involved the department heads,” he said. “It worked really well and leveled the playing field.”

His other accomplishments include:

• Getting to know his staff and holding monthly department head meetings;

• Moving offices to the second floor for a better working environment and the option to rent space in City Hall;

• Working to rebuild community relationships with neighboring businesses, townships and municipalities and;

• Job creation tax credit with ChromaFlo Technologies, which recently combined with Plasticolors. By keeping the plant in Ashtabula, 50 new jobs were created.

In the future, Timonere plans to bring more business to the JEDDs by reaching out to Ashtabula and Saybrook townships. He also wants to work with the Ashtabula Area City School District to improve education of the area’s young people and meet with other city leaders to “work together and open the channels of communication.”

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