Hello, Hamilton County

  E-News for Hamilton County Citizens and Employees

August 29, 2002  

  Quote of the Week:  "He who never made a mistake never made a discovery."  - Samuel Smiles

Hamilton County Building Inspections Top Rated in Ohio

Building Inspection Commissioner Tonia Edwards (middle) pictured above working with citizens impacted by last July's flooding.

The Hamilton County Department of Building Inspections has been rated the most effective agency in the state by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), a national organization dedicated to the analysis and evaluation of property and liability risk for the insurance industry.  ISO recently announced its Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS) rating of Hamilton County Building Inspections giving the department a grade of 2.  The grading scale is 1 to 10 with 1 being the top rating, displaying an “exemplary commitment to building code enforcement.”

Hamilton County’s grade of 2 is the top grade among the state’s over 600 building departments and is the only department to receive this high of a rating within Ohio.  Only about 80 building inspection departments in the country have received grades of 2 or better.

The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule assesses the building codes in effect in a particular community and how the community enforces its building codes, with special emphasis on mitigation of losses from natural hazards.  The concept behind the ratings is that local governments with well-enforced, up-to-date codes should demonstrate better loss experience and insurance rates could reflect that. The prospect of lessening catastrophe-related damage and ultimately lowering insurance costs provides an incentive for communities to enforce their building codes.

“The Building Inspection Department’s strong rating is a source of great pride,” stated County Administrator David Krings.  “The progress that has been made by the department over the past 10 year is tremendous to the point that it is now recognized as the best in the state by an independent national organization.”

“The ISO grade is good news for the community,” stated Building Inspection Commissioner Tonia Edwards.  “This top grade in the state is a tribute to the strong leadership from the Board of County Commissioners and the professionalism and dedication of Hamilton County’s Building Inspections team.”

Insurance Services Office, Inc., has served as a vital resource for the insurance industry and its regulators since 1971. Insurance companies and policyholders alike benefit from ISO activities that reduce costs, enhance competition, promote insurer solvency, and help consumers comparison-shop for price and coverage.


JFS groups receive high marks from customers
Thousands of people left the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services (HCJFS) busy waiting rooms pleased with the quality service they received from Reception and Direct Client Contact (DCCU) in the first half of 2002.
"Our staff works hard to ensure a customer-friendly atmosphere in both first floor lobbies, " intake team leader Ed Broyles says.  "We've successfully lowered the waiting times and our staff, along with their supervisors Beverly Schultz and Michaelene Crawford, are the diving force behind that success."
HCJFS Reception achieved excellent customer satisfaction ratings for the first half of 2002.

Reception, which handles all appointment logins and verification receipts, recorded more than 74,000 customer contacts during the first six months of the year.  Despite this large work load, the receptionists maintained a 98.35 percent satisfaction rating. Reception also logged more than 7,000 application/reapplication appointments with only 19 errors.

Meanwhile, DCCU served more than 3,000 customers per month.  Customers waited only 15 minutes on average to be seen.  DCCU also cleared and scheduled more than 15,000 mailed-in applications - in addition to the 3,000 direct customer contacts per month.  The unit maintained a 97.9  percent customer satisfaction rating.

DCCU does the inital step of the application process and schedules the client to see the worker.  DCCU works with Intake, Adult Medicaid and many of the outside agencies dealing with applications and appointment scheduling.


River City recognized for successful accreditation
At their August 28th meeting, the Board of County Commissioners recognized River City Correctional Center for earning accreditation through the American Correctional Association (ACA).  River city is the first adult facility in the County to have this accreditation receiving one of the highest first-audit scores in the State.  If you would like to learn more information regarding the ACA and it's roots to Cincinnati, please visit the American Correctional Association website www.aca.org/.

At their August 28th meeting, Commissioners recognized River City staff members for the facility's accreditation by the American Correctional Association (ACA).



