Tuesday, May 9, 2017



Immediately after the original blog

Have most Mr./Ms. Private Sector employee had anywhere near 10% wage/salary increase since January 1, 2014?

Probably not.

Across some 2700 employees, a number of county government employees have and in some cases then some.

Of course, there are some who have had much less during the January 1, 2014 through May 1, 2017 time span.

On January 1, 2014 there were 2632 county employees whereas today there about 2700; an increase of 68 employees, which, of course, account for the overall 10% salary expense increase that Stark County government has experienced.

The Stark County Political Report initiates this series of reports going through county office payroll data (base data provided by Alan Harold's county auditor office).

From time-to-tme, the SCPR will publish an analysis of various county government operations in the context of the salary expense factor.

Readers should keep in mind that the wage expense is only part of the overall salary expense factor. County government provides a generous benefits factor courtesy of Stark County taxpayers which likely amounts to about 35% of the annual wages.

First up in this multi-part series, is the Office of  911 Emergency Preparedness.

This office is not managed by an elected official.

Here is a corrected chart for Emergency Preparedness.

Some interesting numbers, no?

Especially the increases going to the director, the deputy director and the 911 IT coordinator.

But certainly not the administrative assistant.

One would think the that county commissioners would have a tighter grip on things than to allow such a glaring disproportion.

The commissioners' standard since the 1/2 cent sales tax increase passed has been 2% per cent per year in wage increases to be divided as determined by the manager of a given office.

And yet 911 Emergency Preparedness is at 13%/3.5 years (accounting for unfilled planner position in 2014 the real increase number is about 13% not 37% as indicated in spreadsheet) is at 3.7% on average.

As far as the SCPR is concerned the 3.7% is not the worst of this story: 25 (a corrected number), 21 and 8% raises concentrated in three employees.


Though it is not a huge number, the 68 additional employees means that Stark County government does has spots of growth.

This series over time will reveal where that growth is taking place.

Will the commissioners has an answer as to a "justifying why?"


I appreciate  Stark County fiance director Chris Nichol' input and rather bold suggestions as how I should have written this blog, but "I alone" write the SCPR according to my own criteria.

Normally, I would publish his entire e-mail response on behalf of the Stark County commissioners.

However, his e-mail I think will cause most readers to glaze over with all the whys, wherefores and complexities he introduces.

Accordingly, I summarize his objections to the format I have elected to write in, to wit:

  • I have oversimplified and misrepresented the numbers I use as they pertain to the commissioners financial management of Stark County government,
    • There are, Nichols says, extenuating circumstances and explanations:
      • Some local government functions are funded by federal, state and county enterprise dollars,
      • A number of employees listed on the auditor's office database are part-time and part-time season (e.g. Stark County Board of Elections).
        • An example he describes:  there are two part-time employees doing the job of a former full-time employee in the commissioners office itself which saves the county money in total wages.  The point being that the county is charge with having two employees rather than one.
  • I imply that the commissioners have budgeting authority overall 2700 (more or less) employees listed in the auditor's May 4, 2017 database provided to me whereas the real number is 1,054.
  • I do not go deep enough into the data in terms of numbers of years which formed the basis of my analysis.
  • And finally, Nichols makes a couple of points I consider to be of the nitpicking variety and not becoming of a county finance director.

Whether the money for wage increases and numbers of employees comes from the federal government, state government or county government or county government enterprise funds is a distinction that everyday Stark Countians will not appreciate.

All the money comes from those of  us who pay taxes at the federal, state and county levels.

As Nichols points out,  the commissioners do not have budgeting/appropriating authority over the federal, state and county enterprise funds that finance various local government offices.

While most of the listed employee positions are not employees over whom the commissioners have direct control over (excepting, of course, those who work directly for the commissioners), they are paid through the county payroll system which means to me that at least in an generic sense they are Stark County government employees that work to benefit Stark Countians and are paid with funds from various at some level of government taxpayer provided funds.

Nonetheless, the commissioners do have the "bully pulpit" with which to weigh in on the finances (raises and the like) and scope (i.e. numbers of employees).

In the nearly nine years I have covered the commissioners, I have heard them frequently challenge leaders of many Stark County offices on their budget requests.

And from my perspective, they have had an effect on where those offices end up in terms of appropriated monies and moreover, to me  one as one observer, had an obvious effect by critical questioning (in the context of annual budget hearings) on how the office head allocates those  appropriations

The 911 Emergency Preparedness operation is a county government function that is reviewed by the commissioners in their annual budget review.

Nichols makes a point that the total number of employees (about 2700) in this blog are not full-time. Some are part-time and some are seasonal part-time.

As I go through the various Stark County offices I select to analyze I will point out in a comparative context how the mix of full-time/part-time/part-time seasonal employees by offices analyzed.

The 911 Emergency Preparedness office has no listed part-time employees and is the reason I did not get into the part-time/full-time factor in this particular blog.

When I use multiple years (2013 through 2016 and into the first five months of 2017), I do, despite Nichols disagreement, account for all the goings and comings of all (full-time, part-time, part-time seasonal employees listed on the auditor's office database for the time frame reported on.

Apparently, Nichols is assuming that I am not going to provide that full-time/part-time ratio.

Of course, assuming is not a good thing for an analytical person do so.

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