Western Reserve Port Authority Executive Director Rose Ann DeLeon should do the right thing and resign.
Port Authority members voted 5-3 last week to offer DeLeon a six-month salary at a 50 percent pay cut. She has been on the job for three years during which local leaders, including those on the Port Authority, have become embroiled in controversy over whether to keep the unsuccessful economic development worker. Several members, saying she has not lived up to their expectations, do not want her contract renewed.
Under these circumstances it appears impossible for an economic development director to succeed.
The purpose of the job, at least in the eyes of those who funded it for three years, is to attract employers to Trumbull and Mahoning counties. The problem now is that corporate site selectors are not going to be attracted by an economic development official who has been a dividing force within the region. Her performance has been the source of sometimes terse comments between commissioners in both counties, Port Authority members and others who disagree on whether she should continue to hold the job.
One failing is that DeLeon chose to not reside in the Mahoning Valley. She lives west of Cleveland, more than an hour away. It's going to be pretty difficult for DeLeon to convince an employer to commit to the Mahoning Valley when she herself hasn't done so even after three years.
It's highly unlikely that after three years of unsatisfying results that something is going to suddenly change in just six months.
Officially, the Port Authority offered DeLeon a six-month contract, but what they really did was offer her a six-month severance package. With the salary and benefits guaranteed, Port Authority members shouldn't expect much more than job hunting from DeLeon.
DeLeon is paid $155,000 plus benefits and expenses a year. She is the highest paid public employee in the region. The money comes from contributions made by commissioners in both counties, the cities of Niles, Warren and Youngstown, Howland Township and the building and trades council. None of those contributors offered to renew their contributions.
The proposed contract cuts the salary to $47,500 ($95,000 annualized) with incentives that could restore it to $155,000. DeLeon has not yet accepted.
She should not.