Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Treasurer steps down to take job with state
The county's Democrats will meet to select Reardon's replacement.
YOUNGSTOWN Mahoning County Treasurer John Reardon is resigning to take a position with the Gov. Ted Strickland administration.
Reardon, of Boardman, will serve as superintendent of financial institutions, one of nine divisions of the Ohio Department of Commerce.
The position's responsibilities include upholding regulatory standards for 350 financial institutions including state-chartered banks, savings and loans and credit unions, and oversees retail licensing of financial service providers, including consumer finance companies and mortgage brokers.
"John will see that regulations are fair to both consumers and Ohio's small and large financial institutions," Strickland said. "He will work hard to see that our families and our economy continue to benefit from Ohio's great financial institutions."
Citing a goal
Reardon says one of his goals will be to protect Ohio consumers from predatory lenders.
The position pays about $99,000 annually and employs 125 people. Reardon, county treasurer since 1998, earns about $66,000 in that post.
"I am honored to join Gov. Strickland's administration in this important role," Reardon said. "I'm looking forward to helping our state's financial institutions thrive, while protecting consumer rights."
Reardon, who will move to the Columbus area, starts his new job Feb. 12. He said, however, that he will maintain his primary residence in Boardman.
Reardon's boss will be outgoing state Sen. Kimberly Zurz, a Green Democrat, appointed last week by Strickland as commerce director.
The Mahoning County Democratic Party will meet to select Reardon's replacement. Lisa Antonini, Reardon's chief deputy in the treasurer's office, serves as county Democratic chairwoman.
"It's a terrific position, and I'm sure it will allow him to do great things for Ohio and the Mahoning Valley," Antonini said. "The state is getting one of Mahoning County's stars."
Finding a replacement
The party will meet no later than 45 days after Reardon's official date of resignation to select his replacement.
While there's been talk of Reardon leaving for Columbus, Antonini said no one has approached her about replacing Reardon. She expects that to change now that Reardon is vacating the treasurer's position.
At this point, Reardon has no intention of offering jobs to anyone in his new position. Also, Antonini said she is happy with her current positions in the treasurer's office and as Democratic chairwoman and isn't leaving the county to work for Reardon in Columbus.
Reardon was appointed county treasurer in 1998 by the Democratic party to replace George M. McKelvey, who resigned to serve as Youngstown mayor. Reardon was elected to a four-year term in 2000 and re-elected in 2004.
Reflecting on his years of service, Reardon said he is especially proud of investment strategies that earned millions of additional dollars for the county's general fund; aggressive delinquent tax collection that has exceeded $60 million to date; and the creation of Lien Forward Ohio Regional Council of Governments, a city-county partnership that focuses on returning vacant, abandoned, tax-delinquent land to productive use.
Mulling a higher office
Reardon has given serious consideration to running for higher office during the past five years.
In 2002, he considered challenging Strickland, a Lisbon Democrat, for the 6th Congressional District seat. Reardon backed out and endorsed Strickland. Also that year, Reardon explored the possibility of running for state treasurer, but opted not to seek the post.
In 2005, Reardon again mulled a race for the 6th District seat during the 2006 election after Strickland announced he would run for governor. Instead, Reardon chose to run for state auditor.
Reardon announced in August 2005 that he would run for state auditor and appeared to have a smooth path to running unopposed in the Democratic primary for the seat. But because the party wanted diversity on the ticket, Ohio Democratic leaders urged outgoing state Rep. Barbara Sykes of Akron to run for state auditor.
Sykes, who had planned to retire from politics, agreed. Sykes was the lone Democratic executive office candidate to lose to her Republican opponent, Mary Taylor of Green, in the November 2006 general election.
Before becoming treasurer, Reardon worked as a business manager in small companies and Fortune 500 corporations. He also taught economics at Youngstown State University.
He earned a bachelor of business administration degree at Kent State University in 1979 and a master's degree in economics at Youngstown State University in 1985.