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Gains seeks a 60% hike

Published: Tue, November 9, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.


Prosecutor Paul Gains


George Tablack

2011 budget increase needed for pay raises, prosecutor argues

By Peter H. Milliken



Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains said he needs nearly a 60 percent increase in his budget over this year’s level so he can pay his staff competitive salaries and thereby prevent more staff turnover.

In a Monday budget hearing before the county commissioners, Gains requested 2011 general fund budgets of $2,708,284 for his criminal division and $1,384,499 for his civil division. The civil division defends county agencies and townships against civil lawsuits.

In 2010, the funds available for the criminal division total $1.8 million, and the civil division’s funds total $768,000. The 2009 figures were $2,214,512 and $868,157, respectively.

Because of the county’s financial woes, Gains noted that the lawyers on his staff took a 15 percent pay cut through furlough days between April 1 and Aug. 1 of this year and 10 percent thereafter, with Gains taking a commensurate cut. The office’s nonlawyers have taken a 10 percent pay cut through furlough days since April 1, he said.

The prosecutor’s office has 24 full-time and nine part-time lawyers, with five full-time lawyer vacancies and one part-time lawyer vacancy. It has 14 nonlawyers on its staff and 13 nonlawyer vacancies.

Since he took office in 1997, Gains said he has lost nine lawyers to other county agencies, five to city agencies, three to federal agencies and six more, either to other county prosecutor’s offices or the Ohio Attorney General’s office.

“It’s primarily because of the low pay that these lawyers have consistently received here,” Gains told the commissioners, adding that the shortage of clerical staff forces his prosecutors to do their own typing.

“We’ve tried our best to live within this budget,” Gains said. “I’m not going to be able to function if I receive the same amount,” in 2011, he added. An understaffed prosecutor’s office will result in a backlog of court cases and an overcrowded jail, Gains warned the commissioners.

“It’s a severe morale factor. It contributes to a high turnover, which makes for an inefficient operation,” Gains said of the low pay.

County Administrator George J. Tablack said there’s a high price to be paid for professional employee turnover in terms of lost “institutional knowledge.”

The workload comes steadily to the prosecutor’s office, and the pay cuts through furlough days “just upset people and make them bitter,” said Linette Stratford, the office’s civil division chief.

Stratford noted that none of Youngstown’s city prosecutors makes less than $61,000 a year. Salaries for Gains’ full-time assistant prosecutors range from $46,000 to $79,000 annually, minus their 10 percent pay cuts, and only those with more than 10 years’ experience make more than $60,000, according to prosecutor’s office figures.

The workload of the prosecutor’s office has increased because it has assumed the duties of the human resources department, with the county having left the HR director’s job vacant for almost two years, Gains noted.

Gains is asking for a large increase in what the county budget commission says are extremely tough times.

The budget commission, consisting of Gains, County Treasurer Lisa A. Antonini and County Auditor Michael V. Sciortino, has certified next year’s general fund revenue to be $51,412,860, compared with $53,094,744 for 2010.

The 2010 figure was reduced in March from $57,057,678 due to the recession-induced shortage of county revenues, primarily the shortage of sales-tax revenues, said Carol McFall, chief deputy county auditor.


1davidjohn(144 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

this is unbelievable

what officeholder has ever asked for a 60% increase

in the history of mahoning county

and an office that by all accounts is poorly run

and didnt gains just ask to hire an out of town law firm

for a cool $50,000

did the county increase the sales tax when we werent looking

where did all this money come from

the newspaper has sided with gains on virtually every issue

this will test their integrity and legitimacy if they dont slam him with an editorial

just jokin

there is no integrity here

or legitimacy

didnt the county give gains an extra half million dollars a few years ago

to do what

county administrator george j tablack said there’s a high price to be paid for professional employee turnover in terms of lost institutional knowledge

what the hell does that mean

dont look at tablacks inflated salary

because if tablack is fired we would lose institutional knowldge

tablack and traficanti have been in bed with gains on oak hill

is this the reward for gains orchestrating the special prosecutor indictments against tablacks and gains political enemies

