Perorazio believes in business approach to EL operations

Ray Perorazio

EAST LIVERPOOL — When one enters the office of Ray Perorazio at his east end body shop, one gets a glimpse of the man behind the microphone at East Liverpool council meetings. Sitting at his desk, surrounded by images of John Wayne, firefighter memorabilia and other tributes to western life, it is no surprise that he is all business and no nonsense to his approach for solving the city’s problems.

He is seeking to retain his first ward council seat against opponent Linda Ziegler in November.

When Perorazio and Ziegler faced off the last time, a Columbiana County election official literally pulled one of their names from a small wicker basket to decide the winner, as they were in a virtual dead heat.

It’s all pretty random when one thinks about it. However, it was just another step in his career of public service.

Born in East Liverpool’s first ward, Perorazio served as a city firefighter 38 years as well as president of the firefighters’ union. All while owning his own body shop.

When asked, Perorazio believes that the biggest thing that he brings to council is experience as a successful business man as well as someone familiar with the inner workings, after having been employed by the city almost four decades.

“I painted my first car at (age) 14 and worked briefly at Lordstown for a while before running several service stations,” he recounts from his office in his Michigan Avenue shop. He believes the current administration, and council is achieving much more success due to their approach of running the city like a business.

While he is happy to serve and contribute, Perorazio said, “This city doesn’t owe me a thing. The fire department gave me a way to raise my children and provide a good life. If I didn’t think I could make this town better, I wouldn’t continue to run.”

What does he consider the most important aspect of his job? Mostly budgetary.

“My job is to let everyone know that the money is going where it is supposed to,” he adds.

Perorazio thinks micromanaging employees to do the right thing is not what councilmembers are there for. “We are legislators not administrators.”

Therefore, he stands by the decision to abolish the three-member Board of Public Utilities, something that his opponent vehemently believes needed to be not only reinstated but expanded.

“We have done a lot of good things, but we have more to do,” he adds. “Things are going pretty good – especially when you have councilmembers who don’t have agendas.”

He gives a lot of credit to the administration, which has been able to secure some key grant funding. For example, Perorazio was especially excited to mention a grant that will allow them to pave St. George from Virginia to Central. “We fix a lot of stuff here,” he explained.

Part of that is their ability to disagree on occasion but pull up to the table for the good of city residents to get things done. “If you are a councilman who cannot get along with the administration and have a good relationship, you won’t be able to get anything done.”