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Friday, March 11, 2011

Mahoning County Dumps Law Firm with Anti-Union Ties

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2011 at 4:07 PM


If there’s a true blue-collar town left in the 50 states where organized labor still has muscle, it’s Youngstown. But enough flex to force the county government to dump its legal representation because of ties to anti-union forces? Yeah, that much flex.

The Vindicator reports on the Mahoning County commissioners’ decision to walk from a contract with Columbus outfit Downes, Fishel, Hass and Kim. According to the paper, the three-person panel voted to cut ties after members of local unions complained about the firm’s association with Republican Governor John Kasich and Senate Bill 5, the controversial legislation that would knee-cap public employees’ bargaining rights.

Funny enough, the firm has been representing the county in labor negotiations with the sheriff’s and sanitary engineer’s offices. The contract between the county and the firm was one of those lush high- dollar hourly deals, $210 plus expenses, that had already drawn fire.

“All three commissioners had concerns about the cost of the firm” and “some concerns about SB 5 (Senate Bill 5) and that firm’s involvement in the creation of SB5,” said John A. McNally IV, chairman of the commissioners. “We don’t really see it as an impediment to negotiations moving forward,” McNally said of the dismissal of the firm.

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