yavorchik cafaros mcnally reardon

cmon mr desouza

write one of your scathing columns

this should be quite interesting

and a real test for the newspaper

and traficanti

after booting ludt out the public is in no mood for this nonsense

maybe the judges should appoint another special prosecutor

to look at a deal between tablack and gains

to raid the public treasury

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2unhappyvoter1(87 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Please tax payers don't buy what the commissioners are stating. This county is in financial trouble my ---.We keep passing these taxes and its never enough. They have to many people they want to give cushy jobs too, and the hard workers in this county get nothing but threatened with lay-off. Gains office should thank God they have a job at all. NO ONE GETS A RAISE when the county is laying off. WHAT MAKES YOU SO SPECIAL. This is whats wrong with MAHONING COUNTY they don't go buy the so called rules they make. NO RAISE OR CALL THE REST OF THE MAHONING COUNTY EMPLOYEES BACK.

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3timOthy(802 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Too much money ! Work for less.

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4timOthy(802 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Too much money ! Work for less.

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5UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

No Raises!!! The county taxpayers can't afford any and just by asking for them, Paul Gains is thumbing his nose in the faces of us taxpayers. Resign Paul so someone can be hired who can do your job with the money currently available. Another Dumbocrat who has never seen a dollar he couldn't spend and ask for more.

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6burford(95 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

This is true fiscal insanity.

The budget INCREASE alone being asked for by the Prosecutor is greater then the annual budget of most county departments: Auditor, Treasurer, Recorder, Board of Elections, Domestic Relations Court, Probate Court, Coroner, 911, Microfilm, Planning Commission, Data Processing, Law Library,Building Department, Soldiers Relief, Veterans Services

The Sheriff doesn't have enough money, other county departments have layed off people, there is no money to maintain the Courthouse, we are in a deep recession, the list goes on and on.

When people don't have jobs and are struggling to get by, this is really crazy.The fact that George Tablack seems to be entertaining this is also insanity.I wonder what kind of budgets the other officeholders are going to offer.

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7author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Can you imagine how many pencils Judge Belinky will want now?

I cant blame Gains -- everytime the elected officials and the heads' of the non-profits SCREAM for more money -- they get it from the lemmings and sheep known as Mahoning County citizens and voters.

With a media that plays along (to keep those government ads coming in), no local Republican Party with balls, No local Tea Party, no citizens watch-dog groups (because the aforementioned have squashed their voices) Gains, et al will get their budget requests.

Memo to Tabby and the gang of three -- come 1/1/2011 there will be no more state aid to local goverments, so you better get that resolution warmed up to increase the sales tax to pay for bigger government.

PS Gains is probably hiring all those Democrats who are out of office come 1/1/2011.

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8Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Even this may not be enough . We have three death penalty cases coming up that will be very expensive . One is for Jamar Houser for the killing of Angeline Fimognari at St. Dominics . Another Is for the killing of Thomas Repchic in the same area . The killing of Vivian Martin the lady realtor on the EastSide . These trials will be very costly .

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9palbubba(802 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

It is about time the public get outraged, even if the Vindy won't. A 60% increase to an office that mostly plea bargains cases to lesser charges. This whole department is dysfunctional at best and totally incompetant. How about a recall for Paul instead of a 60% increase.

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10northsideperson(366 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Are problems in the prosecutor's office due to constant turnover? Or are they indicative of other factors? Has someone done a REAL analysis, rather than an armchair guess or voter outrage? I dare say that no-one commenting in this discussion is qualified to answer that.

I'd like to see the analysis that the prosecutor's office made (and the qualifications of those that made it) that came up with a 60% budget increase recommendation. Has a state performance audit reviewed the office? That would give us a good indicator of areas that need work and areas that are successful.

A 60% budget increase is not going to fly. But will telling them "work for less" perpetuate turnover and/or other operational issues in the prosecutor's office? Will people have shorter jail stays, and if so, how will that offset any increases? Let's have some real data rather than uninformed griping.

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11mrblue(1175 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Is this guy on drugs? If the commissioners and Tablack go along with this, they need to be replaced and replaced immediately. This is an insane request along with the money he wanted to hire an outside law firm to represent him on the Oakhill deal. How do you think the laid off employees feel? Everyone has to do with less and you Mr. Gaines are no different. Do your job or get out, and take Tablack with you.

