Bargaining legislation takes us back in time

Its back to the fu- ture for the middle class and for all public employees in Ohio. As you read this letter, a bill is working its way through the Ohio State Legislature to repeal all collective bargaining for all Ohio public employees. Public employees would become “at will.” Legally this means they can be fired, hired or promoted for a good reason, a bad reason or no reason whatsoever.

The proponents of the “back to the future bill,” the Republicans and Gov. John Kasich, bolstered by their recent gains, are citing the crushing debt and the elimination of the collective bargaining as a way to help the deficit in Ohio. Nothing could be more untrue. This is nothing more than a good old fashion “political payback” by our governor, and his arguments about them adding to the deficit is disingenuous at best.

I want to remind the citizens why and how we ever got collective bargaining some 28 years ago.

No one would debate that political patronage or cronyism is bad for a government. Yet these were the core reasons why we enacted collective bargaining in Ohio. A system that took the “who” you know out of hiring, firing and promoting for almost all public employees. Sen. Harry Meshel was the senate majority leader who brought collective bargaining to Ohio for the very reason cited in this letter.

Now in the guise of a deficit savings they would bring good old fashion political patronage and cronyism right back into our system. How fair is it that managers of public employees who can literally change every two to four years can fire, hire or promote on patronage and cronyism rather than on their ability to do their jobs? Is it right to punish public employees who either did not work for a candidate or opposed them in an election?

Can it ever be fair or good for our streets that a police officer of 25 years be fired or demoted while the family member or campaign workers of a winner in an election ensures they are promoted or hired at the expense of loyal public servants?

Can it ever be good for our street department that the trained workers be fired “at will” while those spots are filled with campaign workers? This is how we wish to tackle problems in Ohio?

Can it ever be fair that teachers would be fired because a new school board determines that anyone can be fired for any reason whether good or bad?

This is why this bill is terrible, this is why this bill is an assault on the middle class, this is why this bill places good old fashion cronyism and political patronage right back into our schools, police departments, fire departments, road departments and just about every government agency that touches our lives.

I say citizens should push back. Let’s keep a system that is not broken and tell our governor that you do not support political patronage or cronyism for public employees.

Atty. David J. Betras, Canfield

The writer is chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party.

A sweet place to visit

On a recent Satur day morning, despite the snow, I took my daughter and niece to the Purple Cat Candy Saloon on Phelps Street in downtown Youngstown. I had seen a few commercials on TV and it peaked my interest.

What a treat. Even though it is a little store, the amount of candy was amazing. There was a variety of “nostalgic” candies that you usually do not see in the stores as well. They offered a few local products and the prices, overall, were fair. I had a cup of coffee and the kids had a hot dog while they filled their treat bags. Most impressive is that the store employs individuals with developmental disabilities, who were very friendly. What a great opportunity for these individuals.

It is nice to see a community service being offered along with a unique store in downtown. I encourage residents and visitors of all ages to stop in for a treat. You can also support a great cause.

Timothy G. Gabrelcik, Beloit