As he leaves, Youngstown mayor contemplates time in office

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – With just a handful of days left as Youngstown’s mayor, John McNally said opening up his office and City Hall to the public is his biggest accomplishment.

“I’d have a lot of people on the street who’d be like, ‘Mayor, can I get just five minutes of your time?’ Everybody just sort of took that, I think, and ran with it, so it was very successful,” he said.

The mayor also pointed to a more aggressive demolition program, which he said will take down close to 550 blighted homes this year, compared to less than 400 last year.

He also credits the city’s police department with bringing down overall crime.

“[Over the] past four years, they’ve taken about 850 guns off the streets,” he said.

McNally does concede his biggest disappointment is the inexplicable jump in murders this year. There were more than two dozen.

He said he’s not sure what any administration could have done to stop that.

“When it comes down to it, there’s just some things you’re not going to be able to prevent,” he said.

He said his successor — Jamael Tito Brown — will need to balance continuing to provide services that taxpayers demand while also juggling almost-certain budget and staffing issues.

As for his legal issues surrounding the purchase of Oakhill Renaissance Center — which resulted in misdemeanor convictions in March of last year — McNally said he learned lessons from the case. He admitted to making mistakes but also insists that he was standing against a project he believed was bad for the area.

In the end, he doesn’t think it ultimately figured into his defeat in the May primary.

As for life after the mayor’s office, McNally said he still isn’t sure where life will take him next.