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Gains threatens to sue over budget

Published: Fri, May 20, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

RELATED: Yemma named interim treasurer; Antonini hearing June 3 in Akron

By Peter H. Milliken



If the Mahoning County commissioners don’t restore the $100,000 they cut from his budget, county Prosecutor Paul J. Gains said he’ll either have to sue the commissioners for that money or make cuts in his office that will have dire consequences.

“If I am forced to lay off personnel, which is highly likely, the prosecution of criminal cases will suffer dramatically,” and the prosecutor’s office may lose some cases, Gains wrote to the commissioners.

Gains also sent copies of his April 27 letter to the county’s common pleas judges, other officeholders and The Vindicator.

“Failure to adequately fund this office will also result in delays in the disposition of cases, resulting in overcrowding of the jail and the probable filing of another lawsuit” by prisoners alleging unconstitutional jail crowding,” Gains wrote.

“Some of the criminal duties will have to be assumed by civil-staff attorneys, resulting in less service to elected officials, both county and township,” he added.

The prosecutor did not respond to requests to comment further on his letter Thursday.

The commissioners unanimously docked Gains’ budget $100,000 on March 23 because of their dissatisfaction with the $220,000 in pay raises the prosecutor gave his staff Jan. 31.

Some of the raises were between $8,000 and $10,000 annually, said John A. McNally IV, chairman of the commissioners. He called the raises excessive under current local economic conditions.

Raises for assistant prosecutors, which Gains said average 10 percent, were needed to keep prosecutors from leaving his office for higher-paying jobs, Gains said.

Ohio law gives the elected prosecutor the authority to set salaries for his staff as long as he stays within his budget, Gains said.

McNally said Gains met with the county commissioners in a staff meeting after sending the letter, and the commissioners await additional financial information Gains said he would provide them this week to support his request.

“So I guess it’s a little premature to make any pronouncements about the $100,000 or anything else, but I’m still very comfortable with the decision we made to take the $100,000 away from him,” McNally said Thursday.

“I’m also comfortable with the decrease. I mean money’s tight all over Mahoning County right now, so everybody’s going to have to tighten their belt a little bit,” said Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti.

“I’m not sure how he would move his attorneys around. That’s up to him. He’s the boss of his department, but he is supposed to bring us a plan,” she added.

No additional meetings between Gains and the commissioners have been scheduled on the matter.

Gains called the commissioners’ removal of $100,000 from his budget “unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious” and illegal. “Thus, a lawsuit, however regrettable, may be my only option,” Gains wrote.

“I do not deserve this ill-conceived, political and personally motivated shot at me and my staff. But, more importantly, the victims of crime and the general public deserve better consideration from this board of commissioners,” Gains wrote.

If Gains sues the commissioners, “I don’t know if there will be any consequences for the county, except more legal fees,” McNally said.

, adding that he thinks outside counsel would have to be hired for Gains and the commissioners.


1AtownParent(562 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Ridiculous! Talk about a waste of taxpayers money. Make the cuts, everyone else has to.

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2TiredTaxpayer(44 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Let me get this staight . . . the Commissioners increase Gains' 2011 budget by about $200k. He uses those funds to give ridiculously unjustifiable across-the-board raises to his staff of lawyers (without telling the Commissioners that's what the money would be used for) and then is incensed when the Commissioners who rightly feel misled by Mr. Gains only take back half of the taxpayers' money that was used for raises (i.e. 2011 is still > 2010). All the while, the deputies are taking cuts and concessions to avoid lay-offs. If this is how our prosecutor normally operates, then it is Gains' incomptence and/or intellectual dishonesty that poses the greatest risk to the operation our county's criminal justice system. Disgusting.

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3commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

How does Gains run his household on a fixed salary and expect to do what he wants with taxpayer money? Why would he give raises when the county is in finanacial problems ---he's really looking out for the people.
Time for him to GO!

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4seminole(476 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

“If I am forced to lay off personnel, which is highly likely, the prosecution of criminal cases will suffer dramatically,” and the prosecutor’s office may lose some cases, Gains wrote to the commissioners.

What a jackass! The prosecution of criminal cases will suffer? May lose cases? How can it get worse? Your office plea deals every frickin' case is has, you fool! Ask the taxpayers how we feel about your "prosecution" of cases. Not a very stellar record of late. Stop threatening and have your office of "qualified prosecutors" start nailing the felons and thugs. I have yet to read a recent case where you goofs DON'T make a plea deal. And while you're threatening over this you may want to watch in your rear view mirror as things unravel in the Oakhill case.

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Let's get on with the Jamar Houser trial to earn what is being paid !

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6ytown_kills_me(64 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

wish i could tell my employer to give me a 10 percent raise "or else i'll leave for a better paying job"...roflmao...that shows the dimmest bulb in the pack (politicians) have NO clue what the rest of us are dealing with...THERE ARE NO RAISES FOR US ...what are you smoking Gains..lol or drinkin

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7commoncitizen(961 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

carlstaatz, "crumb" him? Are you serious? They gave him $200K more AND he handed out raises. The whole $200K should have been taken back.
If "any Juris Doctorate can make $250K+ elsewhere" then they should probably leave and take that job. Why haven't they left sooner? Or maybe ist's easy giving plea deals and not having to do any work on their cases.
Your comparing apple Mahoning County) to oranges ("Wall Street")

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8candystriper(575 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

This week Las Vegas Marshals offered the city a 4% cut in pay, no uniform allowance, no step increase, no gimmicks...the Mayor graciously accepted.
In the article the officers of the court stated they recognized how tough the economy is for the citizens they serve...this was the second cut they took since the housing collapse.

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9wksb50(32 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

There where quite a few of us who got laid off at Job and Family Services/welfare department and they state that is because we didn't have any money . They told us goodbye no matter how many years we had so I quess you will have to lay off to Mr. Gaines because that is the way it goes. Sorry.

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10wksb50(32 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago


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11Ytownnative(1036 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Hey it worked for Judge Binky didnt it ?

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