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Retire, rehire of Boardman fire chief means near $8,000 pay raise

Published: Thu, June 20, 2013 @ 12:03 a.m.

By Josh Stipanovich



Boardman Township’s fire chief was making about $78,500 before he retired at the beginning of June.

When he was rehired by the township days later as a contracted employee to fulfill the duties of the fire chief, George Brown’s salary went up to $86,500.

“We wanted to keep [Brown] in that position so we can continue to grow the department,” township Trustee Thomas Costello said. “We have been very pleased with his work.”

He said though, on paper, it looks like the township is losing money, it’s not. He noted that if the township were to advertise the position, it would have been looking at spending up to or more than $100,000 for another chief given the size of the township and the job duties.

Costello said Brown was being pursued by “other people” for work, and Brown came to the board during its May 29 meeting and asked to retire under his Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund.

Brown said he chose to retire because of changes made to the 10-year treasury note within his pension plan, which would have meant he’d lose money in the long run.

But, “I didn’t feel comfortable leaving Boardman,” he said.

A resolution was passed unanimously by the board May 29 to accept Brown’s resignation. Another resolution immediately was passed approving Brown’s rehiring, according to meeting minutes.

The board devised a memorandum of understanding approved June 10, its last meeting, Costello said.

The trustees, Brown and Jason Loree, township administrator, met to discuss the memorandum.

Before Brown’s retirement, Brown was an at-will employee, which means he didn’t make additional overtime money; he made a set salary, Costello said.

So the trustees looked into the three assistant chief’s wages and found they made, including overtime, about $86,000 a year.

“We believe the boss should make what the assistants make,” Costello said. “[Brown] already has one year [of] experience. He’s extremely well connected.”

Brown will also be able to collect money from his pension in 60 days, Costello said.

“We felt it was a good deal for the township,” Costello said.


1glbtactivist(268 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Greed. Stealing from the state retirement fund while stealing a job from a fellow fireman.

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2snworb56(52 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

This is unbelievable. What else can you say.

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3repeaters(239 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

You really need a large bottle of 'tums' to read this story. Give someone a raise to retire? 'Drop program', here he comes! And NO ONE else is qualified for the job(3 assistants)? Your going broke faster than you think Boardman residents, and what are you getting in return that other communities that pay lower taxes are not????

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4dmacker(355 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

The logic here is totally Boardman. Since three assistant chiefs make $86,000 a year the chief who has been here barely a year needs to make $86,500.
It seems that in Boardman if you want a big raise just threaten to leave and they will throw money at you. It would have been helpful if this article told us what this new chief has done to earn this big raise.
I seem to remember school administrators retiring and re-hiring for over $100,000 per year.
I thought that was also a bad deal for the township.

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5tadigiacomo(15 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Believe it or not this does actually save Boardman money. They no longer will pay for his health care, nor will they have to contribute to his pension fund. So, for 86,500 vs 78,500 + benefits, they're getting off cheaper. Now, whether they take advantage of those savings is an entirely different matter.

However, this doesn't mean you can't (or shouldn't) question several other factors. As a tax payer I used to think double dipping stunk, but it does save municipalities money. It does appear unfair, since the guy will be drawing his pension along with a nice salary. In that sense he just got a huge raise. For other lower-level public employees double-dipping supplements a modest pension, which is considerably less (for most) than they're previous salary. Case in point, my mother-in-law. Made about 40K a year working for the City of Columbus, retired after 33 years, then went back to work for 24-30 hours/week at significantly less per hour. Does not make her rich by any stretch, but it beats being Walmart greeter.

Not trying to argue in Boardman's favor, just providing food for thought.

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6republicanRick(1340 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Boardman will spend itself broke. THREE assistants making $ 86,000 per year? Irresponsible leadership.

The strongest unions now in the country with the highest pay and lowest work load are the FIREMENS UNIONS. They scare granny and pad their wallets.

Look how many fires there are in Boardman per year. Very, very minimal.

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7liberty76(7 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

Tadigiacomo makes some good points. Also, consider that 78,500 was a very low salary to begin with. Boardman FD is a large department, and the Chief has a large amount of responsibility. He is not "stealing from the state retirement fund", he is collecting a fully funded pension that he personally contributed to - probably for more than 30 years. I'm really tired of the whiners who can't stand the fact that someone who has more education than them, or worked harder than they did, might be entitled to be compensated for their efforts.

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8republicanRick(1340 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

How many fires in Boardman last year?
How many injuries?
Total fire loss in dollars?

Fireman run communities into the ground with their outlandish wage and benefit demands.

Look at the crooked firemen in Cleveland. Look at how Salem is held hostage by their bloated fire department.

Look at how traffic backs up and sits still in Boarman because there is no money for camera controlled traffic signals while a bloated, overstaffed, fire department sits idly by.

Sheet and Tube, GM Lordstown, Delphi all spent themselves into bankruptcy. Fire unions are next in this parade of irresponsible spending.

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9dmacker(355 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

And by implication we have three assistant chiefs who are not capable of running and growing the department. Doesn't even one of them deserve a shot at running the department?

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10lbf(159 comments)posted 1 year, 8 months ago

watch for Youngstown Fire Dept. chief, John O'Neill, on video, addressing THIS retire-rehire issue later today...at vindy.com

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