MARK MALLORY: In an ill-advised move, Cincinnati’s mayor has decided to sue the city so a legal ruling can be issued about what constitutes “compensation.” Mallory receives a $500 monthly car allowance but the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) recently threatened to sue the city unless the allowance was stopped, alleging the city’s charter doesn’t allow for any additional compensation to the mayor beyond his $121,000 annual salary. In a preemptive move, Mallory sued first, hoping to get clarification from a judge. As officials ask for sacrifices from city workers to help avoid a deficit, we think this is something the mayor should voluntarily give up.
HEALTH FOUNDATION: Last December Cincinnati City Council voted to stop its portion of funding for the city’s school nurse program, citing deficits.
The program costs $3.5 million annually, with $2 million coming from the city. In an effort to save it, the Greater Cincinnati Health Foundation has proposed a revamped version that would replace some registered nurses with school health assistants. Under this plan, the city would kick in $650,000 annually and the Health Foundation would donate $200,000 to keep the program for the rest of 2011. For some low-income students, this is the only access to health-care services they have, and this seems like a reasonable compromise.
CMHA: The Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority’s board of trustees voted last week to change the time of its monthly meetings — which are held on the last Tuesdays of the month — from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. The change has been opposed by several neighborhood activists as being a way to lessen public input and oversight of the agency’s work. We tend to agree. Most citizens work during the day and cannot afford to take off just to speak at a meeting. There’s no justifiable reason for the trustees to alter the time, and we suspect it was done so they wouldn’t be criticized so often by people displeased with the agency’s Section 8 policies. Whether we agree with the critics is irrelevant; fostering public input is a good thing.
CARACOLE: The Ohio Department of Health recently awarded an $848,000 grant to Caracole so it could expand its case management services for people affected by HIV/AIDS. As a result, the Bond Hill-based nonprofit agency is expanding its client base from 240 people to roughly 1,000 in an eight-county region throughout Southwest Ohio. Case managers are trained to guide people living with HIV or AIDS through the bureaucratic maze of state and federal programs and help them find the medical treatment they need. Also, they can determine eligibility for Ryan White Emergency Financial Assistance, which can include last-resort funding to buy high-priced prescription medications.