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Let taxpayers vote to set wages for Mahoning County workers

Published: Mon, April 14, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Let taxpayers vote to set wages for Mahoning County workers

Wouldn’t you like to be a Mahoning County employee? Unfortunately, most of us are just taxpayers.

“Outrage” is defined in the dictionary as “insult, excess, a shameful act; the anger or resentment aroused by injury or insult.” I’m sure these are just a few of the printable responses to the exposes written on the front page of the April 6 Vindicator about the outlandish amounts of money in pay raises to some 760 Mahoning County employees in 2013 and 2014.

Some of these raises were designed to cover their insurance costs, while still giving them a substantial increase in livable income. As a private-sector taxpayer, wouldn’t you just love to receive a pay raise of 64 percent, many scaling down from there to 3 percent. I feel certain if middle- to lower-income folks in the private sector received a raise in the last couple of years, it would have amounted to only 2 to 3 percent, if they were fortunate enough to get that.

The arrogance of those giving and those receiving said increases is both insulting and appalling to all of us in Mahoning County footing the bills. How about all the folks on fixed incomes, where the Social Security increase last year was only 1.7 percent? Do you think this paltry increase can keep up with the cost-of-living increases to health care, taxes, food, gasoline and many other increases in this sagging economy?

What makes the employees of Mahoning County think they are better than those of us who pay their wages, and many struggle to do so? I’m sure it won’t be long before we’ll see another request for tax money. Forget it.

I think it is time we, the taxpayers, put on the ballot what is an acceptable wage, across the board, for the Mahoning County jobs that are commensurate with like jobs in the private sector. The exception would be police officers and firefighters, but not department heads and commissioners; their salaries should also be determined by the voters.

Cathie Yash, Youngstown


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