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Mahoning CSB approves pay raises for workers

Published: Wed, November 17, 2010 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken



By a vote of 9-1 and one abstention, the Mahoning County Children Services Board has approved pay raises for its union workers.

Board member Victoria Wiery cast the no vote, and board member Bev Reyes abstained.

The county commissioners must now approve the increases if they are to take effect.

The 3-percent cost-of-living raises had been scheduled to take effect Feb. 1 of each year. They were included in a three-year contract between CSB and the Communications Workers of America that took effect Feb. 1, 2009.

The raises were never granted because the county commissioners approved the contract, but with a salary freeze. CSB employees haven’t had a pay raise since January 2008.

The 115-member union, which represents clerical and group-home workers and social workers at the child-welfare agency, recently asked that the raises be revisited. The social workers average about $32,000 a year in salary.

With union members filling almost all available seats in the audience at Tuesday’s CSB meeting, the vote on the pay raises followed CSB’s approval of a 2011 budget. That budget anticipates a carry-in of $5.1 million from 2010, revenues of $13.17 million and expenses of $15.8 million, including money to cover the pay raises.

The board entered this year with a $7 million carry-over from 2009, and projects revenues for this year at $14 million and expenses at $15.95 million.

The votes to approve the budget and the pay raises came just two weeks after voters renewed by a 2-1 margin the board’s county-wide 0.85-mill, five-year real estate tax levy, which raises $1.75 million annually.

“Is there a reason why this was brought out so soon after the levy passing? I’ve been deluged with calls,” Reyes said. “It’s just really bad timing. ... It brought an outcry throughout the community,” she added.

“They’ll never vote for another children’s levy again,” Wiery said of the voters.

“I really got some very angry phone calls from voters,” she said. “Many, many people are being laid off. ... It just is not appropriate” to grant raises in the current economic climate, she added.

Board Member Calvin Jones said the raises were tabled until the board could be assured of having the continued income from passage of the levy.

“This is a collective bargaining agreement that we signed and are bound to uphold,” said Board Member Bridget Kennedy.

Luis Arroyo, board chairman, asked the board’s lawyer, Thomas Infante, what might happen if the board rejects the pay increases.

Infante replied that the union and management would have to go back to the bargaining table and the union might issue a strike notice or go to mediation. The money for the raises has been in the board’s budgets in 2009 and 2010, he noted. “This was money that has already been allocated. It’s not new money,” he said.

Reyes said she’d be surprised if the county commissioners approve the raises in the current climate of impending further layoffs in county government.

John H. Jemison, a placement worker belonging to the CWA, said that he agreed with the board’s decision on the raises. “We’re only asking for what they had approved before,” said Jemison, who has worked for the county since January 1990.


1TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

If the County Commissioners approve this raise they must all be removed from office; RECALLED; period.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

The taxpayers are taking it in the arse again from the CSB levy. I hope the commissioners do the right thing and reject the raises which are absoultely wrong in this bad economy. As I always say when it comes to these kind of tax levies - it's not about the CSB clients or School kids, it's all about increasing the overgenerous pay, healthcare, and pension benefits for the public employee union workers and their supervisors.

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3NYR1(19 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I am with peggy6. I have always voted for these things, but if this fiasco goes through, they can forget my votes in the future. What a scam they pulled on us.

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Lame-Duck David, Two-Tony Tony and Ursuline Grad/Cafaro family friend John McNally will cave in and give the CSB the raises - knowing that the SPINDIcator will protect them and the voters who are sheep and lemmings in this community will forget all about it next election time AND still vote for more tax levies to support a select few of people known as government workers.

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5fb128(2 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

once again ha ha on the voters what a joke i'll never vote for this again

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6RubyGirl(22 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Are you people really posting these statements over a three percent cost of living increase?

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7palbubba(664 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

How about a 0% increase that all of us on Social Security received. RubyGirl attitude is the problem, ONLY 3%. I'm glad to see that some people seem to be getting it and say they will not vote for these levies in the future. I sure hope they remember that when they come up. I still contend that each levy passage always means pay raise. Based on that premise I say vote no on EVERY tax and levy until elected officials get the message.

