Search begins to fill vacant seat in the Mahoning County Probate - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Search begins to fill vacant seat in the Mahoning County Probate Court

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BOARDMAN, Ohio - The search for a replacement Mahoning County Probate Judge begins Monday after the embattled Mark Belinky resigned from the judgeship Friday amid a state investigation.

Two candidates already interested in filling his position: attorneys Susan Maruca and Chris Sammarone.

Both Democrats are running in the primary election, but as the Republican Party chairman Mark Munroe begins the process of vetting candidates, he makes it clear the selection will not be based on the person's political party.

"This process is to make a recommendation to the Governor," Munroe says. "It is not a political process. It's simply about encouraging qualified attorneys, who meet qualifications to serve as judge of to come forward and file their applications so this Valley has the best opportunity to get the most qualified individual appointed as Mahoning Probate Judge."

Munroe says attorneys interested in filing Belinky's unexpired term, which ends February 2015,  will be required to fill out a Judicial Candidate Qualification Questionnaire,. The questionnaire contains over 50 questions. They must also file a statement of truthfulness and pass a background check.

Interested persons who would like that appointment can stop by the Republican Party Headquarters during hours that will be announced on Monday, or contact the Republican Party chairman Mark Munroe and request to have the questionnaire sent by e-mail.

Munroe says he will open that process up for 10 to 15 days. Munroe will form a screening committee which will interview applicants.

Munroe says the screening committee will select the names of three well-qualified individuals for consideration to be appointed as the Mahoning Probate Judge.

The Republican Party  chair calls the recent resignation of Belinky and the investigation into him gives the region another black eye. He cited the indictments, resignation, and jail time over a decade ago for almost 80 individuals in positions of power with titles including a congressman,sheriff, prosecutor, law director, judge and attorney.

He emphasizes integrity does matter. Governor John Kasich's office says it generally takes a few weeks to one month to make a decision once they receive the list.

 

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