Youngstown mayor rescinds raises given by predecessor


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Mayor Jamael Tito Brown rescinded the raises of four law department employees – including three who received increases of more than 10 percent – that were given by his predecessor, John A. McNally, in his final weeks running city government.

In an email sent Wednesday, Brown wrote after meeting with new Law Director Jeff Limbian that he has canceled the raises for the four assistant law directors effective immediately.

“On an interim basis, all four will return to their former positions,” he wrote.

Brown and Limbian will consider whether to retain the four employees along with others in the law department. City attorneys are employed at the discretion of the mayor.

Limbian replaced Martin Hume as law director Tuesday. Hume had recommended the raises to McNally, who was in the final weeks as mayor, and the increases were approved Oct. 30.

The Vindicator reported Nov. 19 the raises were given despite the city’s facing a projected $2.5 million to $3 million general-fund deficit by the end of this year.

“At that late period of time and with the city’s financial situation, it wasn’t appropriate,” Brown said Wednesday. “It didn’t sit with me well.”

Those in the law department who received promotions that were rescinded Wednesday are:

Jeffrey Moliterno, whose hourly salary went from $28.90 to $31.82, a 10.1 percent raise. Over a year, the pay would have increased from $60,112 to $66,186. He was promoted from a senior assistant law director to third assistant law director.

Nicole Alexander, whose hourly salary also went from $28.90 to $31.82, a 10.1 percent raise. Like Moliterno, her annual salary would have increased from $60,112 to $66,186. She was promoted from a senior assistant law director to second assistant law director.

Mark D’Apolito, whose hourly salary went from $24.30 to $27.12, an 11.6 percent pay raise. His annual salary would have increased from $50,544 to $56,410. He was promoted from assistant law director to senior assistant law director.

Kathleen Thompson, whose hourly salary went from $30.67 to $32.66, a 6.5 percent raise. Her annual salary would have increased from $63,794 to $67,933. She was promoted from senior assistant law director to assistant law director and senior prosecutor.

When contacted for the Nov. 19 article, Brown had said: “With the financial situation the city is in, these things should not happen. These are not the type of actions we will tolerate in my administration. I can’t do anything at this point. But when I become mayor, I will address them.”

On just the third day of his administration, Brown did just that.

McNally and Hume had defended the promotions saying they were based on merit, the employees are underpaid, and the city could afford the salary increases.

In addition to the law department promotions, McNally also adjusted the salary and job description of Abigail Beniston. She is the code enforcement and blight remediation superintendent. She assumed the tasks of the wastewater construction engineer to help the city with its $150 million long-term sewer-overflow control plan.

Beniston’s hourly salary went, effective Nov. 6, from $25.39 to $29.21, a 15 percent raise, according to records provided by the law department. Over a full year, her salary would increase from $52,811 to $60,757.

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