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Mahoning elections board will vote to rescind the 3 percent raises

Published: Thu, January 23, 2014 @ 12:09 a.m.

Uproar from commissioners leads to decision to repealSFlb



By David Skolnick



Despite the Mahoning County Board of Elections’ director saying there’s no reason to take formal action to rescind 3 percent base-pay raises given to department employees, board members differ.

“We’re going to rescind them, that’s definitely happening,” said David Betras, the board’s vice chairman and the county’s Democratic Party chairman.

“A motion to rescind is in order,” added Mark Mun- roe, the board’s chairman and the county’s Republican Party chairman.

The four-member board unanimously approved the pay raises Tuesday.

But after conflicting statements were given when asked by The Vindicator about the raises, the salary increases were put on hold with plans for the board to repeal them.

Board Director Joyce Kale-Pesta said late Tuesday that because the board didn’t give a date to enact the pay raises, there was no reason to repeal them.

Betras and Munroe disagree.

Among the reasons the raises were put on hold about six hours after the board approved them was backlash from county commissioners who said they strongly oppose any salary increases for county employees. The commissioners are trying to persuade the public to support a new 0.25- percent sales tax and renewal of a 0.5-percent sale tax continuously on the May ballot.

The board of elections’ pay raises would cost $17,023 in additional payroll spending to the 12 full-time employees.

Looking back on the vote, Betras and Munroe said Wednesday they should never have agreed to the raises as the proposed salary increase was a late item given by Kale-Pesta to the board just before Tuesday’s meeting.

The vote was cast with “too much haste,” Munroe said. “It came in late to the meeting. We should have waited.”

Betras said, “I’m not passing the buck. I’m a board member. It wasn’t on the agenda mailed to me. I shouldn’t have voted for it. I told [Munroe] these kind of things won’t happen again.”

The board’s next regular meeting is 8 a.m. Feb. 18.

Kale-Pesta has called the 3 percent “a cost-of-living increase,” and “not a raise.”

Munroe disagreed, saying a 3-percent increase in pay is “definitely a raise.” Betras shared the same view.

“This whole payroll thing is an example of how dysfunctional county government is,” Munroe said. “Numerous studies show the county needs a strong [human resources] director to assist the various departments. There are jobs with similar classifications that aren’t paid the same amounts.”

The board’s nine clerks’ annual base-pay salary was to go from $40,433 to $41,646, retroactive to Jan. 1. The annual salary of Chris Rakocy, the board’s information technology manager, was to increase from $57,270 to $58,988.

Kale-Pesta and Deputy Director Thomas McCabe are being paid $73,143. Their new annual salaries were to be $75,337.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Kale-Pesta said county commissioners didn’t have an issue with the raises as they approved the elections board budget that included the 3-percent increases.

Commissioners said they knew nothing about it and would cut the board’s budget in order not to grant the raises if they were approved.

Elections-board employees received 3 percent salary increases on Dec. 1, 2012.

On Jan. 14, 2013, they received an 11.2 percent raise to offset the board agreeing the county would no longer pay the workers’ 10 percent portion of their state retirement contribution. The extra 1.2 percent was to offset the workers’ higher tax rate they would pay for making more money.

Also, a printout of the salaries of elections directors and deputy directors in other counties that Kale-Pesta compiled from the Ohio secretary of state’s office to justify the pay hikes was from 2012 and inaccurate.

It doesn’t have Kale-Pesta’s correct salary, listing it as $63,943 when it’s $73,143.

The document listed the annual salary of Trumbull County’s elections director at $76,173 and deputy director at $74,587. The two actually make $56,365 in base-pay salary a year and have since January 2009.

It also listed the salary of the Lake County elections director as $62,000 and the deputy director at $49,920. The county’s elections director earns $68,000 a year, and there is no deputy director.


1polhack(123 comments)posted 6 months ago

Out of date data, misrepresented costs, then a rush to spend your money. Welcome to government in the USA in 2014. Government trough feeders run the gamut from unable to malicious in their duties from petty thievery at the local level to the really big crooks in Congress. Time for a change, not just in personnel, but in the system that enables them to behave this way.

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2Southside_Res(166 comments)posted 6 months ago

Well, isn't Kale-Pesta a wolf in sheep's clothing?! I'm so sick of these dozens of taxing authorities we have in Mahoning County. They're all like vampires trying to suck the last drop of blood we have. I'm voting no on all the tax initiatives at the ballot box. When does this kind of crap ever end?!!!