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8walter_sobchak(1922 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago


That is the kind of thinking that gets govt in trouble, like in California. For the avg wage listed of the 115 workers, this is an extra $110,000 over a three year contract. Maybe they could hire an extra person or two. I dodn't vote for this last levy and will not vote for another one. I haven't had a raise in over two years also and I don't see one coming anytime soon as health care premiums keep eating up any possible increase in salary.

ANd, to the Vindicator and Peter H. Milliken:
You report that the average CSB employee has a $32,000 salary per year. I doubt they are on salary but are paid an hourly wage. Big difference! I am on salary, a fixed income to do my work in however many hours it takes, which is never only 40 per week. These people most likely make overtime for any "work" they would do in excess of the normal 8 hour work day. Now, tell me I am wrong or learn how to report correctly because words have meanings!

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9AtownParent(562 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I voted No for this levy. Why? Because the last time it passed they got raises. How could you all not think that it would happen again? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice....

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10bone303(3 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I didn't vote for this levy and won't support it in the future. People who work in the private sector like my self haven't a salary increase in 3 years because of this economy. The citizens of this community pass a levy and the first thing they do is grant pay raises. If this isn't arrogant I don't know what is.

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11Wakeup722(37 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Walter_sobchak: I just wanted to clarify that CSB workers are on a 40 hour week salary with no overtime paid.

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12mrblue(999 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Never again will I vote for a CSB levy. If the commissioners OK the raises, then they need replaced. I guess that some people just don't get it. Once again GREED rears its ugly head. That's right-----GREED. These people act like they are the only ones who haven't had a raise in awhile.

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13AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago


330-740-2130 PHONE
330-740-2006 FAX



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14CompMan(125 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Why not have all employees donate their raises - these are not real COLA's - (like other Mah. county leaders did) to the commissioners whilst they still have their pensions and benefits based on the higher amount. I can not wait until our new Governor attacks the public pay, benefits and pension funds.

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15ytown_kills_me(64 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

the commissioners have no say its always KING george that rules this county...why do we elect commissioners and have tablack there to make all the decisions ????????

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16walter_sobchak(1922 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

If this is true, I am wrong and I am, most certainly, stunned! The question then is simple, can management direct them to work 45 or 50 hours per week since the Mahoning County budget is lacking?

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17sided7(19 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Why is it that any county employee is getting a raise when so many of our deputies are laid off?

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18Wakeup722(37 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Stan....most CSB workers work over 40 hours a week and are not paid overtime. They are required to "flex" the hours. (If you work 10 hrs one day, then you work 6 hours the next day). Most of the time the workers are not able to flex their hours because of volume of work that there is.

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19jussy76(6 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

These people deserve WAY more than they are paid. This is something that I can personally speak on unlike most people on here that just seem to be anti-government who won't be satisfied no matter what. I did this job for nearly two years when I first graduated, and it had me running with my social work degree to the hospitals. These are all very decent people who work in a SERIOUSLY flawed field, and that's not their fault. I was terrified often at work faced BY MYSELF with drug addicts, prostitutes, and full blown PSYCHOS armed with a pen and notebook with a whole set of laws and guidelines that I had to respect.. A former co-worker I still have contact with was robbed in the projects about a year ago. And it seems like this money has already been approved years before this levy, so why would you want your tax dollars just sitting in the bank for no reason? Blame the commissioners for that, this should have been handled then. Not to mention they did not replace two TOP level executives in order to hire more line staff. You people are complaining about a part of the levy that in terms of the entire fund is a minute percentage. Give these people a break because daily they already experience damned if you do, damned if you don't all day every day.

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20TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

A $7.50/hr. Call Center job in the private sector cannot support even a public sector job paying $12.00/hr. In fact, it should be, as it always was long ago, the other way around. If not, we do with less government workers.

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21Millie(192 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Can someone list the names of the board and what their occupation is or where they work? We need to know who they are and what they were thinking?

