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Vindy introduces Government Watch

Published: Sun, April 17, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Todd Franko (Contact)

When government officials such as Mahoning County Engineer Dick Marsico or Prosecutor Paul Gains get tested on their pay-raise decisions as they have recently, they immediately are quick to say that they are good stewards of the public money they are given.

Similarly, you can hear school officials and various elected leaders echo the same thing.

Try to find a public boss who has not said they’re doing their best with your dollars.

If this were entirely true, then this would be true:

You could go to every website of every local entity in the Valley and see a current list of public salaries.

You would immediately know the salaries and benefits of top administrators — judges, superintendents and elected officeholders.

A click away would be the most recent contracts that direct work rules for teachers, road drivers or court employees.

Here’s your Sunday online test: Can you find this above information on the site of the school, village or county that is tasked to serve you?

You likely will not find it.

If you do, please email me so I can celebrate that government.

If the website service is hardly welcoming, less welcoming can be going to your local office as an average citizen and asking for such information. You thought you waited forever for Cedar Point roller coasters? The Millennium coaster has nothing on a local official who’s hell-bent on serving you as he or she defines it.

With that, I welcome you to Government Watch — a new effort by The Vindicator that we hope will give you further enlightenment into your tax dollars.

Today is the start of a process for us. It is by no means the end.

Government Watch is The Vindicator’s online repository for all those other bits of government information that you won’t see on their own sites.

Online now on vindy.com, you will find 10 years of salaries for Mahoning County. You will find Youngstown city salaries. For Salem readers, you will find five-year spending and salary histories.

The Western Reserve Fire District has all its salary and spending plans.

Poland schools offered this year’s salaries — but more on that in a minute.

So that’s our start for Government Watch.

It’s a bit bumpy. Some of the labeling is still raw, and you will have to wander a bit. All the documents must be downloaded to your desktops.

But unlike our government websites — you will have documents that shed light on some of the things most hotly debated in the SB 5 furor.

This is also your site in that if you have access to such documents, send them to us, and we will consider them.

We’d like work rules and contracts, sick-time payouts, raise histories, etc.

As I said, I also intend to celebrate government workers as well. Soon, you will read the list of concessions accepted by the Mahoning County deputies and any other similar measures.

This is not easy, and it’s typically not made easy by the folks we pay.

The irony of our launch of Government Watch is that we had our most unique challenge in, of all places, Poland schools — the place my kids call home and where my wife draws a paycheck.

We requested five years of salaries, but got one. I guess that’s a start — as is Government Watch overall. It’s a start.

Please email me with feedback and other records that will help fill this valuable page.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes e-mails about stories and our newspaper. E-mail him at tfranko@vindy.com. He blogs, too, on vindy.com.


11970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Wow. Very bold.

There actually is a website that already has all of the Ohio public employee salaries. I will look to see if I can find it again.

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21970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago


Here it is. All kind of interesting info.

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3Rights4All(3 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

hey todd. the more of you i read, the more i wonder if you are conducting in depth reporting or a good ole fashioned witch hunt. as you lead the blood thirsty throngs through the streets of our localities to mow over so called overpaid teachers, be sure there are no children under your feet.

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4mishmash(333 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Todd, show the chart with GAINS and MARSCIO's pay raises in 2011.

Show their top earners from 2010, their salaries and what they are going to make in 2011 and 2012.

Notice how this article began with the words, "When government officials such as.... MARSICO and GAINS MUST GO!

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5spinman(70 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Todd...please write an article on why the school administrators pay notthing towards their STRS. They receive 24% of salary in their STRS pension and contribute ZERO. Also how about retire rehire still receiving their STRS contribution while collecting their STRS pension. Please write an article on this before the MAY election.

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6badeepster(124 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Hey Frankfurter--since we consumers pay for the Vindicator, which by the way goes up and up, how about posting the salaries of hacks like you and Todor. Don't we have the right to know that as well?

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The Vindy has touched upon some raw nerves . Gluttony in government is good . Only the exposure of it is bad . Why ? Exposure turns off the taxpayers . What they don't know if exposed may very well end their support .

Just remember that austerity is good for the little people . Who are the little people ? The common taxpayer who is constantly asked to put more in the trough .



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81970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I suspect that many agencies don't post the salaries on line because most people find it kind of tacky to talk about how much (or little) people make.

I realize this is public record for govt employees, and nothing wrong with printing. But I have never liked discussing with friends and family how much money they make regardless if they are in govt. or private sector.

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92muchtax(895 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Todd Thank you and the vindicator for being brave enough to make this public info. possible. Dr Zorn should be fired in Poland for doing what was usual hide the salaries atleast until the TAX lEVY passes. These public pensions I have looked at are unbelieveable 50-60000 a year You can also goto www.buckeyeinstitute.com and they have a very good website. Marsico is kept in office by the all the county employees who make sure he gets elected by installing the signs so he could cave into every union contract. He needs to go.

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102muchtax(895 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Thanks to Dave&Jessie, the youtube video on Sandy Lake, Georgia was very interesting to watch. Almost as interesting as the www.buckeyeinstitute.org website

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11NoBS(2763 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

FIrst, envy is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It was the reason Cain slew his brother Abel. One of the Ten Commandments calls it a sin. Yet here we have a newspaper editor doing his best to stir up envy, and by the way boost his sagging circulation numbers.

Integrity would require that one reveal his own income before one complained publicly about the income of another, yet Franko, deSouza, and the others jealously guard that information even while complaining bitterly and enviously about the income of others.

The Pro-SB 5 crowd is already cranking up the smear tactics in their effort to preserve the attempted return to the days of patronage, cronyism, and nepotism that SB 5 would produce.

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12badeepster(124 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Why do all of you low-life unemployment check cashers begrudge what these educators make? These people went to school at the highest of levels to get these jobs and wealthier towns like Canfield pay their people more so they can get a higher quality employee. If your jealous, get off the couch, gas up the truck, and go back to school to make something of yourself.

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13Ginger76(178 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

If we are going to be fair, should you not report the wages/benefits of the library, wrta and the metroparks? Afterall, as a taxpayer, shouldn't everyone's salary be scrutinized, or are some just off limits?

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14badeepster(124 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

There's not enough cheese to go with the never-ending whine about "pillaging the taxpayers." People who are public employees are also taxpayers. And you pay taxes for services. If the price of education is too high in Canfield or Poland, move where it's cheaper.

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15walter_sobchak(2674 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Thank you for reminding me that envy is one of the seven deadly sins. But, so is greed! And, when I see the numbers that some of the public employees are making in times of economic recession, I get upset. Righteous indignation is NOT one of the seven deadly sins.

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16badeepster(124 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

The majority of whiners posting here have the classic Y-town mentality. If I don't have it, you shouldn't either. If I'm miserable, you should be as well.

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17ytown1(398 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

No badpeepster, it is more likely the other way, the haves (Public Unions) Have and do not want to give up anything that was begotten in less than honorable ways, which I am referring to is the accumulated vacation/Sick days, no pay/no co-pay insurance, contributing very little if any to their PERS, all behind closed doors negotiations, or given freely through binding arbitration, which amazingly never is decided in favor of the taxpayers, Funny fact? Don't you think?

"If I'm miserable, you should be as well."

I think not, what we would prefer is to keep what we have so we can get a little closer to what you have.

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18Ginger76(178 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I would like to see all salaries/benefits of the Library system, WRTA, and the Metroparks so all things can be examined equally. Can we please have this posted for all to see, I hope they are not off limits for any reason.
Reporting should be fair, not selective.

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