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3repeaters(196 comments)posted 6 months ago

In yesterday's paper, she implied that, 'everyone got three percent'. Did she let it out of the bag before the tax levy passed? I didn't hear the Commissioners deny it, so everyone in the loop was suppose to keep their mouths shut until after the election? She needs to have a group of unemployed people waiting for her at the door and explain what '3 percent would mean to them, since she has no clue. Why does she still have a job today? Why don't ALL THESE PEOPLE hide their faces in shame to day? Why don't they ALL resign their from their elected jobs? And for you Mr. Democratic Chairman, just two words, "WAKE UP' !!!!!! What does it take for the citizens of this valley to put their cell phone down, pickup a newspaper, READ IT, and get involved? IT'S YOUR MONEY !!

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4author50(1121 comments)posted 6 months ago

Relax gang, the dye is cast, as they say, or write. The county employees have been awoken from their slumber that they must get motivated to pass this tax in order to slop at the trough from now until doomsday.

The next stunt will be all about the jail and keeping it fully staffed and operated to keep us safe, warm and fuzzy in our homes.

If things continue to still look bad for safe passage of this Almighty tax -- Betras will order the minions to dust off part two of the play book written by a genius local political consultant a few years ago to reshow the commercial of prisoners being released from jail.

The only thing(s) keeping the sales tax from being raised and passed by a very healthy margin is a credible/viable opponent for Carol who makes the sales tax increase a top priority or the FBI riding over Bertram De Souza Hill and passing out indictments before the primary.

In other words - get ready to pay more!

As a matter of fact both Betras and Munroe should merge their parties and adopt the slogan PAY MORE!

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5repeaters(196 comments)posted 6 months ago

A second point, Ron Verb had his friend Commissioner Dave Ditzler on the phone yesterday. Ditzler said the County only keeps 1 % of the sales tax; a small percentage goes to the WRTA, and the rest to the state. If that is the case, why raise taxes when your only going to still get 1% and send more money to the state? Do you enjoy bleeding your constituents? That is BULL statement Mr. Ditzler; do you really expect people to swallow that????

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6richardlewis973(68 comments)posted 6 months ago

Repeaters you are an idiot. Any increase in the sales tax would go directly to Mahoning county.

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7uptowngirl(105 comments)posted 6 months ago

This my fellow citizens is exactly why no one should vote to allow a sales tax increase which automatically renews itself. The county will waste your money. The bus sales tax is a perfect example.

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8piwohio(56 comments)posted 6 months ago

What we all have known for so many years is the lies; bait and switch of county government never ends. From the top, who may not officially get paid from taxpayers to the paid Commissioner’s, Department Heads and Chairpersons running these departments? Let’s just look at the “TAX REQUEST- Hostage Deal”. As of this morning the Commissioners, have dropped the request for the new .25%. Well why if you need it so much and we are in deep dog poop if we don’t get it. The 3 of you preached it, tried to sell it. Just the public, non-county paid people saw your smoke. But you had your Department Heads sitting there shaking their chicken, butt kissing heads in agreement with you 3. Did our wonderful Elections Board Chairwoman blow the lid off from this with the surprise that this raise-cost of living was on the EB funding request all along? And just maybe on a lot more department budgets. And a department of 11 with 2 supervisors. How about getting rid of the deputy and getting another clerk. And will save money. And what a joke you 3 did not see it on the EB funding request or were you blind or did she lie??? If she lied, FIRE HER for her actions…

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9dtytown(3 comments)posted 6 months ago

OMG SHAME! ........................... Kale-Pesta how dare you! "people deserve a decent wage" I am unemployed through no fault of my own after over forty years of sweating/toiling to survive here in our shrinking dying town! No shrinking of the overflowing trough provided by Mahoning County Goverment! Wake up folks! No more taxes at our expense for the pigs to slurp up at the trough! The temporary taxes they voted permanent, the new ones added and added, and now create another one to vote on that they'll later stamp permanent. NOT! Wake up folks remember NO at election time to levies and these office holders.

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10DwightK(1236 comments)posted 6 months ago

All this commotion over 17k while Gov Kasich hoards a billion dollar rainy day fund.

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11kurtw(844 comments)posted 6 months ago

I have just one question. Without the Vindicator story detailing the discrepancy in the Board Directors statistics listed in the last 3 paragraphs of the story- How would any of us have known about it? I didn't hear any mention of it on Radio or TV News- basically all they do is dress up news with pretty girls and guy's with gleaming teeth. Doesn't that tell you something?

Without Print Journalism we'd all be "up a creek without a paddle". Pretty girls and Guys with gleaming teeth only get you so far...

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12kurtw(844 comments)posted 6 months ago


If I had my druthers- I'd rather have the Governor of the State of Ohio- putting money into a "rainy day fund (not his own pocket)- than the Local Miscreants taking money out of our pockets and "pissing" it away.

The local money taken benefits no one except the Criminal Machine- read Democrat- that takes it away- State Money put in reserve is a different matter.

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