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22Stormieangel(136 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I didn't vote for this levy. Why? Many years ago a father and mother were reported for child abuse. I SAW the huge bruise they put on their daughter's bare rear end. Yes, the dad beat the naked daughter with a belt because they found cigarettes in her purse. They even made her eat some of those cigarettes. How do I know this is true? The mother told me. The school was notified and a social worker came out to the home and stated to the mother that she knew they were not abusive for they had a beautiful and clean home. It was suggested they seek counseling but that suggestion never came to be for the mother didn't think THEY needed counseling. I have had no use for Children's Service since that time; they let that girl down. Years have passed and that girl still has some 'issues' and there is no communication with the miserable parents. So someone didn't do their job for the money the taxpayers gave them. And I get $700 income a month and no raise on my social security. So if I live on $8400 a year, which is poverty, why would I feel bad for someone making $32,000? And they go into that job knowing, as a salaried employee, there is no overtime pay. But let's think about their fringe benefits package and I still can't feel sorry for them. They don't like their pay, try getting another job and then let the jobless in this area know where those top dollar jobs are located. A lot of men and women out of work would love to have them or take over that $32,000 a year job. My feelings are to quit voting for levies except for fire levies and maybe police levies. Only the voters can make a difference. Keep voting YES and nothing will change except our taxes going higher and higher!!!

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23Wakeup722(37 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Stormieangel....why don't you apply at Csb if you think the job is easy and you obviously you feel you are an expert on child abuse as your posting clearly demonstrates. Oh by the way.... It sounds like you are not happy about getting a raise from social security. If you are not happy then why don't you go find a job and quit posting something you know nothing about.

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24jussy76(6 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Another point that should be made here. If someone is unhappy with the way that CSB handled a case, then you should be NOT mad at the workers who are trying to address the situation with the family, but rather contact your lawmakers in Columbus who outline what child abuse is. People seem the think that CSB has this magical power that doesn't exist. Ohio Revised Code states what child abuse is, and in most instances bruises on the butt would not result in a finding of child abuse. Parents have paramount rights in regards to their children and what interventions can be done, hence the ENTIRE system is flawed, and again you cannot be mad at the workers who are just doing their jobs. What makes people think that because the economy is bad, no one deserves a raise? It's obvious here that the officials at CSB are handling the taxpayer money well or it wouldn't be able to fit into their budget. And with them making decisions to eliminate chiefs and hire more indians shows they are committed to trying to get as many people out there serving the public as possible. I really wish some one you on here could experience this type of job as I previously did, even for 6 months, I guarentee your tune would change.


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25lovedrama(138 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

yeah Stormie angel -get off your lazy ass and get a job. These workers at csb probably need post traumatic stress couseling for what they witness everyday--probably families like yours-lazy, government sponging ghetto talking idiots with entitlement issues. Why should someone on social security get a raise-they are no longer contributing anything. These CSB workers are loooong overdue-it is so obvious that nobody posting here has a clue what they do and how emotionally draining it is to work there. Go sit in the waiting room some day-guarantee any normal person will leave in disgust after an hour of being exposed to the trash that the workers have to be decent to.

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26coupie(21 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago


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27catlover(17 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Some of you people must be brain dead, drunk or on drugs. To deny any social worker a stinking 3% pay raise needs to get counseling. You have not one iota of a clue what those caseworkers go through. They protect innocent, defenseless children. How can anyone of you say they don't deserve a minimal payraise. they haven't had one in 3 years and they do not get paid overtime. Before anyone claims to know fact needs to find out before they blow their mouths off. How would you like to be called to a hospital a look at a 6 week old baby with shaken child's syndrome and have the doctor tell you their baby's brain is like mush and look at that baby with broken bones? Who do you think has the guts to do that? Which one of you brain dead heads would like to be called out to a house in the slums with a father who rapes his 2 year old on a daily basis? Which one of you brave souls would like to get into a car and transport a killer all by yourself. This killer was a throw away child, raped most of his life and shot at by his drugged up father and a mother who could care less? Now tell me is it worth a stinking $32,000.00 a year? No but you'll cry about not getting a cost of living increase from SSA. Let me tell you they deserve a lot more than you fools. They can have my cost of living increase from SSA that I didn't get for 2 years because they more than deserve it. Wake up you fools. What is wrong with you people? These workers deserve so much more and they are the most underpaid workers there is. I worked for your lousy SSA and made twice the amount those social workers made and didn't have to put up with one iota of what a CSB worker puts up with in fact I was offered a job at CSB and knew there was no way I could take that sorrow home with me night after night. Get a grip.

