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Officials face tough decisions on budget

Published: Sun, December 11, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.


By Peter H. Milliken



Mahoning County commissioners have been bombarded with $7,324,562 worth of wage increases, additional staffing and additional operating and capital expense requests from county departments as the commissioners prepare to enact a 2012 budget this week.

The biggest extra requests are coming from the sheriff’s office and facilities maintenance department, according to a “general fund decision items” summary prepared last week by the county’s Office of Management and Budget.

“We did encourage the departments to ask for what they needed. ... They understand they’re probably not going to get a lot of these things, but they asked for what they wanted to run their departments efficiently and effectively,” said Barbara J. Sours, budget director.

With general-fund budget requests from county departments totaling some $63.3 million for next year, and with a budget target of $47.9 million, the commissioners face difficult choices.

Sheriff Randall A. Wellington is seeking an extra $230,377 to give a 3 percent pay increase to all of his staff, if such raises emerge from labor negotiations.

He’s also seeking $76,029 to cover pay increases associated with seven promotions in the gold unit of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 141, which represents ranking officers.

The sheriff’s additional requests also include $2,226,844 to return all 37 laid-off deputies to work; $1,611,355 to add 32 employees to fully staff the main jail and reopen and staff the minimum-security jail for overnight use; $473,572 to pay for the return of eight deputies from leaves of absence; $436,152 for state-minimum training expenses; and $150,000 for five vehicles.

The capital budget requests are the sheriff’s request for a $460,000 self-contained indoor firing range for weapons qualification and the coroner’s request for a $150,000 X-ray machine.

Sgt. Thomas DeGenova, fiscal officer in the sheriff’s department, said he is researching the possibility of obtaining a federal homeland security grant for the firing range.

The facilities department is calling for $125,703 to fund a 3 percent pay increase for all 29 members of its staff.

That department also wants funds for wages and benefits for five additional positions: $113,876 for two custodians; $81,154 for a jail electrician; $80,752 for a boiler mechanic; and $51,765 for an administrative assistant.

County Recorder Noralynn Palermo, who has a staff of six, including herself, seeks $34,996 for pay and benefits for a new, entry-level deputy recorder — her first new hire in 11 years.

Palermo said she needs the new employee because two of her employees have “major medical problems” and are taking significant sick leave and because her long-tenured employees average three weeks of annual vacation time.

The recorder’s office is the repository for landownership records for all of the county’s 166,000 real-estate parcels. As The Vindicator reported last week, Palermo’s office has witnessed an invasion in the past year as title searchers review public records to identify current owners of oil and gas rights.

Other departments’ pay-increase requests are: $20,444 for a 3 percent pay increase for all county auditor’s office staff; $7,250 for a 2.5 percent increase for all court bailiffs; $26,924 for various pay increases for eight juvenile court employees; $33,244 for 3 percent to 10 percent wage increases for veterans’ service commission staff; and $17,213 for 3 percent pay increases for all data processing staff.

Also requested is a combined total of $55,556 to cover increased rents for the area courts in Austintown, Boardman and Canfield.


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

All it would take is for every public employee in Mahoning County to pay their fair share for healthcare and pension. 15% and 10% sounds about right to me. Budget balanced - budget problem solved!

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2cookiemonster(1 comment)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree with the above post along with revamping ALL depts in ALL county jobs. You have 5 people being paid to do a 1 person job & some of these wages are $40k+ to file, fax, etc (like seriously?)
If county employees worked in private sector they wouldn't last a week or maybe a day!!!! Gov't jobs, gov't monies are a rip off to tax payers!!!

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3NoBS(2315 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I hate to inform you two of this, and upset your delusions, but just about all the Mahoning County public employees already pay their fair share, and already pay at least 15% of their health care and 10% of their pensions.

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

With big time elections coming up, the county treasury will be opened up for a massive influx of cash into both the government workers and the county vendors hands. They in turn will kick back to the candidates and their allies votes, yard signs and campaign contributions.

Then will come the (gulp) need for a new and higher sales tax to pay for the goodies.

Can hear 'Dancing' Dan Rivers now "The new 10% sales tax is paid for by shoppers who live outside our area. Go to mall and check the license plates."

Can hear Bill "Smelly' Kelly saying the same thing in round the clock editorial on his stations while he put the kabosh on any callers who disagree with 'Dancing' Dan.

Better yet, The SPINdicator will run daily front page editorials demanding the tax payers ante up for 'good government', because you get what you pay for.

It's been 12 years since Peat Marwick said we should consolidate our county court system - this years budget has more than $50,000 in HIGHER rents for the privately owned buildings those courts are in.

IF Oakhill was a 'good deal' for the taxpayer - why hasn't Gaines, Traficanti and all the other Oakhill drum beaters demanded the consolidation of courts?

Because then those building owners won't kick back campaign contributions and those court employees and their families will not support them.

People of Mahoning County: You are held hostage by 10,000 people who enrich themselves daily and on YOUR dollars.

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5southsidedave(5126 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The problems faced by Mahoning County commissioners are not unique.

These problems exist in every county across the U.S. - high pay and generous benefits have over-taxed the public and drained budgets

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6michael1757(401 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Wellington's on his way out,so he want's to give the deputies a raise. Why can't they make it on what their making now? I get SSD,& I didn't even make $800 a year last,well,this year,& beginning in Jan,I'm gonna break the 800 dollar mark. I think,805,maybe 4. Anyway,I'm making a house payment,gas,water,phone,tv,& even this internet connection,& I'm makin' it. Barely,I grant you,but I'm happy. Sure,they're cop's,putting their lives on the line,but I didn't tell em' to be cop's,I thought that was a calling. I hope they didn't become cop's for the money. If we've,they've, gone this far,I think we could go on for another year or 2.

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7db(280 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Let's take back the $563,000 severance check given to Youngstown's retiring sheriff, Little Jimmy Hughes. He'll still receive his $100,000 a year retirement pay + health insurance from our taxes so he shouldn't squeal too much. After all, the double dipper is running for sheriff now (he apparently needs to get his snout deeper in the public trough).

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8Superman(31 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

The goal of every public employee is to get as many dips as possible. Single dippers are laughed at. Accumulating that sick time and cashing out at the highest (last 3 years) wage is crazy and taxpayers should be outraged.

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92muchtax(692 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Hughes gets 563,000, dr wendy Webb steals111,000 of the taxpayers money with the unions consent. Wellinton has double dipped for 20 yrs. Fire n police retire then work another 3yrs and double dip. 1000.00 uniform allowance to even the secretaries since they are in union too. Ohio state patrol retire after 20 yrs to double dip as trk inspectors and get two retirements. All while the private employees get none of this but have to pay for it. Sick time 6days use or lose it after dec31st. Get rid of retirement after 30yrs so we don't have o many people retiring at 48 n 50 yrs old then living off the taxpayers for the next 40 yrs.

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102muchtax(692 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Why doesn't the windy take a look at how may cops n fireman are double dipping or on disability.

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112muchtax(692 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Why doesn't the windy take a look at how may cops n fireman are double dipping or on disability.

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