County officials looking into raises granted by Sciortino

Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham is investigating raises given by his predecessor

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – For the two days Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham has been in office, he has been working to clean up a mess left by his predecessor, Michael Sciortino, who approved raises or bonuses for 18 employees just days before his suspension.

The pay increases totaled nearly $50,000. On Tuesday, Meacham’s first day in office, he began looking into his employee pay changes. Meacham said he asked Chief Deputy Auditor Carol McFall for a form outlining the employee pay changes, but she gave him a handwritten form, without the official county stamp.

But that was not the only thing that was missing.

“She intentionally omitted it because she did not think it was relevant, or specifically requested,” Meacham said.

The form McFall had given Meacham also does not list more than $28,000 paid in bonuses to 14 employees on Feb. 20.

Meacham then fired McCall for not providing accurate reports. According to documents, McFall received a bonus of $2,730 that was paid to her on Feb. 20. She also received a nearly $2,000 salary increase.

“My policy will be don’t make an assumption. If someone asks you for something, let them decide the relevance. I am not going to run this place and hide stuff,” Meacham said.

He said Sciortino provided bonuses to his management staff and raises to some of his staff. The 13 salary increases range from $448 to to more than $7,000, which was given to Thomas Lyden, who also received a promotion.

Meacham’s team is reviewing the legality of the raises, which have been put on hold for now.

Of the 13 employees who received salary raises, three of them are union members. Meacham said he is working with the union also on fixing their contracts.

“It is really improper for an an employer to give out raises to union members, select union members, as opposed to the group,” Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains said.

As far as the bonuses already paid, there is no way to get that money back.

“The bonuses are probably out there and they are going to remain. I don’t care for that. I know that other county employees are going to be very upset over it and I don’t like the way it was handled by Mr. Sciortino,” Gains said.

Without a chief deputy auditor, Meacham is still optimistic about the future of his office.

“It won’t set the county back because the rest of the staff is very qualified. We will get through it. I will pull them together and together we will get through this,” Meacham said.

Meacham said he is currently looking to fill the position of chief deputy auditor.

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