Hello, Hamilton County

News for Hamilton County Employees

December 28, 2000

Quote of the Week:  Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Reminder:  Please take a minute to post this publication in a common work area so that those who do not have

access to the Internet may see this newsletter.  Thanks.

Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus bids Hamilton County government a fond farewell

The Board of County Commissioners meeting on Wednesday, December 27, 2000, marked Bob Bedinghaus’ final meeting as a County Commissioner and President of the Board.  Fellow Commissioners and County Administrator Dave Krings made comments of appreciation for his leadership during the past five years. 

  Commissioner Bedinghaus commented about his tenure with the County.  “We should be very proud of what has been 

 accomplished over the past five years.  Not just in terms of riverfront development, but also welfare reform and the continued increase of professionalism within  County government,” stated Commissioner Bedinghaus.  Commissioner Tom Neyer stated, “Thank you, Bob, for your leadership.  You moved this community forward when it most needed it.” Commissioner Bedinghaus thanked his fellow elected leaders and County staff for their work and contribution to the community. 

Hamilton County’s new Commissioner ,Todd Portune,  will be sworn in on January 2. 

County Facility Director Jack Middendorf to retire

In January , Jack Middendorf will retire as Director of County Facilities, a position that he has held since 1995.  In those five years, he has engineered a departmental reorganization, which has had a tremendously positive impact on County facilities and the employees and citizens that work in these buildings every day.

 According to County Administrator Dave Krings, “Jack has made a great contribution to Hamilton County.  Through his leadership, our facilities are much better places for our citizens and employees to work and visit.  Jack is a great member of the team and has made a lasting impact.”  Reflecting on his time with Hamilton County, Jack Middendorf stated, “I have enjoyed my service a great deal.  I am proud of the team we have put together and of the level of service we have been able to provide to our customers.” 

In addition the department re-organization focusing on enhance customer service, Jack implemented an online work order system that allows customers to enter their own work requests reducing response time and increasing accuracy.  This system supports the generation of reports which track productivity of each work/trade group, as well as show trends in the type of work requested by trade or by building.

 Since Jack became Director, the Facilities Department has participated in the annual reports produced by nationally recognized organizations such as the Building Owners and Managers Association, the International City/County Managers Association and the International Facilities Managers Association.  The data generated by these reports provide a solid benchmarking tool to compare costs for services and labor with other comparably sized buildings in similar geographic regions.

As a member of Ohio Public Facilities Management Association, Jack created and implemented a similar benchmarking survey for this organization that enabled the counties in Ohio to compare their costs.  This had never been done before, and was received with open arms.  It gave all of the counties an opportunity to learn from each other and to work together and address common concerns and issues. 

During his tenure, his department has received prestigious awards.  The Building Owners and Managers Association awarded The Office Building of the Year to both the Courthouse and to the William Howard Taft Center.  The National Association of Counties recognized our Equipment Selection Procedure Based on Life Cycle Costing program as an innovative program, which contributes to and enhances county government. 

For all of this and much more, Hamilton County and the Department of Facilities are grateful for all of Jack’s innovative ideas and continuing efforts, and wish him well in his much deserved retirement.

Tuition Reimbursement Program initiated

Have you ever thought of going back to further your education, but just couldn't afford it?  Well, effective January 1, 2001, the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce our newest benefit:  a Tuition Reimbursement Program! 

 Hamilton County considers its employees the most important resource and values personal growth, creativity and leadership. 

The continuing education and training of our employees serves to provide incentive in employee recruitment and retention, enhance employee ability to perform current job responsibilities, qualify employees for critical positions, encourage/facilitate the meeting and attainment of state licensure requirements and ultimately improve delivery of services.  The policy will provide reimbursement for tuition costs to participants (full-time , non bargining unit employees who have completed their probationary periods) for an appropriate program of study.  Reimbursement is based on the employee's final grade (A = 100% reimbursement, B = 90% reimbursement, C = 75% reimbursement).  The cost per credit hour shall be calculated on the in-state cost per credit hour of the University of Cincinnati for the level of degree sought and shall not exceed seven hours per quarter / semester.  Courses must be sanctioned by Hamilton County and approved by the Department Head.  Applications and information flyers will be available to interested employees at the end of this month.  For further information, please contact Kim Pennekamp, County Personnel Department, at 946-4705.

County receives recycling and litter prevention grant

The Department of Environmental Services, Solid Waste Management District, received a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for $136,560.  The purpose of this grant is to implement a local recycling and/or litter prevention program.  The Solid Waste Management District will be able to preserve recycling drop-offs, encourage Hamilton County residents to buy recycled, clean up several illegal dumps and highway right-of-ways, and continue one of the most successful community education programs in Ohio. 

Ethics Corner:  Holiday party invitations and gifts

The departments under the Board of County Commissioners operate under a Code of Ethics adopted by the Board.  The purpose of the code is “to provide rules of ethical conduct for all employees so they may carry out their duties in a manner compatible with the best interests of the citizens and government of Hamilton County.”  The goals of the ethics policy is to guide employees in “protecting and preserving” the public trust, provide for “impartiality” in service provision, avoid “real or apparent conflicts between public duties and private concerns”, and to promote government integrity. 

 To assist employees and monitor the Code of Ethics, an Ethics Commission is appointed by the County Administrator.  As requested by employees, the Ethics Commission will provide interpretation and guidance regarding issues of concern.  We will attempt to provide you with these interpretations through a reoccurring column in Hello, Hamilton County called “Ethics Corner”.  The purpose of Ethics Corner is to help you understand the issues we face as public servants and how they fit with the standards established in our Code of Ethics.  The following is an interpretation a situation encountered by an employee of Hamilton County:

 Scenario:  You receive an invitation to a holiday party that includes cocktails, dinner and dancing.  A private company you work with directly in carrying out your duties as a County employee sponsors the party. 

 Response:  The employee should not attend such a function.  It was the consensus of the Hamilton County Ethics Commission that attendance at such an event constitutes a gratuity not permitted under the Code of Ethics. The following section of the Code applies:

“Employees shall not accept any gratuity (other than occasional plaques or other symbols of appreciation or honor), whether in the form of service, loan, gift, favor, honorarium, or item directly or indirectly, in business dealings with the County; nor shall they accept anything of value that is of such a character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence upon said employees in the discharge of their duties.” (Section 6.E.4 – Hamilton County Personnel Policies)

Have A Great Week