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Published: Wednesday, 1/23/2013

Lucas County commissioners OK one-time payout to 620 workers

$1,000 lump-sum payment given in lieu of raises

BY KATE GIAMMARISE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Editor's note: This version corrects the spelling of Megan Vahey Casiere's name.

Lucas County commissioners approved several personnel-related moves Tuesday, including giving one-time payments in lieu of raises for many county employees and hiring a chief of planning and development.

About 500 union employees and 120 nonunion employees will get a $1,000 lump-sum payment in an upcoming paycheck, which commissioners characterized as a more fiscally responsible way to reward employees than wage increases.

“These people made sacrifices and took no wage increases for five years,” said Commissioner Carol Contrada. “They took adjustments in their work rules that helped the county save money during tough economic times.”

Added Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak, “It is fair compensation in tough times.”

The cost to the county will amount to about $63,000 in general fund dollars and about $673,000 from outside the general fund.

Steve Kowalik, staff representative for Local 544 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Ohio Council 8, could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening. Bonuses would go to employees in several departments, such as Job and Family Services, Child Support Enforcement, the dog warden’s office, and non-bargaining unit employees overseen by the commissioners’ office, though not those of other elected officials.

Commissioners also moved to hire Megan Vahey Casiere for a new position created Tuesday, chief of planning and development. Ms. Casiere, who works for the Council of the District of Columbia, previously worked for former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford’s administration as a public information officer as well as an executive assistant, according to her resume. She will begin her new duties Feb. 4.

Ms. Casiere, who could not be reached for comment, will be paid $79,996 annually. The chief of planning and development will serve as the lead staff person for the county’s Community Economic Development Strategy, among other projects, according to a job description.

Additionally, commissioners authorized the county to pay a $20,000 settlement to an employee who sued the Lucas County Board of Elections last year, alleging she was fired improperly in a violation of open-meetings laws. The lawsuit maintained the board did not follow the law when going into executive session to discuss the termination.

Michelle Dudley, an information technology manager, was fired in April for failing to ensure all test votes were purged from voting machines after a test; she maintained the task was not her responsibility. Ms. Dudley was later hired by the county Department of Job and Family Services.

The settlement does not admit wrongdoing by the county, said Assistant Prosecutor John Borell.

“We felt it was best to cut it off now and limit our liability,” Mr. Borell said.

Finally, commissioners approved a pay increase for Dog Warden Julie Lyle. Ms. Lyle has increased adoptions and decreased dog euthanizations, commissioners said. Her salary will increase from $58,011 annually to $65,000.

All the actions were unanimous votes by all three commissioners.

Contact Kate Giammarise at:kgiammarise@theblade.comor 419-724-6091, or onTwitter @KateGiammarise.



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