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Schlanz named interim director

Mike Schlanz

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services has an interim director while the commissioners continue to seek a permanent replacement for Vince Gianangeli, whose employment was terminated last week after he reportedly ignored an order from the commissioners.

The commissioners went into executive session to discuss personnel Wednesday. After more than three hours behind closed doors, the board unanimously appointed Mike Schlanz, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act administrator for the Belmont County DJFS, as the agency’s temporary director.

Commission President J.P. Dutton said the board has faith Schlanz will helm the department until a new director is selected. Schlanz has been a longtime employee who has been active in organizing job fairs and other projects.

“He’s from the workforce side of the department. It’s an interim position, and we’re kicking off the process of finding a permanent director,” Dutton said. “We’re focused on starting our project for a permanent director, which will begin with us posting the positions for the public for the next day or so.”

Schlanz said afterward that he has spoken to the senior managers of the department. He said he has faith in the staff and intends to continue his team-based approach to leadership.

“The agency has always worked smoothly and efficiently and it’s going to continue. It’ll be a team effort working with the senior managers to run the agency because they have the expertise,” he said.

The DJFS departments include Children Services, Child Support and Public Assistance.

“From supervisors to the front-line staff, everybody does their job and we’re going to keep running the agency as we have in the past years,” he said.

Schlanz said he has not put himself forward as a director candidate.

“This is a short-term appointment for me until the commissioners hire a permanent director,” he said. “As a senior manager, it’s my responsibility to help the agency during this transition period. I have no intention to apply for the permanent position. I have nearly 32 years in my career in the workforce area and am content to finish out my career in that area.”

According to to a statement from the commissioners, Gianangeli was terminated after he “disregarded a prior vote by the board and then undertook another course of action,” causing a the commissioners to lose confidence in Gianangeli.

Gianangeli released a statement saying he believed he had acted appropriately. He said the commissioners voted to terminate an individual after he already had accepted a resignation from that individual.

Residents have voiced questions about the future leadership of the department. Prior to the announcement Wednesday, Richard Hord of Martins Ferry asked when the department might have a new interim director and director. Dutton said the best candidate would be selected.

Dutton has said the public will not see any interruption of the services offered through DJFS.

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