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Auditor praises request for equal contributions



Published: Thu, April 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The county has no consistent policy on health-care contributions by employees.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Mahoning County Auditor George J. Tablack applauded a move by the commissioners to advocate that all county employees pay 10 percent of their health insurance premiums.

This would include those who are in unions and those who are outside the general fund, such as those who work for the county engineer's office and the county Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

At the commissioners' Tuesday meeting, they insisted that all county employees should be paying the same amount for their health care across the board.

Board president Anthony Traficanti said 10 percent should be the benchmark. However, they took no action to facilitate this.

During budget hearings conducted earlier this year, the commissioners found out a number of employees are having the 10 percent deducted from their wages, but others aren't.

Tablack said Wednesday the 10 percent contribution for all county employees "needs to be engaged now."

"We, as leaders in county government, need to lead by example," Tablack said. "We need to acknowledge the inequities the public perceives exists [between the public section and private industry], and we're going to have to do something about it."

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union represents a total of 35 workers in the auditor's office and the county's Data Processing Department, Tablack said.

Tentative agreement

There has been a tentative agreement with AFSCME that calls for 10 percent health insurance payments, no pay raises over the next three years, and employees to give back three personal days.

He said he is confident employees will ratify the three-year deal.

Tablack said department heads must plead with their employees to empathize with the economic plight of the county's private citizens and voters.

Some employees in the private sector are paying more than 10 percent toward their health-care coverage, he said.

"This is the time for all labor unions to help us," Tablack said.




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