YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In his final days in office, former county auditor Michael Sciortino gave thousands of dollars in pay raises and bonuses to his employees.
Ralph Meacham froze those pay raises and fired Sciortino’s deputy auditor Carol McFall, saying she had tried to hide information about the pay increases.
Commissioners said, there’s not much they can do. That money is in Meacham’s hands now, who can choose to continue or increase the raises, or cancel them entirely.
“Whether it’s the engineer, the auditor, the treasurer, the recorder, they negotiate their contracts,” Mahoning County Commissioner David Ditzler said. “Every elected official is responsible for their employees.”
“It’s up to the individual office holder,” Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said. “This was done, not by the county commissioners, it was done by the auditor at the time, Michael Sciortino.”
The commissioners say because they don’t control the individual departments, they can’t comment on personal decisions.
“You must live within your budget,” Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said. “If they live within their budget and they are another elected official, we can’t tell them what to do in their office.”
Traficanti said the move probably isn’t illegal.
“The ORC (Ohio Revised Code) gives him that ability, to give raises to whoever he did. Of course the timing is suspect. It was ugly, the way that it happened. And now we have to deal with the fallout,” Traficanti said.
“As long as it was done within his budget, then I see it as being something legal that he was able to do,” Traficanti said.
Michael Sciortino declined a request for an interview for this story.