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Gains, Marsico wrong in granting pay raises



Published: Sun, February 13, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Mahoning County commission- ers have to do more than just give Prosecutor Paul Gains and Engineer Richard Marsico a verbal thrashing for granting pay raises to some of their employees. They should present the two officeholders an ultimatum: Withdraw the increases or suffer the wrath of the keepers of the public purse.

Commissioners Anthony Traficanti, John McNally and Carol Rimedio-Righetti control the county’s general fund, which supports most departments.

Thus, the trio could cut funding to the prosecutor’s office by $197,670, which is the increase in salaries Gains is paying this year compared with 2010. All his 32 assistant prosecutors are getting more money — ranging from 3 percent to 22 percent. The 22 percent was given to Rebecca Doherty because of her promotion to chief of the criminal division.

Gains, who has been the county’s chief lawyer for 15 years and is up for re-election in 2012, is unapologetic and, in fact, insists that the pay boosts are justified, proper and reasonable. He is wrong, of course, which is why the commissioners must do more than just talk about how disappointed they are in him.

A reduction in his funding may well result in a lawsuit being filed by the prosecutor, but that isn’t a bad thing. In a court proceeding, Gains would be required to support his contention that the office would lose experienced staff members if they aren’t compensated adequately and demonstrate that his employees lag behind their peers in comparable counties.

Engineer’s office

As for the county engineer, the commissioners have no control over his budget since the office gets its money from gasoline tax, license plate fees and fines.

Marsico gave $70,242 in increases to five engineers on his staff, and, like Gains, defends his action on the grounds that his people are deserving of the higher salaries, which he says are comparable to what the Ohio Department of Transportation pays.

While commissioners Traficanti, McNally and Rimedio-Righetti do not have the power of the purse when it comes to the engineer’s office, they do have the authority to ask the state auditor’s office to conduct a performance audit.

If Marsico refuses to rollback the pay raises, the independent evaluation of his office, especially with regard to staffing and compensation, must follow.

Both the prosecutor and the engineer make the argument that their employees are so valuable that losing them would cause Mahoning County government undue hardship.

We have rarely bought the argument that government employees are indispensable, and we certainly aren’t buying the claim that good people will leave in droves.

Where will they go in this economy, with a national unemployment rate of 9 percent and a local jobless rate in double digits? There are veteran lawyers and engineers who would jump at the chance to work in the public sector, where the salaries are respectable, the benefits are exceptional and the pensions are unmatched.

One reason for padding the pay of any government worker is clear: the higher the salary, the larger the pension. It isn’t about job performance or the threat of departure. It’s all about public employees fattening their wallets at the expense of the private sector taxpayers.

Gains, Marsico and every other officeholder be warned: Get with the program, or you’ll be trampled in the rush by private sector taxpayers to oust you.


Comments

1author50(1121 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

When did you guys/gals wake up from the total rubber stamping spending/taxing binge editorials that you were writing since 2000 in County government?

Well done - keep up the scruitny!

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2HonestAbe(244 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Can't really comment on the Gaines situation...but with regard to the engineers....their salaries actually seem to be below what an experienced engineer would make in the private sector. Playing the devil's advocate here...is your point that absolutely NO public employee is deserving of a raise, even if it is based on merit?

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3ComeOnMan(17 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Raises average over $14,000 each for 5 people.

Development and construction work in the area at record lows.

Public tax dollars being spent from people who are being asked to take pay cuts and pay more for benefits.

The whole thing is making a big smell that needs to be honestly looked into.
That is the legitament point here.

Turn the whole place inside out and publish the details. If it's warranted then so be it.

If it isn't then we have a problem.


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4mrblue(923 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

The commissioners have got to act and quickly against these two arrogant____'s. We tax-payers are watching. Enough is enough.

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5ytown1(390 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Why address that loaf1,

When the assistant prosecutors are plea dealing everything that comes their way, they have plenty of time to browse careerbuilder.com, craigslist and the vindy want ads looking for new employment.

They're doing their job aren't they? Paul doesn't seem to have a problem with that?

Now that they all have raises they can browse for home improvements, a new house or a even new Mercedes, or other luxuries they desire since they now have the money to pay for it?

What's a matter loaf1 are you jealous? That is what the other public union workers say when we complain about how much more they make than the private sector. Or you just another greedy republican that wants these poor souls to work for Wal Mart slave wages?

I do have one observation though for Marsico, how many engineers does it take to have a pot hole patched? We all know how many bridges and roads the county is building on their own, I mean aren't most bridges and roads taken care of by the state or federal entities? And even then you could sub out to the state for engineers if you have a need, we are already paying them with these taxes already? Just a thought, How about that Vindy, could you check into that theory for us?

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6unhappyvoter1(87 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

ALL ARE FRIENDS SO THEY WILL GET A RAISE. OTHER COUNTY EMPLOYEES GET LAID OFF.

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7UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Gains & Marsico did the taxpayers an injustice. The commissioners need to do them one - withdraw their budgets!

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8mrblue(923 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

The ambulance chaser's law firm is getting smaller. I wonder why. Have you seen the latest ads?

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9spinman(70 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

The comment about engineers making more in the private sector is bogus. When you factor in PERS at 15% and their pension after 30 years, there is no comparison. Nowhere in the private sector can you retire after 30 years with 80% of your top paying 3 years and medical benefits.

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101970mach1(1005 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

315.06 Removal of engineer by civil action.
Any person may bring a civil action in the court of common pleas against the county engineer, alleging such engineer’s incapacity, misconduct in office, or neglect of duty. A copy of the petition with the summons shall be served on such engineer. Such cause shall have precedence over other business, and, if upon trial thereof, the court finds an engineer guilty of any of the charges, by the judgment of the court he shall be removed from office.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

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111970mach1(1005 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

313.06 Duties of coroner and deputies.
The coroner, his deputy, and assistants shall be available at all times for the performance of their duties as set forth in sections 313.01 to 313.22, inclusive, of the Revised Code.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

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12johnyoung(231 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

Marsico's argument according to the TV coverage is that his 5 professional engineers are valuable and have actually saved the County money. When politicians make statements like that, why does the news media never ask the next logical question: "What do they do and how are they saving the county money?"

5 professional engineers should be capable of turning out a lot of projects per year. I would like Marsico to explain exactly what engineering projects have these 5 individuals accomplished without the use of outside engineering consultants? If they are turning out several millions of dollars worth of engineering work per year, then maybe he's right. If not and they are just pushing paper, then his argument doesn't hold water.

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13SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 3 years, 2 months ago

they are not saving the county money!!!!!

5 professional engineers should be able to turn out a lot of projects per year. I would like Marsico to explain exactly what engineering projects have these 5 individuals accomplished without the use of outside engineering consultants. Remember 1 professional engineer, if properly/efficiently positioned, could delegate to 10 technical and admin. support staff. With 5 professional engineers, there should be no outside consultants. Did I say outside consultants? Thats a story for another day; and another investigative reporter.

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