Ousting Foley as police chief in city smacks of cronyism

Ousting Foley as police chief in city smacks of cronyism

Let’s see, McNally and O’Neill; ain’t it great to be Irish? However, to suggest Chief John O’Neill kept his job other than the fact he is a competent fire chief would be a mistake. But throwing an outstanding and innovative police chief, such as Rod Foley, the backbone of the Youngstown Police Department under then Chief Jimmy Hughes, was a major mistake. It was not only a mistake for the people of Youngstown but for the people of the townships surrounding Youngstown.

Now why would you want to bring a retired lieutenant out of retirement, someone who was subordinate to Capt. Foley before he became chief, as well as a subordinate to several other officers who were on the list to become the next chief? Why would Mayor John McNally tell him to add his name to that list at the last minute, unless it smacked of cronyism?

Hey, put your name on the list; then in a few years you can retire again, but this time on the basis as chief, and not the much lower pay as a lieutenant. Nah, he wouldn’t be that arrogant, would he?

Can you imagine the morale of the police department now having to work for a subordinate, when the combined efforts of Foley and his captains are finally getting the department on track to becoming something to be proud of, when a retired lieutenant walks in and enjoys the hard work and efforts of those he used to work for? Why, it would be like a colonel in the army being promoted to chief of staff over the heads of generals.

All I can say is good luck to the new chief and to the people of Youngstown.

Robert DeFelice, Youngstown

Trust, respect must be foundation of Youngstown Police Department

It does not matter “who” Youngstown’s police chief is, but “how” he or she is.

The people, we, are the body of the city, but the police department is its heart. Mutual respect and trust are imperative for proper function within, and it is possible, even if not always in agreement.

The “big brother” approach is so contrary to this. A first step to attaining such would be to remove the audio/visual cameras and open your door. Also, every officer, regardless of rank or association, needs to be addressed and treated equally. Position or rank does not allow one to personally demean, speak inappropriately to, or yell at subordinates because you think you can. As with any other institution or business, established codes of conduct are set to encompass and hold all to the same standard.

When the community needs more officers, and they need cruisers, equipment, and training, please don’t give the budget monies back. We, the people, allotted it three times to assist you in protecting and serving us. Finally, that trust, respect, and equality will then be acknowledged by and transfer to the community. Then we all benefit.

Maggy Lorenzi, Youngstown

City must tear down, then build up

The letter, “You call this resurrection of city?” shows the misguided attitude of those who don’t live in Youngstown and are always putting down a city that has been through many problems but is still going on. Former Mayors Jay Williams and Charles Sammarone were both good mayors who realized that you must first tear down before you can build up.

A person who doesn’t live in the city can’t possibly understand the changes by just driving through the city and making offhand comments without knowing how the city has actually changed.

Buildings have been torn down to get rid of the blight and criminal element that dominated the city for many years. We moved to the South Side 18 years ago from the Bronx, New York, and have seen the changes with our own eyes as residents — not as people who view the city from the outside without first-hand knowledge.

The city has been in the papers many times for being one of the best places to retire, the best place for housing, a very low cost of living, its small-business incubator, an exporter of a large percentage of goods produced here and the residence of many amazing business people.

Buildings have been rehabilitated, new houses have been built, houses have been built and given to those in need, gardens have been planted, and produce has been given to city residents. There is a hothouse and also many people who are involved in cleaning up the city and beautifying it. Any resident knows that the Community Corrections Association has done a great job cleaning up the Market Street corridor.

Forget about the politicians; it’s the people who will change this city. God is here, and he always takes the places no one cares about or believes in. Finally, as JFK said, “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Leo Feher, Youngstown

Wasn’t forced child labor outlawed?

I’m writing this in protest. I was watching CNN when U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, a Republican from Georgia, came on to advocate a most asinine government rule.

Mr. Kingston suggests that “all children who receive free lunch should work for it.” He also said, “they could sweep the floors.”

I thought child labor no longer exists in the United States.

Most of the children don’t even know their lunch is free. A teacher says, “Line up for lunch,” and that’s what they do. These children already have hard enough lives.

I wonder what century Mr. Kingston is living in? Where’s his compassion? What kind of Christian attitude is this?

Alice Dyce, Austintown

As sales-tax campaign gears up, how has Mahoning cut, conserved?

Shortly after the Mahon- ing County campaign for the 0.25-percent increase in the county sales tax of 2005 or 2006, I wrote a letter to each of the county commissioners discussing their promises and offering ideas for cost control. Here are some of those comments:

“You stated at the township meeting I attended that the county must be operated in a business-like manner and alluded to the need for restructuring certain personnel functions.” I suggested that they refer to certain efficiency studies that had been made or have the state auditor’s office advise them in “best practices.”

‘‘I do not know what the present work-hour requirements for salaried employees in the various departments are, but my expectation would be a requirement of no less than 40 hours per week and an expectation of more at peak times.’’

“The absurd practice of accumulating vacation for more that one year should be eliminated. Use it or lose it.”

‘‘You stated that you intend to have all county employees pay for 10 percent of their health-care premium cost. This would seem to be a nominal amount. Sharing of the health-care premium, higher deductibles and qualified plans will result in cost savings to the county; savings to the employee, in after-tax dollars, is also achievable.”

“Has there been any exploration of outsourcing services to townships? With two of the largest townships in the state located in Mahoning County, it would seem that the townships may have resources to enable the county to outsource and thereby staff at a lesser level.”

My final thought in conclusion was this: “If the business-as-usual approach to management of this county resumes and crisis management again becomes your means of resolution, please do not insult me by asking for my tax support.”

Today, as we begin 2014 eight or nine years later, nothing to my knowledge has been done to reduce or even control costs.

Guess how I’m voting on the forthcoming levy for a quarter-percent increase in the sales tax?

Gordon C. Williams, Canfield