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28MSme3(7 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

"the board's county-wide 0.85 mill 5 year real estate tax levy which raises 1.75 million annually."

So, just bouncing off of walter_sobchak's estimation that this raise costs approximately $110,000 per year. hmmmm. so basically, that means that of the 1.75 million levy a little over ONE HALF OF ONE PERCENT actually goes towards these worker's raises..WOW. I'm kind of shocked by the public's response thinking the levy was all about giving these employees a raise because really it's only costing the average home owner about a quarter, if that, to give these people who seem to have a pretty difficult job to do a raise. And reading the articles that these raises were budgeted for and approved 3 years ago I would think people should be more supportive of these public employees. But then again, IGNORANCE IS BLISS.. Have a good day all:)

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29catlover(17 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

MSme3 Don't look for support from those people just because you have a government job they think you've got the tiger by the tail. Little do they know how hard you work. I worked for the federal government, state government and the private sector. I worked harder for the government whether it be federal or state than I ever worked for the private sector. All I know is that with what a CSB worker has to put up they deserve 3 time their pay not 3 %. Thank goodness there is people like CSB workers who give their time and service for those children for such minimal pay.

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30Wakeup722(37 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Stormieangel... Another thing that justifies your ignorance...Csb workers have "fringe benefits"???? What do you call fringe benefits? While you are at home safely during the day and
Sleeping in your warm bed at night, Csb workers are putting their lives in danger everyday by going into crime infested areas unprotected and alone! How would you like to knock on someones door and not know who or what will happen next. How would you like to wake up at 3am to
investigate a 3 month old baby who was on life support because they were slammed against the wall, their brain bleeding and they have multiple broken bones. Some fringe benefits! Keep on collecting your social security because I really would not want you working in the community with your lack of intelligence and

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31walter_sobchak(1922 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago


The picture you paint about what a typical CSB worker has to go through is awful! And, to have to transport a killer by themselves is not right, especially for only $32,000 per year and no overtime.

Wait, I know, let pay the worker 3 times the pay and give them $96,000 per year! Now, it makes sense to do the job and have to put up with the terrible conditions.

If the situations that you describe are true, then crimes have been commited and law enforcement personnel need to be contacted and used. Your argument seems to be a bit specious.

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32Wakeup722(37 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

Walter...many times Csb workers do transport juvenile criminals alone. Many had committed armed robberies, assault, carrying concealed weapons, gang members and have been charged with rape. Csb has to find appropriate placements for these juveniles because juvenile court will not or can not order these kids to go to DYS due to budget cuts so Csb is forced to take custody. And...some of these kids do commit murder when they are adults.

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33catlover(17 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

So Walter thinks it sounds a little suspicious that social workers may have to transport a killer. Here is a few social workers that have been killed in the line of duty: Terri Zenner, Brenda Lee Yeager, Donna Millette-Fridge, Steven Tielker, Rebecca Binkowski, Barbara Synnestvedt, Robbyn Panitch, Ladonna Wolford, Norma Fournier. These are just a few. Walter why don't you Goggle about social workers killed in the line of duty by clients. It will tell you in no uncertain terms that police and firemen are not the only people who put their lives in the line of duty so does the lowly paid social worker.

