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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


Comments

1redeye1(4714 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

What a great idea, I totally agree with your letter, But the union populace of the valley will disagree with you. If the employees don't like it, they can quit and go find another job. Just don't let the door hit you where God split you.

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2stonehead(25 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

you can vote on my wages .. I get to vote on how much welfare you get .i'll bet its more then I get

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3lajoci(378 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Dear Cathie:

Try reading the entire article before you go off on a resentment-fueled tirade.

As I asked before, you want public services? They cost money, and if you read deeply enough into the text of the piece that ignited your outrage, you begin to see that county officials are busy trying to make what they have go as far as possible, what with retirees not being replaced, etc..

Heavens to jay-zus, what do you want?

Something for nothing?

You want a purely volunteer staff?

You want prison labor to provide services for free?

What?

NOBODY will ever get rich working for the government. But these are not monks and nuns -- they have not taken vows of poverty.

You want roads? Costs money.

You want libraries? Money is needed.

All those services? Money.

Can't get around it.

Actually, you're getting a pretty good deal, all things considered.

Want to complain about irresponsible management of public funds? Yell at John Kaysick, who cut funding to local municipalities and, as a result, precipitated the mess we have.

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4rickking123(312 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

You want unfunded pension liabilities in the billions. Well you got them under the current system.

Get rid of the 3 highest year scam for calculating pensions and also impose a use it or lose it system for vacation and sick time.

And yes there are plenty of people who have gotten rich under the current system or haven't you been reading the Vindicator for previous stories on such matters.

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5lajoci(378 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

If by "rich" you mean that public sector workers are able to pay their bills, put food on the table, send their kids to college (maybe), and enjoy a somewhat secure retirement, then "rich" has taken on new meaning in this era of polarizing socio-economic status; and the scam is in the re-definition of "work" as something unworthy of compensation, even as corporations are experiencing historically high profit levels.

And, by the way: Ohio's system of defined-benefits public employee pensions is simply a deferred compensation plan in the sense that doing away with all those negotiated pension-enhancing tools, indeed, with the pension system itself, would require that employee pay be immediately doubled, and, in some cases, tripled, since employees would then be responsible for planning for their own retirement.

And, in this way, public employee pensions have actually been super-good deal for tax-payers in that they functioned, over the decades, as controls on rising wages.

I'm so sorry that the rules in this country have favored financiers and other corporate functionaries over people who actually work for a living, but don't blame the public sector for what is yet another example of private sector malfeasance in matters of commerce and finance.

Case in point: back in my college days, I did summer work in local factories at the BOTTOM of the salary scale. Even then, my hourly rate was at least 2-3 times the minimum wage, and, occasionally, with certain jobs, 5-10 times the minimum wage.

Any ordinary worker bees out there making $25-80/hour these days? Any college kids on summer employment?

It is simply not the fault of public sector workers that these jobs no longer exist.

And it is simply not the responsibility of public sector workers to throw themselves at the mercy of embittered, resentful, envious citizens who bring nothing to the discussion except their torches and pitchforks.

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6billdog1(1804 comments)posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago

lajoci, you hit the nail on the head. Our gooberment leaders started this hate filled ignorance toward the public sector workers. The so called leaders have divided many on this issue. The truth of the matter is the so called leaders never attack their own pay scale or benefit packages. They only say that the licensed plumber with many years of experience, or the teacher with a masters degree they require to keep their job is making to much money and costing the tax payer to much money. I'm deeply saddened every time I hear somebody complain about a teacher and then watch that same person set their 6 year old in front of the TV every evening for six hours. Never ask about home work, never go to a parent/teacher conference, never get involved in the district in which they live. Just blame somebody else for their lazy do nothing lives. Learning doesn't only happen in the school building. Education isn't only about books, numbers, and science experiments. Learn should be taking place at home, in the car, going to the store, in play, etc... The man that works to keep water coming to your house is worth what, the man that makes the sewer continue to work as planned so your house don't fill with raw sewage is worth what, the woman that drives the school bus to get your kids to and from school is worth what, the man that keeps the electric flowing to your house is worth what, the person that answers your emergency call for somebody breaking into your house, or a house fire or somebody getting hurt is worth what? Time to think about these questions before you think you are entitled to judge their salaries and nobody wants to be in those places when you need them. How about somebody judge you for making to much because your job requires no education or skill? Education and trade cost money to get, maintain licensure and certification. Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

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7billdog1(1804 comments)posted 8 months, 1 week ago

eivo, another ignorant irreverent statement. It must really be sad to be so uninformed, underpaid and uneducated. May a free penny float down the poop river to you today sir.

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