Surprise Opening

ST. CLAIRSVILLE IS back in the market for a finance director.

That surprising development occurred Friday evening when Brian Johnson informed city council — at a special meeting — that he was stepping down from the post. Johnson assumed the position just weeks earlier after council members, in a razor-thin vote, opted to severe ties with longtime finance director Jill Lucidi.

Johnson made his decision after realizing he may have bit off more than he could chew. Johnson, who officially took the job Feb. 22, cited an inability to become acclimated to the job’s requirements in sufficient time to continue managing the city’s finances in proper fashion.

Such an announcement is a double-edged sword.

The positive is Johnson’s admission may avoid major problems down the road. We credit him for being man enough to admit his inability to deliver proper work in sufficient time.

The finance director’s job is one of obvious vital importance and needs to be filled by a person equipped with the needed skills. Johnson felt he was not the person for the job.

His decision also presents a new problem for St. Clairsville officials.

After council terminated Lucidi, questions arose on whether a capable replacement could be found in the city. Johnson appeared to be that person.

Such is not the case, however. A new search must be launched, with time being of the essence.

Mayor Bob Vincenzo says he will contact municipal government assistance services, looking to secure a temporary director. Johnson says he will remain until that happens, as he should. He created the dilemma.

Johnson also said the city’s finances are in dire straits. That remains to be seen.

We do not envy St. Clairsville council members for having to find yet another finance director. We do know, however, they may have a good one right under their collective noses — the one they fired earlier this year.