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YSU labor leader’s pay raise is probed



Published: Sat, December 6, 2008 @ 12:09 a.m.

By Elise Franco

ACE President Ivan Maldonado saw increases totaling about 75 percent in the past two fiscal years, YSU documents show.

YOUNGSTOWN — A top union leader “benefited substantially” in the latest Youngstown State University labor agreement, university trustees say.

According to documents obtained from YSU and a source close to the university’s internal investigation, Ivan Maldonado, Association of Classified Employees president, saw his salary increased by about 75 percent from fiscal year 2008 to fiscal year 2009 — from $46,264 to $82,613.

Maldonado has been with the university 19 years and is now payroll administrative assistant. He was chief negotiator for the union during contract talks.

His salary increased after the board of trustees’ July approval of the ACE contract. The pact took effect Aug. 15.

After trustees learned of the pay raise in October, they launched an investigation that resulted in placing Craig Bickley, chief human resources officer and chief negotiator, on administrative leave Thursday for an undetermined period.

Maldonado, asked about the pay increase by The Vindicator on Friday, responded: “According to our legal counsel, I have no comment on the situation at this time.”

During the contract negotiations, Bickley was the lead representative for the university administration. The university documents, however, state Bickley didn’t notify administrators of Maldonado’s job reclassification and pay raise before Bickley processed the increase.

Bickley could not be reached Friday.

According to records provided by the university after The Vindicator filed a public records request Friday, Maldonado’s salary was $46,264 in fiscal year 2008.

After ACE contract negotiations in fiscal year 2008 and an earlier job reclassification, Maldonado’s salary was bumped to $52,798.

In the most recent ACE negotiations for fiscal 2009, and because of a conversion to a new pay scale and classification plan, his pay increased to $59,498.

The pay scale shows another job reclassification and a 37 percent jump in pay to $82,613 for Maldonado after the new contract and a reclassification to payroll specialist 2.

Under the contract, 380 nonfaculty employees were to receive annual pay increases of 2.5 percent the first year, followed by 2.5 percent and 2.6 percent the second and third years, respectively.

YSU’s board ratified the contract in a 7-1 vote, with member Harry Meshel dissenting on grounds at the time that the contract was “overly generous.”

The 37 percent increase in Maldonado’s pay was detected by Neil McNally, the budget director responsible for implementing reclassifications, according to another university document.

In October, the budget office brought the discrepancy to the attention of the university’s administration and general counsel.

YSU investigated, then contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s office, and the state launched an investigation.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office concluded that the intent of the ACE contract was to align YSU’s classification system with the state’s system, but “the classification plan put into place was not an exact match with the state plan,” according to the trustees’ Thursday statement.

The trustees’ statement included a pledge to amend the issue quickly by having the administration implement Ohio’s job classification system for all YSU members of ACE “as was the intent of the contract approved by the board.”

At a special meeting Thursday, trustees announced their intent to take steps to rectify the issue. Maldonado wasn’t named at the meeting.

On Friday, a letter from Green Haines Sgambati Co., LPA, representing the YSU-ACE, was delivered to YSU President David Sweet.

The letter demanded the university halt plans to amend the issue quickly.

“If the university goes forward with these or any other modifications, appropriate legal action will be pursued,” the letter stated.

Ron Cole, manager of news and information services, declined to comment on the law firm’s letter.


Comments

1LUMPY72(65 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

plus their kids get free tuition...s.o.b.

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2coltrane(7 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

It's guys like this that give unions everywhere a bad name. Another greedy union thug who is only out for himself!

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3coltrane(7 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

"On Friday, a letter from Green Haines Sgambati Co., LPA, representing the YSU-ACE, was delivered to YSU President David Sweet. The letter demanded the university halt plans to amend the issue quickly.
“If the university goes forward with these or any other modifications, appropriate legal action will be pursued,” the letter stated."

....and who will pay for that leagal action? The rank and file members who DID NOT GET A RAISE!!!!!

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4cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

It gets better--the guy says he intentionally included self serving perks in the contract just to see if anyone would catch him--The Jambar website quotes him as saying "Union presidents are above ethics" and that he sleeps fine at night.

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5cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

http://www.thejambar.com/

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6coltrane(7 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Someone is trying hard to hush this up but the universities board asked the states A.G. office to investigate. That means its out of the hands of the university and union officials. It's very possible that charges could be filed on the state level. I don't see how you can appoint yourself a 56% raise of tax payers money and no one notice.

Some people just don't know how good they have it. Maybe if Mr. Maldonado worked at Lordstown and was looking at an extended layoff this holiday season he'd feel different.

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7DoctorGonzo(728 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Is there any question that a payroll administrative assistant deserves 80k a year in Youngstown?
Another example of how poorly run things are in the Mahoning Valley. It is like the dark ages there.
How can you just ratify a labor agreement without having someone look it over for things that seem a little fishy? Bassackwards.
One of your biggest assets as a city, YSU, and it is run by the same type of mental giants that run the city. A damn shame.

