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Youngstown council confuses itself with a city that has cash

By Todd Franko (Contact)

Published February 26, 2008

Several months back, a government vacancy was about to get filled. Our planning chat that day included the need to get the new person's salary and compare it against the prior person's salary.

Off the cuff, I predicted the new person will be making more than the outgoing person. 

I think the new salary came in $13,000 more. I'll check later today to be sure.

But what's to be sure, there are people in government who can't get out of their own foolish ways of doing business.

The latest is the Youngstown City Council.

In today's Vindy is a story about how some council members are not happy that the proposed salary for the parks director position is $57,000.

They want it to be more. The previous person's salary was $70,794.

How can city leaders say $57,000 is not enough money when not one application has been solicited? Where is the logic of paying more than what the market possibly needs?

Maybe the market needs $70K. But maybe it only needs $57K. Hell -- in our workforce, it's an employer's market. Maybe $50K will do it.

I missed the memo where the city is all of a sudden flush with cash. They must be confusing Youngstown with Dublin or Shaker Heights.  

The weird thing in this event is that Mayor Jay's administration wants the post at $57K. They're the full-time, day-in-day out bosses. Yet they're being nudged by the city's elected, part-time bosses.

You have to wonder if someone has an inside track for the supposedly open post, and saw themselves at $70K. 

I predict that one councilman will use arbitrator speak (which BTW is the biggest fraud being pulled on taxpayers, says me) and say a higher salary keeps us at par with neighboring communities. I'm not sure a neighboring community matches our economic plight, unless overnight someone U-Hauled us next to Gary or Camden.

If any of the councilmen ran the city like their private business, there is no way they would pay more for a worker than they had to. 

Memo to council on hiring: Post a salary; see who applies; if you like an applicant and they like the pay, hire them at that salary; if you don't like the applicants, raise the pay till you find the person you like.

Officials will meet again Thursday on the salary. Stay tuned.


1debraweaver(30 comments)posted 8 years, 5 months ago

I'm intrigued...can someone please explain council's logic to me? How can they justify the fact that a city school teacher who is responsible for our children's education has an average salary of $40K, often with an advanced degree, and the average wage earner in the city earns far less than even that, and yet council thinks a park director should be paid $70K? Todd, I believe your assessment of the situation is correct; someone close to council has an inside track for the job. Let's start calling this type of thing what it is: corruption and cronyism. Perhaps it is time that I took a course called Youngstown City Government 101. Please, if anyone knows the answers to the following questions please educate me:
1.) Exactly what are the job qualifications for a park director?
2.) What educational level and courses must the park director have?
3.) Is this a civil service position? and if so is there a test that must be passed?
4.) Is the position of park director advertised to the public? and if so where?
5.) For all other positions in the city what are the hiring practices? Does everyone in administration get paid $70K to start?
I know the average city worker does not earn anywhere near $70K. I also know that city workers are often attacked for even having benefits and retirement. Nice, I guess for those in management positions because it keeps the heat off them. It is time that the city of Youngstown develops fair and equitable hiring practices. The mayor needs to make some serious changes regarding this, and if he needs us, the citizens, to come to Council to support him, he needs to get the word out. We'll be there. I find it ironic that just last night I was talking with some people about the park situation and the fact that there are small pocket parks throughout the city that have received very little attention in past years. Seems to me that the last park director who earned $70K did a very poor job. Let's hire someone qualified for this position. I see environmental issues (of which parks are a part) as playing an integral role in the revitalization of Youngstown. It is time that council educates themselves. It is time for them to learn a collaborative approach to government, one where the goals of the city and the duties of city departments become interconnected, and one where transparency in government is of paramount importance. If this approach to government is encouraged and implemented, citizens will begin to trust government again.

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