AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Austintown Board of Trustees appointed a replacement for Steve Kent, who was found guilty of tampering with evidence and forced off the board.

The board appointed Mike Dockry, a former township administrator to the position. Dockry admits he only agreed to take the job as long as there was no long-term commitment.

“If that was the case, you needed to get someone else in here to start learning the job,” Dockery said.

Kent was removed as a trustee following his trial in Mahoning County Court. He was found not guilty of sexual misconduct involving a Poland high school student but was found guilty of tampering with evidence — a felony charge.

Mahoning County prosecutor says she contacted the Ohio General Office after Kent’s conviction and learned that his guilty verdict immediately removed him from office and gave trustees just 30 days to name a replacement. Had trustees not acted, members of Kent’s own campaign committee could have nominated someone to replace him.

Trustees say with half a dozen candidates now running for Kent’s old seat, they wanted to avoid any appearance of favoritism.

“We looked at it as if we were a candidate, how would we want to be thought of as well, and I think this is the best way that everyone can have an opportunity to run a fair campaign,” said Trustee Robert Santos.

Trustees added that Dockry’s decades of experience working for the township is a big plus.

“Being able to have somebody come in and not know what’s going on, we felt that would be hard on us. We would like somebody with knowledge and keep us going,” said Trustee Monica Deavers.

The felony conviction means Kent can no longer hold office. Dockry will now take over the remainder of Kent’s term.