HEALTH DEPT.: The city's Health Department will administer a $760,000 grant from the state to create the Reproductive Health Improvement Collaborative, in conjunction with University Hospital’s Center for Women’s Health. The new initiative will try to lessen health disparities in 19 area zip codes — mostly low-income areas — that have high Infant Mortality Rates. The grant was the largest given to Ohio's 88 counties. Locally, the death rate for babies is 6.4 per 1,000 live births, but in the 19 zip code areas the rate is 10 per 1,000 or higher. The initiative's goal is to provide 600 men and about 6,000 women with comprehensive reproductive health and wellness services including HIV testing, screening for cancers and mental health illnesses and counseling and education regarding reproductive health. Also, a network of providers will be established to coordinate care of pre-conception, prenatal, postpartum and inter-conception for mothers citywide.
CINCINNATI: It's not always a good thing to make a Top 10 list. Case in point: The Queen City recently ranked seventh on the list of U.S. cities with the highest poverty rate. According to data compiled from the 2010 U.S. Census, 30.6 percent of Cincinnati's population is living in poverty. That means more than 86,300 people qualify as poor in the urban area, a staggering statistic that is unacceptable.
Cleveland fared worse on the list, placing third among cities with more than 200,000 people. In that locale, 34 percent of residents live in poverty. Topping the list was Detroit, which has 37.6 percent below the poverty line. The Census released the data as part of its annual American Community Survey, which provides updated snapshots of communities so they can plan investments and services. Also, information from the survey generates data that helps determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.
CINCY PAC: The local political action committee that's designed to represent the interests of young professionals saw a board member quit over how the PAC's endorsements were selected. In her resignation letter to other members, Board Member Aja Roberto wrote, “The originally agreed upon process in which dues paying members like you had a 100 percent say in the PACs endorsement eroded, thanks to petty partisan politicking by several board members, many of whom have pledged their support to specific candidates.” Instead, members' votes accounted only for 45 percent of each candidate's score, with 35 percent based on a questionnaire and 20 percent based on the board's preferences. The board responded by stating it's used a weighted scoring process since 2009, and does so “as a safeguard to ensure the process cannot be manipulated by an organized effort.” Maybe so, but was the process clearly spelled out to the rank-and-file beforehand? Regardless, the process smells bad.
CINCINNATI BELL: In a major blow to the telephone and Internet service provider, a federal judge ruled Sept. 20 that a lawsuit filed by an Illinois-based pension fund can proceed to trial. The suit alleges the company's board of directors improperly approved more than $8 million in bonuses and other payments to top executives at a time when its net income dropped by $61 million. Among those getting the extra pay were CEO Jack Cassiday, who got a $4 million bonus on top of his $4.5 million salary. Overall, the pay raises ranged from 54 percent to 80 percent for executives, court documents indicate. Although shareholders had voted against giving the bonuses, the board granted them anyhow. Judge Timothy Black said there is “a plausible claim” that the bonuses “violated Cincinnati Bell’s pay-for-performance compensation policy.” This is a message we hope the firm is receiving loud and clear.