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12vinglass(295 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

valleyop...Is davidjohn also the person who posts as "balto"??

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13LowerCaseG(11 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Hate Gains if you will, but the issue that trumps this entire situation is the ability to attract qualified personnel to work in that office. For those they cannot stand the prosecutor, ask yourself this question: why would anyone want his job if they are going to have to deal with constant turnover and are forced to work with inferior attorneys because of budgetary restraints?

I am currently a law student. My tuition at this point and the amount of debt I will have upon graduation essentially bars me from taking a job in that office because the salary is not competitive enough. The current salary setup allows for only those truly committed to the job, those that have no other options, or those who prefer the guaranteed 9-5 lifestyle over more demanding positions to accept the current positions.

People in the Mahoning Valley need to decide whether they want qualified people and a productive department or an ineffective department staffed by only those who sacrifice better opportunities. How long will that sacrifice pay the bills though? Turnover will continue to be a problem and qualified people will continue to leave and seek better opportunities elsewhere.

Frankly, Mahoning County would benefit from raising the salary of its prosecutors for several reasons. First, it would ensure a more efficient and productive office. Second, it would entice qualified and educated people to maintain employment in the area and could even attract educated people from outside to relocate as a result of the competitive legal market that is making jobs scarce for everyone with a law degree.

Suck it up and find the money. Raise taxes if you will, but putting bad guys behind bars and maintaining or increasing the educated population of an area that frankly lacks smart people is worth every penny to me.

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14AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

LowerCaseG it is not the responsibility of the taxpayers of Mahoning County to pay your student loan debt. Many new lawyers begin their career and gain experience as government lawyers when they are first starting out. So SUCK IT UP until you gain your experience.

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15bartender123(27 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

NO RAISES! His office should be under investigation for the recent political favors he’s done. Example: Oakhill-give me a BREAK! How about the YSU issue that he put his BOY-Bush to go after Maldondo & Granger for so call fraud. I hear after every pre-trial Bush is asking everyone to take a plea. WHY! Because their so call case is falling apart. Haven’t they read the Vindy, Federal Arbitrators are saying the University‘s Witnesses were “Equivocal at best”. Equivocal - with intent to deceive or misguide!

Bush & Gains must be looking for the same pay-off Majeko received for prosecuting Maldonado & Granger, A TEACHING CONTRACT AT THE UNIVERSITY! This should increase their take home PAY! Wasting Tax Dollars!!! If they don’t like their pay, THEN LEAVE!!!! Lots of People in the Valley that need a JOB!

Hey Carol Rimedio-Righetti, if you want to be re-elected for a second term DON’T VOTE FOR THE 60% INCREASE – NO ON INCREASE. Live within the budget like the rest of us.

The Republicans clean house this mid-term election accept for the Valley. Maybe Valley Residents should request an investigation from the NEW Attorney General / Mike DeWine into these issues and finally clean the Valley from these Democrats.

One final comment to Gains and Bush, Are you giving a plea deal to the former Treasurer of YSU-ACE? She did admit to taking money and the audit revealed it was over $17,000. I’m sure you let her walk, RIGHT! The info you received from her wasn’t what you thought it would be……….. Keep that in mind when you pursue the others!

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16LowerCaseG(11 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago


You totally miss the point. I don't expect anyone to pay my debt except me. To do that, I will take the best job I can get out of college. Everyone who graduates law school is going to do the exact same thing.

Believe me when I tell you that I will not be looking at jobs anywhere near Mahoning County.

It's about what the market demands though. Answer this question: if other places are paying more money to do the same job, where are you going to go work? Mahoning County needs to increase their salaries to recruit better people (which most certainly does NOT include me) and run a more effective department.

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17iBuck(231 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Gains has apparently passed Econ101; he knows that the Fed's monetization of the humongous federal debt will drive even faster inflation/devaluation of the currency, and hence price increases. He doesn't want his crowd to be caught short the way it has the rest of the population.

Meanwhile, Zoellick is pushing for a global currency to displace the US dollar, and Obama and Clinton are groveling to India and Red China and promising to drag the USA down to their levels of 50 years ago.