Talks about a raise for these CSB workers have been going on for a long time so the public didn't get duped these poeple are just now getting what they deserve. Isn't it worth a quarter of your tax dollars to these people? Stop and think before you all speak or should I say write. Look at your taxes and see how much goes to schools? The majority of it does and not one word about that. It disusts me to think you would begrudge these hard workers a lousy 3% raise.

Social Workers are the lowest paid job but thank God there is people who are willing to do that work. What would happen to these children if these people only cared about the money and not the children. Shame on all of you who begrudge them this minimal raise.

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34MSme3(7 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

My sister is a social worker in a neighboring county. I cringe every time I think of her out there, but she has a great heart and tries her best to help people. She goes into crack houses begging parents to get treatment for the sake of their children. She has driven these people around looking for jobs, taking them to counseling, again all to try to make a better home life for these kids. She and the others do so much to try to help these lost souls get right. And Walter, the best point you have made is that law enforcement should be involved in some of this. But what are the social workers supposed to do? Call YPD and wait an hour or two to help look into a dangerous situation for a child? No, they just go into it trying their best to make things better for the kids. And I agree with so tired, it wasn't the best PR move, and I'm thankful I can do the math and see the big picture here that the levy truly had nothing to do with the raises which account for a TINY part of the levy.. I only hope others do, and the representation on this is a small percentage of the community's feelings as a whole.

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35UWS(5 comments)posted 3 years, 11 months ago

I can't believe how one sided the stories have been about CSB workers from the media. Frankly, I would be embarrassed to publish stories without researching some facts. Some one needs to start years ago and look at how different agencies managed their budgets. CSB has always been frugel.Employees have always received minimal raises and were requested to hold off on this one by the very people who are acting surprised. Could it be some people are trying to take the focus off of themselves and their on- going legal battles which is being paid by who???

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36southsidedave(4784 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Wow, I see we have some really upset people, and that is putting it mildly!

With that said, I think some of you would feel differently if you needed the 3% raise.

My company froze our raises for the next 2 years, and then generously allowed us a 1.5% raise this year, yet, the executives continue to receive huge bonuses.

Don't deny the government worker a raise, we all need our money.

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37unhappyvoter1(87 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

this is just not the right time for the raises. many county government workers are laid off. many private sector people are laid off. this is like a slap in the face to them and the generous taxpayers. i really have to say if you don't like the pay then quit and see what else may be out there for you. i bet you will remain where your at.

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38youngstowntransplant(28 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

All I have to say is Thanks for the slap in the face Commissioners...............

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39TheLostPatrol(756 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Now, if the Vindy would have combined the two story headlines we would have gotten...
"Mahoning CSB approves pay raises for workers as 2 million lose jobless benefits as holidays arrive".

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40hardworker68(5 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

TheLostPatrol....so how is it CSB worker's faults that 2 million will lose their jobless benefits before the holidays? The benefits have been extended to 99 weeks. In my calculations that is almost 2 years. I was on unemployment for 1 year and now am working 2 jobs to make ends meet just so I do not have to collect unemployment benefits. I would hope the Commissioners approve the pay raises for the CSB workers.

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41AntiEntitlement(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I am so fed up with all these people whinin bout unemployment. It needs to be cut at some point anyway. All you doing is giving people free money to sit at home. Most people who want to work and feel its important only lean on unemployment for a short time and do what they gotta do work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet.At leaset that's what my mama taught me. Nowadays, thanks to unemployment and the beautiful welfare system that was created (thanks nixon, thanks johnson) we have a whole population of people who think they are entitled to be cared for by the government. Hey if you can't find a job, here are some tips: put in applications everyday daily, call to inquire about your application after is has been submitted, if you get an interview be on time, look clean, talk like you have at least a 9th grade education, if you get the job show up for work! I refuse to buy into this BS, people just don't want to work or think they are too good to work the jobs available. I'm not sayin this goes for everyone but most! I refuse to have that type of thinking or blame these CSB workers for unemployment. I'm assuming they all have a college degree. I only wish I went to college so I wouldnt have to deal with the crappy jobs out there but hey you do what you gotta do work hard and keep your dependence on the system to a minimum!

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