- Advertisement -
  • Most Commentedmost commented up
  • Most Emailedmost emailed up
  • Popularmost popular up
- Advertisement -

« News Home

If Issue 2 is voted down, change still is needed

Published: Sun, October 23, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Todd Franko (Contact)

It looks as if Issue 2 will face defeat in two weeks, based on current polling.

And based on the mixed and conflicted Issue 2/Senate Bill 5 sentiments around the state, it’s probably best.

But what’s also probably best for Ohio is for the feverish debate that’s engulfed the state to continue and result in substantive change within government operations.

The Republicans overreached with SB 5.

It would be foolish for the Democrats to do the same in victory, by reaching too far back to a standard most Ohioans have decried — or should I say, most Ohioans who are not part of PERS, SERS, STRS, OPF, DROP or the assorted other clubs that have become pillars of government employment.

To have Issue 2 voted down is not to say the current standard is OK. In a recent Quinnipiac University poll in which 51 percent of Ohioans disapproved of Issue 2 as a whole, that same group also weighed in with this:

60 percent wants performance pay over longevity pay.

59 percent wants health-care payments of at least 15 percent for employees.

56 percent wants at least 10 percent of pension payments to come from employees.

I, too, am not a fan of the current government standard. But I’m also not a fan of leaving workers unprotected.

Locally, tick off the names of the officially troubled bosses, such as Lisa Antonini, Maureen Cronin, Jim Traficant, Jim Tsgaris. Then consider the bosses who are officially perplexing. It would be tough to subject hard-working hourly staff to the whims and compromises of such folks.

My other problem with SB 5 is that it targets the union jobs only and leaves unrestrained the actions of government bosses whose actions are hardly union-influenced. We’ve spent much of 2011 looking at county prosecutor Paul Gains’ spending decisions. And just two weeks ago, I was able to highlight the questionable pay raises at the Mahoning County Board of Health — where top health boss Matt Stefanak even forgot he got a January pay raise in addition to his June 2010 and June 2011 raises.

That’s not fixed with Issue 2.

But Issue 2 fixes many things, and it’s my hope that in its defeat, those things won’t be forgotten.

I polled some trusted friends this week — private-sector folks, but none whom I would call rabid crusaders in unhealthy areas. I asked:

What is it you truly want changed about the government work force and what do you want to maintain? The replies were heartfelt, and included:

“With all due respect to our public employees, the rest of us cannot afford the explosion of entitlement. Unfortunately, they have been given promises that cannot be kept re: pension, health care etc. I don’t blame them for wanting to preserve the status quo, but things change. My income has dropped over 50 percent in the last 10 years. So my wife works two jobs so our kids can go to college. Get over it.”

Cash-out policies for unused vacation/sick time must change, and add annual and measurable performance audits. Maintain the right for collective bargaining, and address the entry-level salary for police and fire in Youngstown, which is very low and potentially dangerous due to the quality of candidates.

“I actually have no qualms with salaries and, in fact, see where many jobs [teachers] should be higher than they are. But I cannot abide by the current pension and benefit packages. These are overly generous and will break our state and federal governments if not addressed. I think the current ads talking about how the law will create ‘unsafe’ conditions is a sham. Like in business, the bosses [elected leaders] set staffing levels, and they will be accountable if their staffing does not get the job done. We must have government we can afford, not the one we dream up in an all-inclusive fantasy.”

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at tfranko@vindy.com. He blogs, too, on vindy.com.


1block50(128 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Kasich and his fellow republican legislators gave their staffs ridiculous raises without so much as a peep from the media. The Columbiana County republican party chairman got a $60,000/yr patronage job from Kasich that requires him to work only 2 days every other month. 12 days a year for 60k. Where was your concern then? SB5, HB194, and the redistricting plan are political measures that insure republican control over the state for years to come. There is nothing noble going on here. Just union busting, voter supression and gerrymandering.

Suggest removal:

2Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The problem isn't complex ! With more being unemployed less taxes are collected . To keep the status quo those paying taxes need to be taxed at a higher rate .


Support government workers unions and you are supporting higher taxation . Their goal is to take more of your money . So your wages have been cut ? It is you who must make do on less .