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18Youngstown_Strong(91 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Most of the people commenting on here are out of touch. Gains is a fighter, he fought against the mob and now he's fighting for his employees. Obviously times are still tough so a 60% increase probably won't happen but I'm sure the Prosecutor's office would be willing to compromise.

People need to start thinking reasonably and not just passionately. If your job paid more money somewhere else, you would think long & hard about going elsewhere.

And FYI, the salaries listed may be double that of most of the angry people posting here but until those same keyboard warriors graduate from law school and incur the costs that come with it, they should rest their case.

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19LowerCaseG(11 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago


Thank you for understanding the point. My story wasn't a sob story about how much debt I am going to have. It was simply to note that qualified people are not going to come to Youngstown to work in the Prosecutor's office when better and more lucrative opportunities exist elsewhere. I can care less about Paul Gains, but he is exactly correct here.

Gains's initiative though, if it works, could be advantageous to the Mahoning Valley for a number of reasons. Aside from a more productive prosecution team, his actions could help stop the "brain drain" that is occurring in Youngstown. Face the facts people...the majority of the people from Youngstown who go on to get good education generally move away. If you can entice some of them to stay, some of you hypocrites may be able to find a replacement for Paul Gains. In the meantime, good luck luring those who actually have potential away from jobs that pay significantly more than the ones offered in your city.

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20saddad(655 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

You are wasting your breath Ytown-Strong. Most of those you address dont have what it takes to think reasonably. They are exactly the same people that would bytch the most if the Prosecutor was forced to plea bargain out 95% of the criminal cases due to the lack of funding. To expect them to understand that 60k a year isnt going to keep a journeyman prosecutor on your satff is way too much.

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21ValleyNative(174 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Lots of laughs just reading these comments. So many idiots in the Valley lol

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22saddad(655 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

In May 2008 the median annual wage for lawyers was $110,590. How low do you want to go when trying to staff a prosecutors office? These people are already working for half.

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23LowerCaseG(11 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Another person who misses the point,

Let me start this one by saying that I could care less about Paul Gains personally or politically. With that being said, he wants to raise the salaries to keep people from jumping from his office to other county offices or other legal offices.

censoredship...your point that wages vary only serves to reinforce Gains's point. The salaries in his office are too low, and qualified individuals are leaving his office for jobs where those bars you refer to are higher.

No one is crying here. It's a basic concept. The county needs to pay these people more or they are going to leave. People out of law school are not going to take a job in that office and people already there are not going to stay if they have better opportunities elsewhere. Thank you for reinforcing that point with your graph.

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24Pyroc(136 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Raise the Court Cost Fee! Let the criminals pay for the raises.

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25HaydenThomas(208 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Giving government more money has never proven to attract a better class of government employee. If you don't like the current wage, then don't take the job. Turnover of employees is a way of life too so don't sensationalize it to justify more money. Has anyone ever gone for service at any Mahoning County office? Can you recall any group less interested in serving the customer than nearly every county office?

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26southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Oh yes, by all means increase the budget so others can poke fun at the ineptness of Youngstown legislators. Outstanding!

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27unhappyvoter1(87 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

the people that are out of touch in this county are the politicians and the office holders that request these ridiculous amounts of budget money. there are many people laid-off in the county that have many, many years. what a slap in the face to them if they are not called back first before any raises are given. shame on the politicians.

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28candystriper(575 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

So what happens to polite meaningless words.
The last thing sensitive civil servants want is candid.


Don't get smart or candid with me.


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29dhtj(35 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

hey mr gains, in the past year my health care has gone up 4200.00 and my property taxes have gone up 400.00. thats 4600..00 which is roughly 12% of my disposible income. I suggest that everyone in your department take a 15% reduction in salary and you'll still be ahead of me. we dont have any more money to give. sorry. like ron verb says "we are taxed out and the best place for my money is in my pocket". Just tighten up your belt another notch like alot of us in the valley have done. Youll manage to get by. we do

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30Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

The money can be raised ! Start a city wide sweep of drug dealers and confiscate all of their assets !

