The new Youngstown mayor attends his first council meeting since December 2004

Published: Tue, January 7, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.


Special meeting set for Thursday to vote on fact-finder reports

By David Skolnick


It was new Mayor John A. McNally’s first city council meeting since his final days as Youngstown’s law director in December 2004.

With a very light agenda, Monday’s meeting also was among the quickest since McNally last attended.

“It appears the order of the proceedings moved as expeditiously as” it has in the past, he said after the meeting that lasted about 5 minutes.

With a temperature of about minus 6 degrees outside, council met at 8 p.m. Monday, an unusual start time and day of the week for the legislative body. Council’s regular meetings are on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 5:30 p.m., which follows its finance committee meetings that start at 4:45 p.m.

The city charter calls for an 8 p.m. meeting on the first Monday of the year after a “regular municipal election” so “the newly elected council persons shall assume the duties of their office.” But having such a meeting has rarely happened in at least the past decade.

Also, council President Charles Sammarone, who doesn’t have voting power and spent nearly two decades in the position, was the only newly elected council member — if you use the term loosely. Even so, it was decided to have the Monday meeting.

The agenda had three minor pieces of legislation, all approved. Council also confirmed McNally’s appointments of Finance Director David Bozanich and Park and Recreation Director Robert Burke as is required in the city charter. Bozanich and Burke were reappointed by the new mayor to their existing positions.

“I applaud the brave souls that came out” for the meeting, McNally said of the seven members of the public in attendance. “It was a light mood and a light agenda.”

It will get a lot more serious soon with council having a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Thursday to vote on fact-finder reports with the city’s police patrol officers and firefighter unions. Those are two of the city’s largest unions.

State law requires both sides to vote on fact-finder reports within seven days of receiving them.

Both reports were given to the city and the unions this last weekend.

If the fact-finder reports are rejected, the next step is to select a state conciliator who will hear both sides and make a binding decision, said Law Director Martin Hume.

Also, the new administration will talk with the city’s street department union about a meeting to bargain for a new contract.

A fact-finder recommended in November that the union members receive no base-pay salary increase and require new street department union hires to pay an amount equal to 15 percent of an employee’s health-care premiums rather than the 10 percent currently paid by union members.

Council unanimously approved the report while the union unanimously rejected it.

That union has worked without a contract since Dec. 31, 2012.

No city union has received a base-pay salary increase in four years.

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