JFS bonuses are not reckless

DEAR EDITOR:

I would like to address some comments made in the Jan. 7 Tribune Chronicle article “County leaders spar over bonuses.”

Trumbull County Job and Family Services, or JFS, Director John Gargano was quoted that he was “still reviewing the department’s budget and may need the bonus incentive money — up to $1,000 for each of the 170 employees — to cover spending that went over the year’s projections and other future expenses.” The article also quoted Gargano as stating that due to the fact that union negotiations were ongoing, “he held off on consulting with his fiscal administrator to determine if the department could afford incentive bonuses.”

I personally met Jan. 4. with fiscal officer Bill Cummings after the negotiations were finalized, and he said there was more than adequate funding for Child Support and Child and Family Services to include payment of the bonus incentive money.

This bonus incentive money was earned by our employees. The JFS director can afford to pay these employees that incentive, per the fiscal officer. Also, this money will be spent by our employees here locally, benefiting our local economy, rather than being sent back to the state if it is not used. This is not reckless, nor irresponsible, as stated by my fellow commissioners in the article. For the reasons I previously stated, it would be sound fiscal practice to pay the bonuses.

What is reckless, irresponsible and unsound fiscal practice is creating the new proposed county position of county administrator / purchase agent, paid for by the county’s general fund. As stated in the article, the county has “an already razor-thin general fund.” Why, then, are Commissioners Mauro Cantalamessa and Dan Polivka creating a new position the county cannot afford and does not need?

According to Dave Yost, Ohio auditor, Trumbull County’s general fund has the potential for high-risk fiscal stress, meaning the general fund has expenses greater than the revenue the county receives. Trumbull County Auditor Adrian Biviano said the state has already given our county one of two checks to cover the loss of sales tax revenue normally received from Medicare from August 2017 until the end of 2018.

Knowing these facts, hiring a new administrator is not a sound fiscal practice and is completely reckless and irresponsible.

FRANK FUDA

Trumbull County

commissioner

Niles

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