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311970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

like ron verb says "we are taxed out and the best place for my money is in my pocket".

Verb is right about that, but nonetheless the clown votes for people who want to raise taxes.

Maybe people in prosecutor's office deserve raise, I don't know, but 60% increase is insane.

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32ELJenkins(9 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Censoredship, the loan forgiveness programs are a blessing, but you need to have the money to make the 120 payments. I can't imagine the debt accrued by a law school students after seeing the damage my tab from YSU caused. I am now in a position that I can not take a job with average salary. My loan payments are absurd and my debt to credit ratio is shattered until I am 40 years old.
While I don't agree with a 60% increase wholeheartedly, this issue of low pay is the same reason we end up with what you have pegged "ineffective" teachers. Not many are able to take on a $24,000 a year position and pay their responsibilities. To attract the best and brightest, there needs to be incentives.

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33Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

The prosecutors office needs streamlined so that the cases move at a fast efficent pace . Far too many cases are taking far too much time . The fact is that there is a feeding frenzy upon the taxpayers and justice is not being served .

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34TeresaB(82 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Personally, I am glad to see he is asking for an increase. Although I do not like Gains, I agree he needs a increase of funds. Not only to give raises to the staff he already has but to attract better quality attorneys to his staff. The prosecutors office is grossly outgunned in the courtroom. As long as their current situation is allowed to continue, you will see outrageous plea deals and short sentences. The defense attorneys have them over a barrel, because not only is his staff overworked but they do not have nearly the skills of some of the defense attorneys.

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35Stormieangel(136 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

LowercaseG, do you own property and pay property tax? I do and I get about $700 each month; this is from social security and a small pension. Out of that I pay $250 for secondary insurance and I can't drop it because I have had liver cancer and never know when it will return. So that leaves me $450 to pay for house and car insurance, property taxes of about $1300 a year, utilities (I don't even have long distance), gas for my car (I live in the country so I have to have a car to get groceries) and somewhere I have to have food and co-pay on prescription drugs an I thank God that isn't a huge expenditure. Please, tell me how I can pay more taxes?
We are in an economical crisis. People have lost their jobs and have had to take lower paying jobs; others can't find jobs. People are losing their homes. Since you feel these people should get raises, please tell us how to bring that kind of money into the coffers. It isn't so much we don't think they deserve raises; it is simply the property owners cannot afford to pay out more.

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36candystriper(575 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Why can't civil servants ride around in a ox cart?
Why do the lawyers need a Mercedes?

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37TeresaB(82 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Sorry for your troubles. Have you applied for the homestead exemption for your property taxes? It is available for senior citizens, disabled persons and surving spouses. Given your low income and physical situation, I would think u would qualify. Here is the link to apply...


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38TeresaB(82 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

President Obama signed the overhaul of the student loan program. Included in that was a cap on payments at 10% or income above a standard living allowance. Here is the link for further info on that


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39YSUGRAD(134 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Tell this guy to pound salt, do it with less, your employees live in Mahoning county, you don't need 6 figures to live a good life in the valley. POUND SALT UNTIL IT STINGS GAINS!!!!

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40TeresaB(82 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

While he's "POUNDING SALT", the criminals will be pounding the pavement. It's not about whether they "deserve" a raise, it's about whether this city deserves better representation in the courtroom. It does and it will not get it without offering more money.

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41LowerCaseG(11 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Missed the debate for a few days...

First, the student loan cap is well and good, but it is important to remember that it was not created to bridge the gap between government and private salaries. It is an attempt to make it narrower in all actuality. People who take those jobs and manage to stay there for 10 years are still taking pay cuts even if a portion of their loans are forgiven.

Second, I am not pretending that the economic situation is ideal but there are, frankly, a good amount of reasons for paying these people. While some may be strapped financially (as a student I understand that argument) there is still the necessity of spending money to make money to accomplish desired results. I listed the benefits of increasing the salary of these individuals earlier.

Third, increasing property tax is not the only way to solve the problem of fund raising. Budget cuts, adjustments, and sales tax are some of the ways to get this accomplished.

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42nail_polish(5 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

OH....I see. Another reason why in today's paper, they are defending the reasons for plea bargains!

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