Suggest removal:

3NoBS(2265 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

As I've said many times, the current crop of Republicans are in office for one reason - they were not the Democrats who were the former incumbents, and who gave us Obamacare against the will of the public. In their blindness to that, their arrogance, and their unwillingness to face the reality that the public is highly ticked off at politicians in general right now, they did exactly what their now-ousted brethren did - they ignored the will of the majority or their constituents, and passed some highly-unpopular legislation. Nationwide, the Republicans' promise to immediately dismantle Obamacare once they were in office has been forgotten. The focus has been on "getting even" and crushing those unions. At the next opportunity, the Republicans will be out, en masse, and they'll be wondering what happened. The Democrats will regain a majority. We're in for a decade or so of these see-saws.

Suggest removal:

4Philo(99 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

In addition to the pension and benefit reforms, the legislature needs to pass a law that makes it illegal for any public entity to collect union dues for its employees. It's not the governments business to be a toll collector for the unions. The unions need to bill each of their members every month, quarter, etc., and then let the members write a check to their unions for their dues. These individuals would find out in a hurry just what kind of value the unions provide and where their dues are going.

Suggest removal:

5paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Let me start by saying I support the passage of Issue 2.

Is it perfect? No. But it takes great strides towards leveling the playing field with public sector workers.

(By the way, I think the Vindicator's coverage of this issue has been very good. If you don't understand the issue, it's not the paper's fault.)

I understand the argument that some make that this bill over-reaches in achieving its goals. But doesn't the current system over-reach in the other direction?

Spineless elected officials give the public employees whatever they want - thus the current mess we are in.

I hope Issue 2 passes, but if it does not pass - at least we've made a start at "righting the ship of state."

Suggest removal:

6notgvn(6 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Its clear the party in power overreached with this dangerous and unnecessary law. Its passage was nakedly partisan: One sponsor, committees shuffled at the last minute to get the right numbers, and stonefaced avoidance of the crowds inside and outside the Statehouse. Now a campaign of deceit, half truths and outright lies in support. This is no way to run a state. Public employees have ALWAYS recognized budgetary problems and tried to work with management. State employees accepted weeks of unpaid furlough days and salary freezes and so forth in the last contract. The Administration's sleight of hand by distracting voters by demonizing union public workers while gutting funding to local governments and schools and so forth is cynical in the extreme.

Taxpayers are stockholders in this state and should demand its governments managers to be good stewards of their lives and money. If their timidity in negotiating with their own workers leads to excessive contracts, vote them out! Senate Bill 5 just makes it easy for lazy or incompetent public managers to impose arbitrary cuts without regard to safety or fairness.

As a state employee and opponent of Am Sub Bill 5 I hope this newspaper will join the Athens News and the Akron Beacon Journal in urging Ohioans to vote NO on issue 2.

Suggest removal:

7ytown1(395 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

What the public workers agreed to was not pay freezes, it was to agree to maintain the most costly items, the entitlements that we as taxpayers were never made aware of until this economic crisis we all find ourselves in.

As a small business owner, not only have we had pay freezes, we have seen a reduction of pay of 25-40% some years, along with less days off, and increases to health insurance, some years to the tune of 30-35%. We have been doing more with less for years I have to let you know. That is the norm now. Just ask any of your private sector working neighbors.

I know the public sector health insurance has seen increases such as these also, the only difference is the workers (Unions) have not shared the hurt that this causes. They have been dead set against to paying anything more than the pittance that they negotiated through arbitration, not collective bargaining. Agree to not to agree and blame the anonymous arbitrator is the way it is handled. It is not our fault is the smokescreen the politicians stand behind. No more is what I say, Vote Yes on Issue 2.

This bill addresses this with doing away with arbitration part of negotiations and will force the elected officials to make the decisions that the taxpayer expects or be voted out the next election, why do you think all of the local politicians came out against this bill? Accountability is something that they have avoided for some time.

Another piece of bad news I have for the ones against SB5/Issue 2, if this fails, good luck in getting a levy passed if these entitlement issues are not addressed as Todd has stated in the article. "It would be foolish for the Democrats to do the same in victory, by reaching too far back to a standard most Ohioans have decried — or should I say, most Ohioans who are not part of PERS, SERS, STRS, OPF, DROP or the assorted other clubs that have become pillars of government employment."

We will still have a large vote and the levies may be our only way to get the message across.