Peter Hames to join County as new Senior Executive Assistant County Administrator

Hamilton County announced today the appointment of Peter Hames as the County’s Senior Executive Assistant County Administrator.  Mr. Hames, who has worked in public service at the local government level for nearly 30 years, currently serves the City of St. Paul, Minnesota in two capacities as the Director of Financial Services and Director of Technology and Management Services.    

According to County Administrator David Krings, “Peter Hames is an outstanding professional and an excellent public servant.  There is no doubt he will be a great addition to the County team.”

Peter Hames will bring his nearly 30 years of local government experience to Hamilton County on September 9th.

“I am excited about the opportunity and look forward to serving the citizens of Hamilton County,” stated Hames.  “I am impressed with the professionalism of the staff and the quality of the community. I look forward to being a part of the team.”

Mr. Hames, who will begin work with Hamilton County on September 9, is replacing Eric Stuckey, who was appointed as the County’s Assistant County Administrator for Administrative Services in April.  A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corp, Mr. Hames has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, where he has also studied in the Institute of Public Affairs Masters program.  Mr. Hames has also completed the Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government’s program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.  In addition to his current eight-year stint with the City of St. Paul, Mr. Hames’ career in local government career has included service in San Jose, California, Tracy, California, and Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.  

As Senior Executive Assistant County Administrator, Mr. Hames will assist the County Administrator with oversight of the departments under the Board of County Commissioners, provide support in the budget development process, work with the implementation of new technologies, and provide leadership in media relations and public information efforts. 


Take a Safe Step - Help Prevent Fall Injuries
The Striding for Fall Prevention walk takes aim at the most common cause of injury-related deaths and hospitalizations in Hamilton County, fall injuries.  Consider the following:

bulletThere were more than 25,000 fall injuries involving Hamilton County residents in 2000.
bulletNearly 2,400 of those falls resulted in hospitalizations and 111 people died, accounting for almost one-third of all deaths in the county.
bulletThe impact of fall injuries is even more dramatic among older adults, 80 percent of deaths and 85 percent of hospitalizations caused by falls occurred in adults age 65 and over.

It is important to remember that fall injuries can be prevented. The Striding for Fall Prevention walk will be held Saturday, September 28, 2002 at Frances Recre Acres in Sharonville from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Participants can choose to walk one mile or two. Everyone who pre-registers will receive a t-shirt as part of their registration fee ($15). There will also be refreshments, live entertainment, and raffle prizes.

Proceeds from the walk will fund the Hamilton County General Health District’s Falls Task Force, the first county-wide collaborative to address fall injuries in older adults. The Task Force, which is comprised of members from more than 25 area agencies, works to prevent fall injuries through the identification of effective programs, education, awareness, intervention, and evaluation. Programs include home safety equipment installation (grab bars, handrails, bath seats, etc.), community-based physical activity programs, individual risk reduction evaluation, and group presentations.

The Hamilton County Falls Task Force was recently recognized for its efforts to prevent fall injuries with an award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Aging, presented by the Association for Professionals in the field of aging. To register for the Striding for Fall Prevention Walk, or for more information, contact the Hamilton County General Health District at (513) 946-7802 or go online at www.hamilton-co.org/boh.


Employee of the Year Profile: Tom Rapp

Employee of the year Tom Rapp works as a communications supervisor for the Hamilton County Communications Center.  In addition to his normal duties supervising the County’s police and fire dispatch services, Tom Rapp on his own initiative has developed an interactive, animated 9-1-1 Educational Kids program.

Designed for children from kindergarten through fifth grade, the program teaches children about when to call 9-1-1 and what to expect when they call.  Fully implemented beginning in the 1999-2000 school year, the program has been well received by teachers, administrators, public safety professionals and children alike.

Employee of the Year Tom Rapp has gone above and beyond to teach children about 9-1-1 services.
Thanks to Tom Rapp’s leadership and dedication approximately 25,000 children have experienced the fun and value of this potentially life-saving training.  In addition to his work efforts, Mr. Rapp is an active volunteer working on the 9-1-1 Children’s Hero Awards and Triad program.


