Monday, September 28, 2015

Something smells in North College Hill

A major story is brewing in North College Hill, where reformist politicians, citizen activists and public interest attorneys have been trying valiantly to reform the corrupt City, and have encountered legal and political obstacles aplenty in response.  This is a City that will not reform easily.

Here are the bullet points:

1.    The City just last week experienced a second mayor resignation since the last election.  Read about that here.

2.    There is an election this fall for the Mayoral and all Council seats, determining the direction of the City for coming four years.  The City until now has been in the grips -- as you will see below -- of the bureaucrats and City Solicitor, who have something other than the best interest of the public in mind.  The reformers have a strong candidate for Mayor in place and may capture control of the municipality.

3.    The reformers already control City Council, but the administration and City Solicitor have been manipulating municipal governance to attempt to place any reforms behind the control of the Council. 

Now, what's going on?

·      In 2011, the City hired the City Manager's wife to be "Economic Developer" for the salary of $41,000.

·      But in order to boost the City Manager's OPERS retirement plan calculation, the Manager's salary was increased by that amount, and the wife was paid nothing.  Under Ohio PERS calculations, retirement payments are based upon the last three years of salary.

·      Five of seven NCH Council members voted in favor of the ruse to mislead OPERS.

·      When caught red-handed with the ruse, which was documented in writing, OPERS ruled that NCH was paying the Manager "$41,000 fora position that he does not hold and for work he does not perform."

·      Then, the City administration and Solicitor switched stories, and began to claim that the wife of the Manager was never serving as "Economic Developer" and the City Manager was at all times performing those duties.  

·      This was so even though the Council approved the pay increase based upon the City Manager's wife performing those duties (two for the price of one!) and the City Manager continued to tell Council for several years that his wife was performing those duties.  Indeed in 2012, the wife made a public appearance at the NCH Business Association as NCH Economic Developer.  She also appeared at Council as the “Economic Development Director” in 2012.  Council was never told that the wife was not performing those duties until the Spring of 2014.

·      There is a taxpayer lawsuit to fix all of this before Judge Robert Ruehlman that has reached the stage of cross-motions for summary judgment.  Pleadings in that case are linked here.

·      In addition, Council has now passed resolutions to return the City Manager’s salary to the amount that existed before the $41,000 “Economic Developer” ruse.  However, the City Administration continues to illegally pay him at the higher salary, and refuses to stop the illegal expenditures.­

So, through litigation or elections, the fleecing of the taxpayers of North College Hill could stop this fall.  It is up to the voters and Judge Ruehlman if these clearly illegal expenditures continue.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rapacious Xerox Corporation sues City of Cleveland over Red Light Cameras

Giving us one more reason the voters of Cleveland should string their elected officials up by their toes from the nearest streetlight pole, today the Xerox Corporation sued the City of Cleveland over the early termination of its red light camera program.

Let's recite the facts.  In August of last year, the citizens of Cleveland submitted signatures to the City to ban red light cameras in that fair City.  In June of that same year -- while City fathers knew the petitions calling for repeal were being circulated -- the City signed a new 3-year contract with Xerox for the operation of the cameras, with an early termination penalty built-in.

In November of last year, the voters of the City of Cleveland -- in a COAST-backed Charter amendment banning the cameras -- voted to ban the devices by a stunning 77% of the vote.

Now as a matter of law, the Courts will need to sort out the legal claims.  But how contemptuous of the citizenry is it for the Mayor, Council and administration to sign a contract binding the City to either allow the cameras or to pay a penalty to Xerox for their early termination?

Remember, earlier this year, Columbus and Cincinnati City officials were implicated in a bribery scheme over the pernicious devices perpetrated by officials of RedFlex, a prime competitor to Xerox for the confiscatory red light camera business.  That confession by a RedFlex official arose from the bribery charges in the procurement of the $1 billion Chicago red light camera contract.  These new developments are on top of those burgeoning bribery scandals enveloping the red light camera industry.

And remember that this greedy Xerox Corporation is the same filthy bastard that wanted to enslave Cincinnatians to a Parking Plot that sold our meters to the private profiteers.

Finally, remember that COAST was a leading organization, along with our WeDemandaVote.Com partner, the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP that stopped both of these programs dead in their tracks.  (Deep bow from COAST.)

The voters of Cleveland need to hold their elected and appointed officials accountable for signing a contract potentially exposing them to this liability.

Read about it here from FoxNews.Com.