| || |
April 1, 2009 - Joe Gorman
Blue Morning is what Tuesday was after getting back to back doses of bad economic news, as first the Mahoning County Commissioners passed a $62 million budget that will probably include some layoffs as the county seeks to battle a $3 million deficit followed by a meeting between Mayor Jay Williams and the city's unions to try and find a way for Youngstown to stave off layoffs.
But after talking to people in both City Hall and the Courthouse, perhaps I should have titled this post ``A Matter of Trust' because it is clear that there is a disconnect between the administrations in both places that is caused by a lack of trust (I like Foreigner better than Billy Joel, so I stuck with ``Blue Morning' for the title).
This lack of trust is clearly worse at City Hall, where union reps -- especially in the police department, where the bulk of the cuts will come -- told the mayor they wish they had met earlier while also asking for reams of financial information.
Williams took the high road and said maybe there was a lack of willingness to meet on the administration's part, although he did say that he had asked for some meetings in the past and was rebuffed. He also made a sweeping gesture when someone complained that a public records request he made on behalf of his union was rebuffed by the Finance Department. The explanation the man received was that they were not required to do the work necessary for the request.
When it was pointed out to Williams that not complying with those type of requests leads to a lack of trust, he conceeded the point and told the man his request would be complied with.
But it will take a lot more than that to get any type of trust, especially in the police department, where signs reading KEEP THE COPS have been posted at strategic points. Union leadership says they gave concessions last year and while they won't come out and say it, it is clear they are not in a giving mood.
Over at the Courthouse, commissioners are dealing with a judge who will sue over his budget allocation as well as the hope that other office holders will cut expenses, since commissioners do not control departments run by other elected officials.
Employees I know there are complaining that they have been kept in the dark about everything, much like their counterparts over at City Hall. They are also in no mood to give back -- commissioners suggested one day off per period, a ``rolling holiday' without pay that will amount to a 10 percent cut in pay -- but they are not as heavily unionized as their City Hall brethern. Indeed, the mood at the Courthouse is much more fatalistic -- except in the courts, where judges can pretty much do whatever they want.
In both buildings there is an aura of cynicism and fear that at times is overwhelming. But that's what happens when people are afraid. And that's what happens when there is no trust.
No comments posted for this article.
Post a Comment