Democratic candidate for governor Rich Cordray on Monday issued a statement about Hamilton’s possible nursing cuts, saying it’s time for Ohio officials to stop hoarding taxpayer dollars and starving local governments “of the resources they need to keep to maintain healthy communities — forcing them to choose between cutting vital services or increasing taxes.”
“Public health nurses in Hamilton, and elsewhere in Ohio, play a critical role combating the opioid crisis, battling diseases, and keeping their communities safe, and their positions should be maintained,” said Cordray, who promised to restore local-government funding that was cut by Gov. John Kasich. Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine face off Nov. 6.
Rebecca Frankenhoff, state representative for Ohio Council 8 of AFSCME Local 3169, was told the AFSCME employee, an administrative assistant, also was being let go because of the nursing division’s elimination.
Asked about the city’s plans for doing without the nursing division, Vanderhorst said via email said, “right now we are having meetings with some of our local healthcare providers including the federally qualified health clinics to determine the most cost-effective method to deliver the services required under the state minimum requirements.”
He added: “We have also spoken to Middletown who moved to a similar model in 2012 and have been positive about their results in an attempt to move to a similar model. More information will be known once the meetings are completed.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton at the end of the day Sept. 28 eliminated the position of its assistant law director, Kathy Dudley, who advised city boards and also was responsible for razing deteriorating houses under the local land bank programs. She was being paid $95,492.
“We did eliminate the assistant law director position,” Werdmann told this media outlet previously. “Part of that was we outsourced our law director function, when (Heather Lewis of) Millikin & Fitton took over as law director, and we kept an assistant law director position on staff.”
“It’s always been kind of an odd scenario” to have one person on staff who’s assistant law director when your law director is working for an outside firm, Werdmann said. “From a functional standpoint, that was not the most ideal situation. And that position was working largely on land bank things, and they were doing things that were not just for the city of Hamilton, but for the land bank as a whole.”
Dudley’s hiring last week by the county land bank will help the county, Middletown and Hamilton meet a mid-December deadline to tear down eyesores. If the money isn’t spent by then, nearly $1 million in federal funding will be lost.
Butler County Treasurer and land bank board President Nancy Nix said McNamara has done an excellent job steering the land bank administratively but it is smart to have Dudley take over the land bank, because of her legal expertise and experience dealing with the nuts and bolts of the federal funding program.
Werdmann said: “I have not been involved with the land bank,” he said, “but everything I’ve heard is, even though she was our employee, the county was relying on her for a lot of information about the land bank and that sort of thing.”
“He wears so many hats in the commissioners’ office and it just made sense to let him devote his time to all these other endeavors…,” Nix said. “ (Dudley) is basically the guru as far as the Hardest Hit program, where Mike has been administrative.”
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