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Youngstown council discusses OT pay for health department employees

City Council discussed how to pay seven Youngstown City Health District employees overtime for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. The total overtime for all employees is about $24,300.
Youngstown City Hall
(Photo by William D. Lewis | Mahoning Matters)

YOUNGSTOWN — City Council Monday night discussed paying about $24,300 in overtime to employees in the Youngstown City Health District for work performed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The overtime funds will come from a COVID-19 grant from the Ohio Department of Health. 

The pay is from extra hours worked from January to March earlier this year. Health Commissioner Erin Bishop said the overtime hours were due to health department clinics when coronavirus vaccines first rolled out. 

The health department overtime and payments include:

  • Erin Bishop would receive about $9,915 for 179 hours;
  • Lillian Cunningham would receive about $1,113 for 38.5 hours;
  • Rick Dezsi would receive about $580 for 16.5 hours;
  • Anthea Mickens would receive about $8,937 for 205.25 hours;
  • Theresa Sanchez would receive about $1,861 for 52.75 hours;
  • Golie Stennis would receive about $724 for 22.5 hours;
  • Faith Terrieri would receive about $1,164 for 26.75 hours.

Originally, City Council planned to vote on an ordinance that would pay the employees from the health fund for overtime. Council members expressed concern over the legal complications for future instances. 

"I think what I sense here ... is people should be compensated for what they did," Councilman Mike Ray, 5th Ward, said, adding it would just depend on how council would decide for them to receive the overtime payments.

During the Monday meeting, council members decided to vote on a new ordinance at the July 28 meeting that would change the master salary to allow the overtime payments. 

A temporary change would be made to each person’s job description to allow them to receive overtime pay. 

Finance Director Kyle Miasek said he will work with the law department to create a new ordinance that will outline the temporary changes to the job description to allow the employees to receive their overtime payments. 

Council will vote to approve the overtime payments at the meeting on July 28.

Federal Plaza Fund

City Council also received an update from Miasek on the Federal Plaza fund. 

During the past two years, the funds have not been used due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 2020, the budget was $125,000 and only $24,000 was spent; due to the city-wide shutdown. In comparison, there was $135,000 budgeted and $138,000 spent in 2017.

So far this year, only $5,000 of the $125,000 has been spent, not including $10,000 that is pending for Saturday's Youngstown Wine and Jazz event. 

Miasek said the mayor’s office has been in contact with him about upcoming events. 

“I don’t expect that we’re going to use all of the budget,” Miasek said, noting that many events were canceled at the beginning of the year including the Fourth of July fireworks. 

However, because of the easing of COVID-19 guidelines, he does expect more funds in the account to be spent in 2021 including the annual Christmas tree lighting. 

Miasek said he will provide another update next month to council. 

Surplus property

Sharon Woodberry, director of economic development, also updated City Council for a potential buyer of the building at 2933 Salt Springs Road.

Miasek said the city has been looking for a potential buyer for the old AT&T building and can declare the building as a surplus for economic development purposes.

Woodberry said Kempthorn Collision Center is interested in buying and renovating the building. The vehicle repair shop currently has locations in Akron and Canton.

Woodberry said the center would initially pay $25,000 for the building with plans to lease it for three years for $99,000 while the building is renovated. The Kempthorn would pay $550,000 to purchase the building from the city once the building is renovated and possibly before the end of the three-year lease.

Once opened, the center could create between 20 and 25 new jobs that have a range of salaries between $50,000 to $110,000.

The city would also receive revenue from the sale, additional funds from the lease and income tax from employees. 

“What they are proposing is a good project,” Woodberry said.

Ellen Wagner

About the Author: Ellen Wagner

Ellen Wagner reports on municipal services and budget cuts in Youngstown. She is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.
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