Balakos pleads responsible Information, sports activities, jobs
STEUBENVILLE — A former Jefferson County well being commissioner agreed Friday to not run for workplace for a minimum of three years after pleading responsible in Frequent Pleas Court docket to a misdemeanor depend of unlawfully benefiting from a public contract.
Defendant Nicole Balakos advised Decide Joseph Bruzzese she needed to place the matter behind her.
“This has been a traumatic 4 years for me, my household and everybody who has supported me.” She mentioned. “And I’m glad I’ve the choice to go away this chapter behind me.”
Balakos, who was initially charged in March with felony illegal profiteering, “I apologize for every thing that occurred.”
“If I had recognized, I might not have stop the job I needed to take.” She advised Bruzzese as about 40 members of the family and buddies crowded into the gallery — together with county commissioners, enterprise leaders and former board members — wanting on.
“They requested me to do it as a result of there have been no different candidates and I assumed I used to be doing the fitting factor.” She mentioned.
She added, “You definitely weren’t aspiring to do something incorrect.”
“I assumed I used to be doing the fitting factor.” She mentioned. “I had a job that nobody else may do on the time. I did not know, however that is no excuse. I take duty for that.”
Balakos, then a member of the Jefferson County Board of Well being, accepted the commissioner job in 2019 after the Board of Well being was unable to discover a appropriate candidate prepared to take it on. Her employment was abruptly terminated in September 2020.
Assistant Ohio Legal professional Basic Micah Ault argued that Balakos was a member of the board “I participated within the course of of making (the contract) and I participated in creating the phrases of the contract.” It occurred when she grew to become well being commissioner.
“I feel lots of the circumstances had been a bit uncommon and favorable to the defendant.” He mentioned. “That is why we’re right here right this moment.”
Particularly, Ault pointed to the five-year wage assure and likewise questioned the beginning date of her public service, which is used to calculate different advantages.
However her lawyer, Ronald Yarwood, advised Bruzzese there was no intent, and she or he was “A bit embarrassing” Via occasions.
He added: “I participated within the negotiations and realized in hindsight that this was most likely inappropriate.” Yarwood mentioned. “However you could have somebody who has no prior felony report, somebody who has raised her household right here, who has devoted her life to this neighborhood, who’s well-respected on this neighborhood. And it is form of a warning to numerous us that generally we stray from the legislation (and) we do not even realize it, and we do not “We even notice a few of the nuances required of us. Ignorance of the legislation will not be an excuse, however it’s definitely a mitigation.”
Yarwood mentioned “I do not assume there was any ailing intent on her half.”
“I feel she was making an attempt to do proper by society, and she or he’s struggling some penalties due to that, however this is not (a case) the place she was making an attempt to line her personal pockets or get some huge monetary profit.” He mentioned. “I am not making an attempt to make a saint of her, however I am making an attempt to stability mitigation with what we heard (from prosecutors).”
Yarwood mentioned that given the occasions of the previous 4 years, he doesn’t count on Palakos to run for workplace.
He added: “Fairly frankly, I do not assume she desires to be in elected workplace.” He mentioned. “This has been very tough for her and her household.”
Along with being on neighborhood management for the following three years, Bruzzese fined Balakos $250 plus court docket prices and ordered her to pay a month-to-month supervision payment of $25. She was given a 90-day suspended sentence.
(Marks for translation) Native Information (R) Balakos admits guilt