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by German Lopez 10.03.2013
 
 
city hall

City Offers Another Concession on MSD Contracting Rules

County shut down $3.2 billion MSD project in response to city rules

Councilman Chris Seelbach on Oct. 3 announced another concession in the ongoing city-county dispute over contracting rules for the jointly operated Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).

At the heart of the issue is a federal mandate requiring Cincinnati to retrofit and revamp its sewer system. The project is estimated to cost $3.2 billion over 15 years, making it the largest infrastructure undertaking in the city’s history.

But Hamilton County commissioners have put most of the project on hold until the county resolves its conflict with City Council, which unanimously passed in June 2012 and modified in May “responsible bidder” rules that dictate how MSD contractors should train their employees.

Critics say the law’s apprenticeship program and pre-apprenticeship fund requirements put too much of a burden on nonunion businesses. Supporters claim the requirements help create local jobs and train local workers.

The city law requires bidders to follow specific standards for apprenticeship programs, which are used by unionized and nonunion businesses to teach an employee in a certain craft, such as plumbing or construction. It also asks contractors to put 10 cents for each hour of labor into a pre-apprenticeship fund that will help teach applicants in different crafts.

The concession announced on Oct. 3 would replace a mandate with an incentive program.

The mandate tasked contract bidders to prove their apprenticeship programs have graduated at least one person a year for the five previous years.

The incentive program would strip the mandate and replace it with “bid credits,” which would essentially give a small advantage to bidders who prove their apprenticeship programs are graduating employees. That advantage would be weighed along with many other factors that go into the city’s evaluation of bidders.

Seelbach says the concession will be the sixth the city has given to the county, compared to the county’s single concession.

The city has already added several exemptions to its rules, including one for small businesses and another for all contracts under $400,000, which make up half of MSD contracts. The city also previously loosened safety training requirements and other apprenticeship rules.

Meanwhile, the county has merely agreed to require state-certified apprenticeship programs, although with no specific standards like the city’s.

The five-year graduation requirement was the biggest sticking point in the city-county dispute. It’s now up to commissioners to decide whether the concession is enough to let MSD work go forward. If not, the dispute could end up in court as the federal government demands its mandate be met.

 
 
by Kevin Osborne 10.03.2011
 
 
seal_of_cincinnati,_ohio

Candidates On: The Future of the Environmental Justice Ordinance

As part of CityBeat's continuing election coverage, we’ve once again sent a questionnaire to the non-incumbent Cincinnati City Council candidates to get their reactions on a broad range of issues.

Nine of the 14 non-incumbents chose to answer our questions. Others either didn’t respond or couldn’t meet the deadline.

During the next few weeks, we will print the responses from the non-incumbents to a different topic each time.

Today’s question is, “What is your stance on the city's Environmental Justice Ordinance? Should it be retained or repealed?”

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by Kevin Osborne 10.17.2011
Posted In: 2011 Election, City Council, Police, Labor Unions at 01:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
fop

Cracking the FOP's Secrets

As has become the norm during the last few election cycles, Cincinnati's police union is reluctant to publicly reveal its full slate of endorsements, for some strange reason. No matter: CityBeat managed to get this year's information.

Working through multiple sources at different campaigns, we've compiled what we believe to be an all-inclusive list of endorsements made by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Queen City Lodge No. 69.

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by 08.07.2009
Posted In: City Council, 2009 Election, Police, Spending at 05:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 

Did Cranley, Luken Plant Seeds for Layoffs?

Despite all the fiery rhetoric and political grandstanding at a special City Council meeting Thursday evening at the Duke Energy Center, residents might not notice much of a difference if the city manager decides to lay off 138 people in the Cincinnati Police Department.

Even with proposed layoffs, the Police Department’s staffing level still would be within the range that Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. said was sufficient just a few years ago.

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by 09.25.2009
 
 

West Side Progressives Gather

“Being a Westsider and a progressive is not an oxymoron. We are thousands.”

That’s the motto of an event being held Saturday by Nicholas Hollan, a Democrat running for Cincinnati City Council. Hollan is organizing the “Potluck for Progressives” picnic, which will be held from 4-7 p.m. at Rapid Run Park's shelter house.

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by 01.11.2011
Posted In: News, City Council, Community, 2009 Election at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Harris Takes Detroit Schools Job

Former Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Harris has accepted a major, high-profile job in Detroit, where he will live during the week.

Harris, 39, was hired Monday as the first executive director for Excellent Schools Detroit. The new organization is comprised of various education, government, community and philanthropic leaders who have developed a 10-year, citywide education plan to improve Detroit's public school system.

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by Kevin Osborne 09.28.2011
 
 
seal_of_cincinnati,_ohio

Candidates On: Moving the Drop Inn Center

As part of CityBeat's continuing election coverage, we’ve once again sent a questionnaire to the non-incumbent Cincinnati City Council candidates to get their reactions on a broad range of issues.

Nine of the 14 non-incumbents chose to answer our questions. Others either didn’t respond or couldn’t meet the deadline.

During the next few weeks, we will print the responses from the non-incumbents to a different topic each time.

Today’s question is, “There is a movement afoot to move the Drop Inn Center homeless shelter out of Over-the- Rhine. Do you support or oppose this effort, and why?”

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by Kevin Osborne 12.21.2011
Posted In: City Council, Democrats, Internet, Humor at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 
p.g. sittenfeld

Whoops! Not Quite So Fast

Sharp-eyed readers who received an email update this week from Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld got a surprise: At the bottom, it stated the missive came from the “Office of Congressman P.G. Sittenfeld.”

That prompted some observers to wonder if the error was a Freudian slip and whether Sittenfeld, who was just sworn into his first council term three weeks ago, had already set his sights on higher office.

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by 09.23.2009
Posted In: 2009 Election, City Council, Neighborhoods at 02:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)
 
 

Melva's Manifesto?

Imagine my surprise when I looked out on my front porch this morning and discovered a pamphlet left by Westwood Concern that was chock full of political commentary — albeit a great deal of it written in incomplete sentences.

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by Danny Cross 10.20.2011
 
 
art17205widea

Ghiz Deletes Controversial Facebook Posts

Considering the councilwoman's not-so-lawyerly ways

We reported here yesterday that City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz posted personal information on Facebook about two citizens who had emailed criticism about her pressuring of City Manager Milton Dohoney to remove the Occupy Cincinnati protesters. The news quickly spread on Twitter (which you can follow in our live aggregator below), and Ghiz removed the posts shortly thereafter.

The incident might not seem like the hugest deal — largely a petty socio-political discussion on a conservative's personal Facebook page among a bunch of likeminded people. But the publication of the home and email address of a citizen who opposes an elected official crosses a major ethical line.

We purposely didn't publish screen shots of the posts due to the private information involved. It would have been relevant only in demonstrating the pettiness with which Ghiz offered the critics' opinions to her collection of angry friends. “These are some of the lovely emails my campaign has been getting because I believe the law should be applied evenly and equally to everyone,” the first introduction reads. How does she expect people to react to such sarcasm? “Oh dear, Leslie, I also care not for such a movement and its collection of anarchic rogues. Let me set down my tea cup and console you."

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