Mahoning officials reject proposed pact over raises

Published: Fri, February 24, 2012 @ 12:06 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken


Mahoning County commissioners voted to reject a proposed three-year labor contract for 23 workers in the county auditor’s office.

The workers belong to Local 2533 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents the office’s accounting, real-estate and information-technology personnel.

John A. McNally IV, chairman of the commissioners, and Commissioner Anthony T. Traficanti voted Thursday to reject the tentative agreement union members ratified Dec. 12.

Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti abstained from the vote because her brother, Robert Rimedio, chief appraiser in the auditor’s office, is a union member.

McNally said he voted against the proposed contract because it would have given the employees a 2-percent pay increase in its first year, and the commissioners have not budgeted for any raises this year.

McNally said he’d rather see any raises deferred to 2013 and that the matter should be fairly easy to resolve at the bargaining table. “I don’t really think we’re that far apart,” McNally said.

The rejected agreement, which would have been retroactive to July 1, 2011, contained no pay raises in its second year and 21/2 percent in the third year.

In the final year, however, the rejected agreement would have raised the employees’ contribution from 0.5 percent to 2.5 percent of the 10 percent employee share of the Public Employees Retirement System.

The workers would have continued to pay 10 percent of their health-care premiums.

The county’s total monthly health-care premiums are $728 for single coverage; $1,454 for a couple; $1,352 for employee and child; and $1,549 for family coverage.

“I’m disappointed, not just because they rejected it, but because they waited until the last day to reject it,” said Jaladah Aslam, AFSCME staff representative.

The commissioners had 30 days from the day the auditor requested that they fund the new contract to either accept or reject it.

“It was a wash” in the third year, Aslam said, noting the third-year raise would have been wiped out by the increased PERS contribution in the final year.

“Over the past two years, there have been 1,100 people in the county that have gotten raises or adjustments in some form — over $1.6 million in raises over the past two years in Mahoning County departments,” said Auditor Michael V. Sciortino. “So, to say that we’re [the county] invoking wage freezes, I think, is a joke. I do think that a 2-percent adjustment was fair and reasonable.”

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