One more message I hear is turn off your cable, no more movies for a while, do away with other frivolous things so you can afford to pay more taxes. I say you cut your cable and eating out, so you can afford to pay for the higher insurance contribution and higher co-pays for your doctors and other health services. What is wrong with that thought? I bet you they will say not me, I deserve my nights out and my cable, I have worked for it, like the rest of us have not worked for it also. That is the mentality we as taxpayers are so against.

This bill is needed and it is needed now before it is too late and there is no other way but bankruptcy to fix it. I have a feeling that would be a real bad way to fix all of this mess.

Suggest removal:

8meagain(85 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Many of the unions began retirement reform (more time on the job, more money in, less money out after retiring) long before SB5 was even an issue. Check out their own websites to see new retirement tables. Even without the passage of Issue 2 reform will happen.

Suggest removal:

9doubled(210 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I agree that spending needs to be scrutinized to eliminate waste...and it would simply be a continuation of what public agencies have been doing for the past three years. That is, slimming down departments and doing the same - or more - with less staff. Over 1 billion dollars has been saved through simple cost cutting measures over the past three years - and all without a significant drop off in public services. But there's a catch. The citizenry can't have it both ways. That's just an economic fact.

Every person in business knows that a company's biggest expense is personnel..However, it is also the company's biggest asset. It costs a whole of a lot more to lose a good employee, have to go through the hiring process, and then train a new one -- and then hope it works out. So I agree with some of the "suggested" changes of tea party todd, but I'll add one to the mix....after those annual performance reviews -- the public employees who are effective, efficient, and produce results for their departments, get bonuses and/or raises... After all, that's how private businesses operate in order to retain their best employees. IF you want good service, then be willing to pay those who give it to you and don't run around screaming like banshee's if a solid, productive public worker gets a bump....Now, if lousy employees get raises or bonuses, then raise hell, if you want to. I won't have any issues with that. It's called Capitalism (the American way) --- you can never have it both ways -- you have to choose -- and, in the end, you always get what you pay for.

Suggest removal:

10NoBS(2265 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

You people who mindlessly bleat that public agencies need to keep doing more with even less staff don't have a clue how things work. There is a finite number of employees necessary to perform a given job, and if you fall below that number, doing that job becomes greatly inefficient, or even impossible. If a couple of armed robbers break into your house, with possibly another accomplice or two outside, what good is one cop going to do? If you house is on fire and your family is trapped in it, what good is one firefighter going to do?

You people truly don't think.

Suggest removal:

11ytown1(395 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

So NoBS your formula would be 3 police officers for every citizen and two fire fire fighters for the same?
You right size, not some infinite number you speak of,

No, You really don't think. Union Brainwashing has that effect.

Suggest removal:

12walter_sobchak(2246 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

It doesn't matter if you are for or against SB5. The system of public employment in Ohio, as currently structured, is not sustainable and needs to be revised.

Suggest removal:

13CompMan(125 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I will vote NO on issue 2 because of the duality of treatment of employees vs supervisiors/legislators. That said, I will not support any issues or levys that call for increased taxes. This statement from a PD contributor is absolutely correct:
" When local governments are forced to reduce their workforces due to upward spiralling labor costs with little or no increase in revenues (read: taxes), perhaps the concept of taxpayers actually controlling their government and its costs will not seem so foreign, even for the public employee unions. There is nothing like a serious reduction in the workforce to bring clarity to an issue."

Suggest removal:

14Westsider(251 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I am voting for SB 5 - because change must start somewhere. What mayor, council member, or trustee would deliberately understaff the police or fire departments? Binding arbitration is no better - if forced to pay higher wages than can be sustained - police officers and firefighters would be laid off anyway. Of course, that wouldn't give the anti-Issue 2 proponents the emotional ammunition they need.

What baffles me is that so many teachers are supporting the repeal of Issue 2 - because much of what affects them is already law. House Bill 153 became law in Ohio on September 29. I am not going to provide the details here - I am assuming that the pro-Issue 2 people have read all 304 pages of Senate Bill 5 and have also read House Bill 153.

