YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown City Council rejected a fact finder’s report on Wednesday that would have given raises to the 100-member police patrolman’s union.
A majority — but not all — of council made the decision after being told the raises must also include a large increase in revenues, which is not foreseen anytime soon, or a large decrease in expenditures, which Mayor Tito Brown’s administration apparently does not want to do.
The fact finder’s report suggested a 1.25% raise the first year, 1% the second and 1% the third, as well as cutting step increases from 12 to 9.
At Wednesday evening’s meeting, Finance Director Kyle Miasek showed that should city council accept the fact finder’s report, it would cost Youngstown nearly $870,000 over the life of the contract, with 60% of that coming in the third year.
“So by 2021, we would have to increase our revenues or reduce our expenditures by a combined $548,000,” Miasek said.
He also said the union demanded that speed camera money be used to pay their salaries and the fact finder used the money as a way to pay for wage increases.
Speed camera money is currently used to buy police equipment. It’s council’s decision on how the money will be used.
“They believe that they have the authority, through legal counsel, to force you to make changes when you are the appropriating authority. That is the union’s position,” Miasek said.
A majority of council agreed that speed camera money should not be used for salaries.
Council voted 6-1 to reject the fact finder’s report, with the Fifth Ward’s Lauren McNally the only one voting to accept it.
If council wants investments in the city, then she said council should invest in its services.
“I think it’s just disappointing that the administration continues to tell us that we can’t afford our safety services but at the same time, they’re doing nothing to increase our tax base and our revenue.”
Fourth Ward Councilman Mike Ray voted to reject the report, saying the step increases are the issue.
“We need to give our officers raises, I agree with that. I think the percentages are in line with what the other unions are getting. We need to fix the problem. We have a structural issue. Hopefully, they’ll be able to sit back down at the table with us and negotiate.”
Michael Anderson, president of the patrolmen’s union released this statement about council’s decision:
“I, as well as the membership, will take a long and calculated look at all of council and the mayor for this vote of rejection as a rejection against this union, the employees and the citizens of this great city. To the lone one who stood for us, I pray that favor follows her and is upon her in everything she puts her mind and hands to.”