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Mavromatis earns contract extension

Members of Steubenville City Council made a wise decision during their Feb. 9 meeting when they voted to approve a two-year contract extension for City Manager James Mavromatis.

Mavromatis, who just a few weeks ago completed his fifth year on the job, has brought a no-nonsense style of management to the post, and his leadership has helped the city navigate some difficult issues.

As he told members of the Steubenville Rotary Club last week, those challenges included having to deal with lawsuits and consent decrees with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, a bomb scare at the former Macy’s department store in the Fort Steuben Mall and an outage that led to most of the downtown being left without water for several days.

All of that was followed by the city having to request large water rate increases, money that already has helped to allow for improvements to be made to aging infrastructure.

That all came before 2020, when dramatically decreased revenues tied to the spread of COVID-19 forced city officials to make tough decisions involving staffing and pay. Those choices required coordination among the city’s leaders and the unions that represent its workers, police officers and firefighters. And, while the city’s finances are brighter today then they were several months ago, Mavromatis said they still must be watched closely.

Despite those issues, the city continues to move forward. Work continues on the Lovers Lane improvement project, for instance. Upgrades are being made to the city’s water system, with a new tank scheduled to be built at the intersection of Lovers Lane and Coal Hill Road. That tower will play an important role in allowing the city to ensure the reliability of its entire system.

New problems always will surface. For example, a few weeks ago, issues at the water filtration plant led to a citywide conservation order, and just last week, a broken water line along Sunset Boulevard created the need to replace a section of the road.

In both instances, Mavromatis worked hard to make sure city employees had what they needed to solve the problems while offering accurate and timely information to members of the public.

As we have written before, Mavromatis is not afraid to make tough decisions. His efforts and truthfulness have allowed him to earn the support and respect of the community, as well as the opportunity to continue to serve as city manager.

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