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Transit administrator still driving county office | News, Sports, Jobs

Trumbull County Transit Administrator Michael Salamone, center, and Trumbull County Commissioner Niki Frenchko, right, exchange words after last week’s transit meeting, as Liberty Trustee Arnie Clebone, right, looks on.

WARREN — A motion by Trumbull County Commissioner Niki Frenchko to fire county transit administrator Mike Salamone died for lack of a second at Wednesday’s board of commissioners meeting.

When Commissioner Frank Fuda asked Frenchko why she wanted to fire Salamone, she suggested the matter to be discussed in an executive session. No explanation or reason was given on the agenda.

The three-member board, which also includes Mauro Cantalamessa, did not go behind closed doors Wednesday — but discussed having an executive session at the March 16 meeting.

Salamone on Friday filed a complaint with the Niles Police Department accusing Frenchko of throwing water on him after last Thursday’s transit meeting at the Trumbull County Educational Service Center.

Salamone in the report accused Frenchko of following and shouting at him after the meeting, saying: “Nobody wants you here, go back to Michigan, you won’t be here next year.”

Salamone told police he said to Frenchko, “Life’s ab–, and then you die.”

Then, his report states, Frenchko accused him of threatening her, and threw water on him and Liberty Township Trustee Arnie Clebone and Western Reserve Transit Authority Executive Director Dean Harris, who were witnesses to the exchange.

Messages left seeking comment from Clebone and Harris were not returned.

Frenchko started recording on her cellphone and followed them to the parking lot, the report adds.

Building surveillance video that was shot inside the public building where the meeting was held, which was obtained by the Tribune Chronicle shows Frenchko spraying the men with water from behind as they walked through a hallway. The meeting was held inside the conference room at the Trumbull County Educational Service Center in Niles. The video has no audio.

On Monday, Frenchko filed her own report with Niles police about the incident. The narrative of that report, which accuses Salamone of threatening, states Frenchko said Salamone made a threat to her after a meeting.

Frenchko on Wednesday said Salamone’s report was “inaccurate and incorrect.

“I had a man scream the b-word at me and ‘die,’ and it was completely unsettling,” Frenchko said.

She provided a copy of a letter, dated March 6, that she sent to the Trumbull County Human Resources department to be placed in Salamone’s file. The letter claims Salamone took over rescheduling a meeting Frenchko had set up, which Frenchko wrote was “publicly disrespectful,” and “insubordinate.”

Her letter goes on to describe the events following the transit meeting from Frenchko’s perspective, claiming Salamone was disrespectful to her but not to the men in the room.

“I told him how the disparity in how he treats me as opposed to the other commissioners was evident, and he was never to interrupt me or be disrespectful again,” the letter reads. “… This was being said as we were exiting the room to go to the hallway. At some point, Mike snapped and turned to me and screamed the words (expletive) and ‘die.”

Niles police requested video surveillance from TCESC, according to Salamone’s police report.

Salamone, who said he listened to the commissioners’ Wednesday meeting on the phone, said he had no comment regarding the police report nor the failed agenda item to fire him.

No charges had been filed against either party as of Wednesday afternoon.

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