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Time has run out for slackers on city of Youngstown payroll

Published: Thu, August 30, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

If the mayor of youngstown, Charles Sammarone, is looking for a slogan to define his tenure in office, he may want to consider the following: “This is not your father’s city government.” Just as General Motors Corp.’s ad campaign of many years ago, with the slogan, “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile,” highlighted the changes the company had made to its product line, Sammarone can focus public attention on the policies he has implemented since taking office a year ago with a catchy phrase.

As the mayor has repeated ad nauseam, he is all about “accountability.” And at the heart of government accountability is public service. Taxpayers have a right to expect efficient, courteous service from those on the public payroll, Sammarone says, and if meeting that goal requires a change in the culture of City Hall, so be it.

Therefore, on Sept. 10, most city employees will be greeted by something new when they show up for work: Time clocks. And not the time clocks workers in the Mahoning Valley are most familiar with, those requiring an employee’s time card to be inserted into a clock mechanism. The ones in city buildings are based on hand-recognition technology, which means an employee cannot have someone else clock in and clock out for him.

“Everything is being done to improve accountability,” the mayor says.

He began thinking about the need to monitor employees’ work habits when he observed the behavior of some City Hall types shortly after he took office, succeeding Mayor Jay Williams. One day, as he was leaving the building he saw several employees standing outside smoking. He returned some time later and saw the same individuals puffing away. He wondered if they had been out there all the time he was away, or if they had returned to work and then taken another break.

Sammarone began looking into the union contracts and concluded that the time spent on breaks and on lunch, as spelled out in the labor contracts was not being policed. He concluded that a daily record of an employee’s workday is needed.

Police officers and firefighters are exempted from the new procedure because their departments have established work rules.

Sammarone, a former Youngstown city school teacher, has a warning for those who are habitually late, or consistently fail to clock in and clock out: You will be dismissed.

If that sounds overly harsh, consider that the taxpayers of the city have long complained about the work habits of the public employees. There’s a long-standing joke about City Hall: Don’t stand in front of the doors at 4 o’clock, you’ll be trampled.

Reasonable request

The mayor is simply asking public employees to put in a full eight-hour day and to only take the amount of time permitted for breaks and for lunch.

That isn’t a lot to expect from individuals who, by and large, have pretty cushy jobs.

In another move to make government more accountable, the Sammarone administration is installing GPS tracking devices in all city cars. This will not only ensure that department heads know where their employees are at all times, but will give them the ability to respond to complaints from residents about city vehicles being seen at some unusual locations.

Finally, Sammarone is awaiting the results of an independent government efficiency study, and has indicated that he intends to make personnel and policy changes once he has studied the findings.


1Photoman(1246 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Time clocks will not alleviate slackers. The entrenched system in place has provided a comfy place for these "slackers" to be coddled with easy money, very good benefits and a retirement system which the taxpayers can't afford.

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2NoBS(2758 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Knightcap, don't even go there. Do you really want Big Brother deciding what you can or cannot do? After smokers are beaten into submission (and no, I don't smoke), what's next? Overweight people? Let's tax people by the pound? Or how about those risk-takers who insist on pedaling their bicycles on the same roads cars and trucks use? When they get hit, they take up valuable resources laying there in the hospital.

Think before you post.

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3redvert(2239 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Tell me YBR, the valley has voted democrat and supported the entitlement mentality for the last 50-60 years at least. How has that worked out? Is that why the valley is either number one economically in the state of Ohio or the armpit of Ohio. You guessed it!!!

You statement that the republicans are the reason that the public sector is responsible for the problems now is typical, blame someone else, never take responsibility. Typical union mentality!

Truth has the same affect on some of you liberals as a light switch has on a cockroach.

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4DwightK(1535 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Are things really as bad as you say Redvert? In Jan 2008 the unemployment rate in Youngstown was 15.3%. As of May of of this year it was 9.5%. It's not great but it is moving in right direction.

Mayor Sammarone is a Democrat and is doing a great job. Considering all the recent local investment by both private and public entities, I don't think you can complain that things aren't getting better with the current leadership.

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5Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Long past due.
I remember a few short years ago when you could go to the YMCA and see the head of the Water Department spending countless hours a day on City time playing at the gym. Now if you go to the YMCA all you will find is the Mayor. Oh ya , thats right , it is the same person. My mistake.

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6redvert(2239 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Dwight, i am referring to the fact that the valley has not made any significant advances since the mills closed, Sure Lordstown and VLM are something but just look at Ytown as a whole, pathetic. Look at Pittsburgh and even Cleveland, not perfect but a darn sight ahead of Ytown.

Okay, the unemployment rate is 9.5%, down from 15%. Down across the country from the most part isn't it? Does that include the people that are no longer being counted since they have run out of benefits.

Yes Sammarone is a democrat and if what Silence says is true, Sammarone was one of the slackers. Sounds like he is no longer the type of democrat that this area is used to, or likes, especially the unions. A person never having to worry about being reelected as long as they had a (D) behind their name and were blessed by the bosses.

Now do I believe that a 100% conservative government is perfect, of course not but you can't honestly defend what Ytown has become. I would like to see a good mix so there are checks and balances. Will that happen in Ytown, doubt it.

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7Westsider(269 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Um -- the healthier business climate in Ohio is occurring under the leadership of a Republican Governor - but Democrats never let the facts inform their blue-collar thinking

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8Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

"Yes Sammarone is a democrat and if what Silence says is true, Sammarone was one of the slackers. "

Several Vindy Reporters hang out at the YMCA , they could have reported on this years ago, but they chose not to . Why is that Bertram?

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9southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Asking public employees to put in a full eight-hour day and to only take the amount of time permitted for breaks and for lunch....seems like a reasonable request.

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10One_Who_Stayed(240 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

It's a shame he cant fire our Slacker-ass city council.

But we can next election. . . .

Remember the fact that they decided you and I are too stupid to decide what the city charter should contain by only including 4 recommendations out of 17 on Novembers ballot. Too bad we cant hold them accountable immediately - if we could - they'd all be gone by now.

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11NoBS(2758 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Then YBR and RobX and Knightcap all miss the point. Maybe on purpose, maybe they're really that dumb.

Let me ask again: Do you really want the government deciding what activities you're allowed to do, and which ones they can arbitrarily decide you need to give them more money for?

Are you really that sheep-like? Really?

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12DontBanThisDrone(1036 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

"Do you really want the government deciding what activities you're allowed to do, and which ones they can arbitrarily decide you need to give them more money for?"

It already does. Most of us probably don't even realize it.


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13georgejeanie(1488 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Does this mean that the new federal car czar promoted this kind of activity? Well, now he has a job that will probably make the car companies less competitive by giving away more of GM and Chrysler monies. More money for less work, the union mantra..What a guy to promote to another cushy federal job. I hope Mitt sends this guy back to Ytown,and does away with this worthless position.

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