Girard can't afford its administrative staff, the finance chairwoman says.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
GIRARD -- The chairwoman of city council's finance committee is again calling for the elimination of administration jobs.
Kathleen O'Connell Sauline, D-2nd, reiterated her position after the committee's Friday work session.
The meeting was closed to the public because salaries were discussed, said Nita Hendryx, fiscal supervisor appointed by state Auditor Jim Petro after the city fell into fiscal emergency.
The administration, council members and Hendryx have been meeting to find a way to balance this year's budget.
Despite the layoff of 23 full- and part-time employees, $565,000 must still be cut to balance the budget.
What was tried: Sauline attempted late last year to abolish the positions of service director, city engineer and recreation director.
"We have staffs we can't afford," she said. "We can't afford what we have now." She wasn't specific on the number of cuts or what jobs would go.
Mark Zuppo saw his salary as part-time recreation director reduced from $15,000 to $7,500. Part-time engineer David Hall is paid $12,000 annually, and full-time service director Jerry Lambert receives $33,000 a year.
Sauline's attempt to eliminate those positions failed because she couldn't muster the support of fellow lawmakers.
Sauline said that laying off union employees doesn't save the city any money for the six months the city is required to pay unemployment benefits.
What won't work: The layoff of 14 part-time firefighters could cost the city more money in overtime, she pointed out.
Part-time firefighters work for a lower wage than their full-time counterparts. When a full-timer is called out to staff the department, it's on an overtime basis rather than a part-timer's lower rate.
Mayor James Melfi has explained that the contract with the firefighters calls for the layoff of all part-timers before full-time firefighters can be furloughed.
During Friday's meeting, Melfi; city treasurer Sam Zirafi and law director Mark Standohar announced they are returning their pay raises to the city.
Also, Melfi said the tree board will seek private donations of $7,500 to match a $7,500 state grant rather than having the city come up with the money.
The funds will be used to plant trees in Tod Park and a small area at North State and West Kline streets.
The group will meet again Monday.