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8caliberry(2 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

You're right coltrane. He lied to the members too, because I'm sure he didn't tell them he was sneaking in a little extra for himself. And now they are footing his legal bill I'm sure.
Has he stepped down as union president? If he does'nt do it willingly, the members should give him a swift kick out the door. I don't see how any could ever trust this guy. What a disgrace he is. So the contract as it was was good enough for the rest of the people, but he thought he deserved more or what?

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9TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

...and while all this goes on at YSU, Mommy and Daddy continue to pay their Son's & Daughter's Tuition!

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10coltrane(7 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Education Voter said "By the way, shouldn't management consider the contract effects BEFORE they sign it."

I can't disagree with you there. That was a real bone-head move by the board of trustees. They relied too much on Craig Bickley. But in the end, you can't defend this guy. 56% raise, paid for by tax payers, is an abuse of his powers.

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11caliberry(2 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Education_Voter - the contract that they got does sound like a good one. Wish I was guaranteed a raise at work. But...if you go to the Jambar's website and read the article there, you will see that he gave himself far more than what was in the contract. See the articles titled "YSU-ACE president appears guilty of deliberately inflating his pay, report alleges" and "Maldonado pay increased to $82,613 after 37 percent raise". As a graduate of YSU, I'm interested in seeing how this plays out. If something like this happened while I was paying tuition, I would have been wondering where my tuition was ending up.

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12coltrane(7 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

RealTruth said "So he's automatically guilty? We've heard ONE side of the story..."

Yes and that side came from the Ohio Attorney General's Office. The Top Cop of the state. They investigated and said he is guilty. Case Closed.

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13DRDAVE1965(80 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

with all the curruption going on... there are planty of job oppertunities out there.

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14incapcity(1 comment)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

He was the same in Columbus.

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15pavlikfan65(1 comment)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

It is always so amusing how all of a sudden the person in question is not guilty of anything because there is always someone else to compare to.

I see the point of the above poster's comment regarding job descriptions in columbus, and I am sure those descriptions describe what a person does on a day to day basis. Its reported that the union president does perform a certain job there, BUT what I also see from reading vindy.com and jambar.com's reports are about the problems that arose with the "STATE CLASSIFICATIONS" that the union was supposed to adopt with their last contract. The last article posted by the vindicator stated that their pay scales were not in line with the state. It looks like all the university wants to do is correct this issue and move on. How do issues like this help our city and the reputation of YSU?

Maybe he does know the rules that the person above speaks of, but it also looks like he may have found some sort of loophole during all of the signings? There still is only one side of the story being brought to the public. Why are there no statements being made from the person who is in question? All we see is that he is told to make no comment by his lawyer. Where are the comments from the guy who got canned?

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16cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Yes, but isn't the issue, maybe I'm wrong here, that he bumped his classification up like 5 steps when the agreed upon classification was two steps? And the Jambar reports and the documents they quote suggest that he knew this was not the intent of the agreement. In that report, the one in the Jambar, he basically admits to doing wrong but doesn't care because Bickley signed off on it. And yes, administrators I suppose get unfairly promoted but does that make it right? And as union president, he intentionally undermined the negotiations that finally took place and resulted in what sounds like a pretty good contract, just to prove a point, to serve himself, or both? And now the members of his union will foot the bill for his legal battles and the next negotiation will be a nightmare. But who knows? Maybe when he speaks to the public he will have a good explanation, because it seems to me impossible that he didn't know all of this was going to come out.

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17coltrane(7 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Without a doubt, Ivan is a demagogue. That’s someone who gains favor by exciting the passions and prejudices of the audience (for those of you without a dictionary). People like him just walk between the raindrops. He’ll put on a big show and talk his way out of this one. His supporters will shout down and bully any opposition within the union. The administration won’t fire him. And life here in Wonderland will go on as it always has. Were you really expecting anything to change?

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18cityguy(109 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

I don't think he can be fired legally and I think he knows this. I'd really like to hear his side of the story...I thought he was supposed to tell his side today as a matter of fact.

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19iq256(4 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

how many of you would not reclassify your job if it meant a significant pay increase?being a former union card holder,i am indifferent but i cant fault someone for trying to make more money.after all isnt that what life is all about?i have yet to meet anyone who aspires to be who they are in the now.think about it.

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20BufordTJustice(7 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Now let me see if I got this right. YSU and the ACE Union negotiated a labor contract. The Union President made some changes regarding jobs and pay classifications, some of which were highly beneficial to himself. The changes were not hidden in any way, and YSU agreed in writing to the changes. Now YSU is claiming what: Deception? They didn't bother to read the contract, and they want off the hook for their negligence?

How wonderful it would be if I could break my written agreements by simply claiming I never bothered to read the contract. Imagine what such a world would be like.

The ACE President beat them fair and square on the battlefield of labor-management relations. Was he self-serving? Of course. The result is, nevertheless, a legally binding agreement that should stand up in court.

Shrewd risk takers will nearly always beat the sleeping sloths of the world. Bravo Ivan!

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21scrooge(563 comments)posted 5 years, 10 months ago

Everyone is complaining about the pay raise but who approved it? Why is the YSU Board not being held accountable for a 7-1 vote? Sounds to me like only Meshel took the time to read it.
I don't really agree with the pay raise, but if he was crafty enough to get it approved, more power to him.

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