Shaping Safer Communities  Injury Prevention Symposium
Injuries are a part of everyday life in many communities. One day a person may fall while walking up the porch steps, the next day there could be a car crash at a busy intersection. 

But these type of incidents can be prevented. A symposium will be held next month that will address unintentional injuries and their impact on our society. The Shaping Safer Communities Injury Prevention Symposium takes place Friday, September 13, 2002 at Xavier University’s Schiff Family Conference Center at the Cintas Center.

The event will specifically focus on ways to reduce the risk of fall injuries and motor vehicle crashes by providing information regarding the data, model programs, and behavior change skills necessary to reduce these risks. In Hamilton County, falls and their related injuries are the number one cause of death, hospitalization, and emergency room visits (based on statistics from the Hamilton County Injury Surveillance System). Motor vehicle crashes are consistently among the leading unintentional injury causes, particularly among teens and older adults.

Who should attend? Senior Center, Activity, Nursing Home, and Home Health Professionals, Nurses, Case Mangers, Police, Fire, EMS, Safe Community Coordinators, Driving School Instructors, Transportation, Trauma, and Public Health Professionals, and Hospital Personnel. Continuing Education Units are available. Registration is $30 and there is a $15 CEU processing fee, if applicable.   

The symposium is being sponsored by a number of agencies. Partners include the Hamilton County General Health District, Hamilton County Falls Task Force, Hamilton County Safe Communities, College of Mt. St. Joseph, Ohio Department of Health - Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction, US Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Ohio Department of Public Safety, and Governor’s Highway Safety Office.

For more information, or to register, please contact the Hamilton County General Health District at (513) 946-7812 or go online at www.hamilton-co.org/boh

Continuing Education Units (CEU’s) are available for some professionals who attend. Certificates will be presented to all others in attendance. The registration fee is $30 and there is a $15 CEU processing fee. Registration is limited to the first 200 people who sign up.  The deadline is Friday, September 6th.


Great American Ball Park continues on track

Above:  The first of monthly tours by community groups was held on August 21st.

Below:  The GABP scoreboard and sign are in place. The Reds are beginning work to stall the field.

On August 28th, the Ball Park project team provided the Board of County Commissioners with the monthly report.  Highlights of the report were:
bulletThe Ball Park is 76% complete and remains on target for Opening Day 2003.
bulletBall Park Plaza and parking remains on target for April 2004 completion. The Reds Hall of Fame building is on track for completion in the summer of 2004.
bulletGroup tours for community groups started on August 21st.  Group tours will be held one afternoon per month. Due to limited space, groups are selected through a random drawing.
bulletSmall Business participation remains strong with a total of 26.7% of all contracted committed to small businesses.  A further breakdown shows that 11.8% of contracts are committed to minority-owned businesses and 4.2% to women-owned businesses.
bulletCommissioners were shown a recent clip from "This Week in Baseball" featuring the Ball Park.
bulletThe safety numbers are also impressive with only four lost work day incidents through June.  With in excess of 1 million hours worked on the project, this incident rate is far below the national average.
bulletCommissioners also received a report from the project auditors stating that the appropriate cost-control measures and procedures were being followed by the County and its contractors.

With Opening Day 2003 214 days away, citizens can check the progress of Great American Ball Park by clicking onto the County's Home Page (www.Hamilton-Co.org) or the Ball Park website (www.Hamilton-Co.org/GABP).  Digital photos of the Ball Park site are updated each hour, giving citizens a "real time" view of the construction project.  The Ball Park website also includes weekly "Play By Play" reports about the project, many photos, movies, artists renderings of the Ball Park at completion, and many other interesting and informative features.




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  Hello, Hamilton County is published twice each month.  It is placed on both the County's internal and external Web pages.  It is designed to enlighten and inform both citizens and employees of Hamilton County.  If you have questions or suggestions for future editions, contact Sharon Booker (946-4428) or Eric Stuckey (946-4303) in the County Administrator's Office or e-mail to eric.stuckey@hamilton-co.org.