Commissioners approve compensation study extension

Published: Fri, November 11, 2016 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Sean Barron


County commissioners approved a resolution to allow a five-month extension of a classification and compensation study intended to determine if workers in county government are being adequately paid for their work.

During their meeting Thursday in the Mahoning County Children Services building on West Federal Street, officials approved the agreement to give Evergreen Solutions LLC until June 30, 2017, to finish the work, which is one year to the day that commissioners hired the Tallahassee, Fla.-based company to conduct the $65,000 study.

The pay study, which got underway in late September, is comparing county employees’ compensation with that of their counterparts in governments of Stark and other counties of similar size.

The time extension was necessary to ensure the process is more thorough, said Karen U’Halie, the county’s human-resources director.

The study, however, generated controversy when Adam L. Rutushin, a Republican who ran for county commissioner against Democratic incumbent Anthony T. Traficanti before being defeated in Tuesday’s election, expressed criticism of Evergreen’s hiring, saying that information in the study is already available.

Also at the session, commissioners approved a $25,000 Mahoning County Department of Job and Family Services grant to Hope House Visitation Center Inc.

The facility, off Glenwood Avenue on the South Side, provides a safe environment for neutral, court-ordered visitation and custody exchanges to families dealing mainly with divorce, domestic and family violence, substance abuse and custody battles, along with sexual abuse and mental-health issues, noted Carole Donaldson, executive director.

In addition, the agency conducts orientations and needs-assessments to better determine the level of violence in homes, she said.

Hope House, which opened in 2000, charges a small fee for its services, so the grant money will make it easier for families of low or no income to afford the services, Donaldson explained. Also, her agency has a $45,000 contract with Mahoning County Children Services Board to serve some of those clients, she said.

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