Mahoning engineer unhappy with state audit


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two days after the Mahoning County Engineer’s office got a performance audit back from the state, they want to have it looked at again.

Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti said his office has to spend money to modernize and make itself more efficient, but the state auditor does not seem to be on the same page. The audit by David Yost, which covers the past 14 months, suggests staffing reductions that could save the county approximately $500,000.

Yost suggested $84,000 could be saved annually by using payroll software and other technological changes that would eliminate the need for one position in the payroll and purchasing department. He also said the office could reduce administrative overhead by $98,500 annually by eliminating one operations supervisor position.

But Ginnetti said the audit was supposed to focus on updates within the department that could save money.

“We are trying to correct some of the errors of the past,” Ginnetti said.

That is why the county spent $100,000 to have the state audit the engineer’s office. Ginnetti said the audit did not answer essential questions.

“I did not ask how we do more with less. I asked how do we become more productive and more efficient with what we have,” he said.

Yost said the audits are ongoing.

The auditor also said the engineer’s office could save $384,000 annually by re-negotiating provisions in the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

“Talks about money could be saved through collective bargaining. These savings would bring Mahoning County’s benefits and staffing in line with surrounding county engineer’s offices,” Yost said.

The audit shows engineers in Mahoning County are paid nearly $8 more than engineers in similar Ohio counties.

Ginnetti said pay is a part of union negotiations that took place earlier this spring.

“They are called negotiations for a reason. There is going to be some give and take,” he said.

Even though Ginnetti said he agrees with a few parts of the audit, his office will ask the state to clarify questions they have and make changes to have the audit in line with what they paid for.

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