Youngstown police are loyal to the job, not the paycheck

Youngstown police are loyal to the job, not the paycheck


I took offense to the statement in your editorial last Sunday regarding residency that read, in part, “watch [the cities’] employees, especially those at the top scale, become commuters with no more loyalty to the community than a paycheck buys.”

I have been a police officer with the city of Youngstown for 31 years, most of which I have not been a city resident. Many of the “top scale” employees in the police department are also not city residents. These officers were hired prior to the change in the residency requirement. Recently the residency requirement has again changed, allowing employees to live where they want. Regardless of where they live these employees pay the same income taxes as everyone else.

During my career I have seen many laws and rules change pertaining to public employees in regard to hiring practices, job performances and duties and responsibilities. Changes by the courts, arbitrators and the voting public have not always been popular with one side or the other, but they have to be followed.

As far as pay scale is concerned, current contracts have been developed over the years through collective bargaining. Note the word “bargaining.” During some negotiations, agreements were made with the city to add benefits and forgo pay increases. Benefits have been removed altogether during negotiations. “Collective bargaining” is still in effect and is the process followed during contract negotiations.

The work ethic I have seen demonstrated by officers while dealing with the amount and nature of the crimes committed in the city has been outstanding, regardless of where they may live. To suggest that the loyalty of any Youngstown police officer can be bought is outrageous and insulting to me and the department as a whole.

When an emergency exists in the city and everyone is running away from it, Youngstown police officers are rushing toward it. That kind of loyalty doesn’t come because of a paycheck.



X The writer is president of Youngstown Police Ranking Officers.

There was no party coup


While I appreciate all the hard work Tom Lamb has done on behalf of the Democratic Party, I must take exception to a number of points he raised in a letter to The Vindicator last Sunday.

First of all, the chair of the party does not appoint all the members of the executive committee. This group is comprised of all the elected party officers as well as members named by the chair. When I was elected earlier this year I expanded this important committee to include every elected Democratic officeholder in Mahoning County. It is now more diverse and representative of all Democrats than it has ever been.

Second, under Article XIV of the party’s constitution, the “Executive Committee [is] to act at all times for the Central Committee when the Central Committee is not in session.” That means that when the executive committee unanimously adopted a resolution regarding the deeply flawed casino initiative it was doing so on behalf of the central committee. It is entirely proper to say that the Mahoning County Democratic Party is officially and vehemently opposed to the scheme currently being pushed by the Ohio Jobs and Growth Committee.

I would note that County Commissioner John McNally and I provided our legal services free of charge.

Finally, the party will be at the forefront of the health care debate in our area. We are preparing to participate in the concerted effort to help President Obama, Sen. Brown, and Reps. Ryan and Wilson reform America’s broken health care delivery system.



X The writer is chair of the Mahoning County Democratic Party.

Tale of a one-industry town


Regarding Forbes magazine’s economics ranking of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Mayor Williams says we’re “suffering from economic decline.” We have a year 2010 plan that has been widely noted. On Aug. 10 a conference on 10 fastest dying cities will be held in Dayton.

All very interesting; let’s take a close look back at our economic history:

We were a steel town. The employment pattern was simple — dad gets junior a job in the mill, and, with benefits, junior is set for life. But management gave into unions demands, so along with poor leadership, the steel industry was dead. That was the end of the one-industry town. However, along came the savior — another one industry deal — automobile making, with big wages and big benefits. Get a job there and you’re set for life. Once again, unreal union demands and incompetent management brought the end of GM, Chrysler, Delphi and all the unreal “benefits.”

What are the real problems here?

We have to be competitive with our competitors.

We have to have a national health program and stop loading that cost on to the end product.

Most important: change our educational system, from K through 12. Offer a complete training plan by competent teaching, supervision and 21st century curriculum.

Forget two year junior colleges — teach them what they need to know in four years of high school, as most other countries do.

Equip all students in all subjects to ready them to apply, get hired and hold a job instead of having them ending in “the most wanted” criminal column in The Vindicator. Favoring and doting on the upper 2 to 4 percent of students is wrong: Youngstown has to train all levels. Students must have a philosophy to live by and it has to be taught in the school system.

Youngstown cannot be a one-industry city again. The longer the Board of Education drags its feet the worse off Youngstown will become. The board must provide the needed leadership. We must have high school graduates so well taught and trained that entrepreneurs and corporations will want to locate their businesses here.