Suggest removal:

15doubled(210 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

JMW - I'm curious to learn what the Unions lied about in their commercials re; SB5? Specifics, would be helpful. B/C I know that the Pro SB5 commercial had to be pulled from over 30 t.v stations b/c it intentionally misrepresented the image and statements of an Ohio citizen when she was actually speaking out against SB5. So can you provide any supporting facts to show where the Anti SB5 commercials contain lies about what SB5 actually contains.

Suggest removal:

16NoBS(2265 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

No, ytown1, your scenario is as wrong as the one I used. Stop hating.

Did nothing I said in that post sink in?

Or are you really OK with only one cop to patrol all of Youngstown, and one fireman for all of Youngstown?

Suggest removal:

17AnotherAverageCitizen(1176 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

I will vote NO on issue 2

I do agree some changes must be made. However sb5 takes too much bargaining away from union, that is the main reason I do NOT support sb5. Also since politicians and other select groups are not included in sb5 makes it all unfair. When kasich gave his staff such large raises, retroactive to January and he thought it was OK for them to get 10% raises in 4 months, and teachers deserve paycuts after several years, it Really turned me away of any chance of supporting kasich. If kasich came out and said ALL public workers in Ohio must pay xx% for medical benefits and retirement I could support that. But how kasick steamrolled this and his saying teachers unions are too strong strong turn me away from kasich support. His calling of police officers idiots, yes the ones who prtect him, shows how little respect he has for OUR law enforcement.


Vote NO on issue 2

Suggest removal:

18Philo(99 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The one fact that people fail to realize is that government has absolutley no incentive whatsoever to run efficiently. Say what you will about profit motive but if privatizing government jobs will lower operating costs and slow the tax increases on my home and my poor widowed mother's home then I say privatize every government job that can be privatized. It's interesting that public sector union members have no problem paying a Boardman Firefighter or Police officer $90,000 per year, when people would stand in line to do that job for $50,000, yet those same public sector union members will drive across three counties to save $150 on the foreign car they drive. I say let the law of supply and demand work in the public sector too. Vote yes on Issue 2.

Suggest removal:

19jmagaratz(183 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Collective bargaining is necessary for continuous improvement in management-employee relationships.

It is also consistent with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

If contract expenses are out of control, then the blame must fall on the elected representatives who agree to items provided through collective bargaining. It is not logical to blame employees for the agreements.

If local elected officials cannot contain costs through negotiation, then it must be recognized that the cherished Conservative principle of local control is no longer viable and must be replaced with centralized Big Government Liberalism administered by Right Wing idealogues.

Suggest removal:

20Woody(469 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Public Union reform worked in Wisconson:

Vote YES for SB5, save Ohio.

Suggest removal:

21jupiter(116 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

for those that follow polls: 57% AGAINST ISSUE 2, 32% for it...i think that speaks volumes. No one is saying that reforms are not needed-SB5 is not the way to do it, however. And having the brain trust of Franko, de Souza and Rivers play cheerleader for it locally is a sure way to kill anything.
If Franko is so supportive of healthcare reform he needs to lead by example and go on a diet first.

Suggest removal:

22NoBS(2265 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

fd6636, how did you like that last question asked of the pro-SB5 camp? The one about why Republicans are in favor of hiding their contributors' identities and the amounts they contributed? Wow, did THAT one catch him flat-footed!! "Um, uh, er, well, I'm not going to answer that, but I can tell you for sure that there's nothing illegal about it!" Then he went right back to repeating the same lies for the hundredth time - "The public sector gets their health care for free. The public sector gets their pensions for free. SB5 still allows them to negotiate for wages, working conditions, health care, etc." Lies!! All lies!!

You're right on the money - SB 5 has all sorts of hidden loop holes to benefit the filthy rich, and bone the average worker.

Suggest removal:

23Woody(469 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

The exceptional middle class worker gets shafted by the Unions.

Suggest removal:

24legend33(169 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

"Vigilante justice is the only way" - Charles Bronson"

Suggest removal:


HomeTerms of UsePrivacy StatementAdvertiseStaff DirectoryHelp
© 2015 Vindy.com. All rights reserved. A service of The Vindicator.
107 Vindicator Square. Youngstown, OH 44503

Phone Main: 330.747.1471 • Interactive Advertising: 330.740.2955 • Classified Advertising: 330.746.6565
Sponsored Links: Vindy Wheels | Vindy Jobs | Vindy Homes