County Commissioner Stepping Down as Village Solicitor

Newly appointed Belmont County Commissioner Mark Thomas asked Bridgeport City Council not to renew his village solicitor contract during Monday’s meeting.

“My tenure expires at the end of the month and I am asking council to not renew my contract,” said Thomas, who discovered that he could in fact do both positions. “It’s been an honor to serve … Thank you for the opportunity.”

Thomas has been village solicitor for two years.

Michael Shaheen, who has previously served as solicitor for Bellaire and Adena, submitted a letter of interest to the council. While Mayor John Callarik wanted to make a motion on Shaheen, council could not.

Shaheen is currently representing Councilman Dick Riley in the lawsuit that was filed against several members of council, barring Ben Lenz and David Smith from meetings. Both Thomas and Riley felt that this was a conflict of interest. Riley would have had to abstain if a vote was taken.

Councilman Marvin Husarik said council should wait until the start of the next term when new council members will be taking seats and Lenz and Smith were not there to vote on someone they will be working with. Councilwoman Carole Lyle agreed.

Thomas said both Lenz and Smith will be able to return in January for the start of the new term since the lawsuit was against this term.

In the meantime, Thomas offered to do what he can for council until the end of the month before the new term starts.

The next meeting will be held on Jan. 21 at 6 p.m.