Hello, Hamilton County

  E-News for Hamilton County Citizens and Employees

February 8, 2002

  Quote of the Week:  Well done is better than well said.  - Benjamin Franklin


Hamilton County receives high marks in Government Performance Project

In a report issued last week, Hamilton County rated among the best run large county governments in the nation. Of the 40 large county governments examined, only four counties received higher grades than Hamilton County.

Hamilton County received a strong "B" grade from the Government Performance Project, an extensive review of the management capacity of the 40 largest counties in the United States conducted by Syracuse University and Governing magazine.

"Hamilton County is a well run government. We are proud of the services we provide and the professionalism of our employees," stated County Administrator David Krings. "We are pleased with the positive comments and ratings, but we will also look for ways in which we can continue to improve."

Counties were graded in five categories: Financial Management, Capital Management, Human Resources, Managing for Results, and Information Technology.  Below are some highlights of the Government Performance Project review:

Financial Management B   ". . . strong activity based costing. . . excellent communication of financial information."
Capital Management B+  ". . .good long range planning in place."
Human Resources B+   "Strong emphasis on training and development"
Managing for Results  B+  ". . . good family of measures, including focus on service demand."
Information Technology C+   "Strong network infrastructure;. . .strong web site with many transactions available."
Overall B   


In past years, the Government Performance Project has evaluated the 50 state governments and large cities. A full version of the report is available at the Governing magazine website: www.Governing.com.


Training explains housing options for JFS Customers
About 50 Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services (HCJFS) employees learned how to better serve our customers’ housing needs in a new training program Jan. 16 at 237 Taft.  The session included an overview of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Agency (CMHA), City Section 8, County Section 8 and HUD Section 8.

“It was wonderful,” said a Children’s Services family aide. She and others agreed that they gained a better understanding of how to help their customers access local housing programs.

Pamela Harrison of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority speaks with JFS staff

The training resulted from the Collaborative Action Plan (CAP) signed last year by Hamilton County Job and Family Services, Hamilton County Public Housing Agency, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A second session is tentatively scheduled for April. If you would like more information, contact Ray Douthit of HCJFS for details.


County Courthouse Named Regional “Building of the Year”
The Hamilton County Courthouse was named the top government facility by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) for the five-state north central region.  Based on building tours and an extensive review of operations, Hamilton County received the TOBY (The Office Building of the Year) award for the region.  The Courthouse was recognized as the top building in the government category.  The awards are based on standards such as community impact, energy management, safety, training provided to facility staff, and accessibility.  The Courthouse specifically recognized for the accessibility provided to people with disabilities.

According to County Facilities Director Ralph Linne, “This award is a real compliment to Hamilton County.  We take great pride in serving our customers and providing the public with clean, safe and attractive facilities.”

The Hamilton County Courthouse will now move on to the international competition.  Results from the international competition are expected in June. 


County MR/DD Vocational Opportunities Help Clients and Businesses

MR/DD General Assembly Workers hard at work.

The Hamilton County Board of Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities (HCBMR/DD) offers the opportunity for success to thousands of individuals with disabilities. 

One of the Board’s biggest boosters in offering employment opportunities has been Hamilton County government. The Hamilton County Personnel Office, working with the Board of MR/DD’s Adult Services Division, has opened countless doors in a variety of County offices. Several individuals are currently employed in the Hamilton County Juvenile Court, the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, and in other county locations. Examples of job duties include microfilming, filing; running files to courtrooms, and rewinding and erasing court tapes.


County workers hired through Board of MR/DD employment programs have impressed their co-workers with their work ethic. They have also been cited by their supervisors for their professionalism on the job.

The HCBMR/DD Supported Employment Unit and General Assembly, Inc., the Board non-profit, are proving to employers that hiring individuals with disabilities makes irrefutable business sense. It is simply good business to have General Assembly and the Supported Employment Unit address constantly fluctuating labor demands.

The Supported Employment Program, in operation since 1985, helps employers find dedicated, dependable employees. The program is based on the belief that everyone, regardless of their disability, can do meaningful work with the right training and support. Supported Employment staff members provide assistance and support in obtaining and maintaining employment. In addition to the County Offices mentioned above, individuals are working at such diverse locations as The Clarion Hotel, Kroger, Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cintas Center, and many fast food restaurants.

The General Assembly is a specialized employment and production service affiliated with the Hamilton County Board of Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities. General Assembly is able to provide local businesses full time employees, temporary employees, or fully staffed production facilities in which the business’ work can be completed. The supervisory staff is employed by the Hamilton County Board of Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities, and is trained in identifying the supports and adaptations needed for each General Assembly employee to become a productive worker. Jobs are carefully assigned, assuring both the worker and the company with a win-win situation. The workshops operated by General Assembly are strategically located throughout Hamilton County making, them convenient to businesses all over the tri-state area.

Not only can the General Assembly bring work to its workshops, it can also provide temporary workers to area businesses.  Since 1999, over 500 employees of the General Assembly have worked in the plants of local businesses and government agencies. General Assembly assures that the right number of workers arrives at the business, and since most work is performed on a subcontract basis, the business partner is relieved of the burden of hiring and related payroll issues.

By entering into a business relationship with General Assembly, Inc. or the HCBMR/DD Supported Employment Unit, area businesses and governmental entities can not only add to their bottom line: profit or cost containment, they can also actively support the mission of assuring that our society’s citizens with the most significant disabilities have the opportunity of reaching the same goal as the rest of us: a meaningful, productive life, engaged in a respected activities, making a just wage, and paying taxes.


Mt. Airy Shelter starts 2002 on a winning streak
In just three weeks, Mt. Airy, the shelter for homeless men operated by Hamilton County Job and Family Services, has won three financial grants:

 $122,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


 A $25,000 increase in the Hamilton County Community Development Block Grant, bringing the total to $72,000.


 $18,263 from the United Way & Community Emergency Food and Shelter Program--a marked increase from last year’s $8,184.

Kimberly Hauser oversees operations of the Mt. Airy shelter.

Kimberly Hauser, the shelter’s administrator, wants to keep the momentum going.

"We will seek renewal of existing grants and push aggressively for new ones," she says.

Mt. Airy has applied for an $80,000 capital improvements grant from Ohio Department of Development. Award announcements will be made March 18.

Mt. Airy also plans to pursue renewal of grants from Ohio Department of Development Emergency Shelter Grant and Department of Housing and Urban Development Supportive Housing Programs. The shelter will explore new opportunities from Ohio Department of Development Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aides and the Veterans Administration.

Each grant has a designated purpose. For example, the capital improvements grant would go toward an integrated fire alarm system, electrical repairs, and roof and gutter system repairs. Other grants may be used for operating costs, food, etc.

Since 1935, Mt. Airy Shelter has provided a transition from the streets to a new life for homeless men. Today, the typical resident is a 38-year-old man who remains at the shelter for 30 days. Most shelter residents are high school graduates. About 40 percent are military veterans. About 85 percent have an alcohol or drug problem. About half suffer from mental health problems.


Looking for Trees, Shrubs, etc...?  Check out this year's tree packet program
The Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District is at it again!  It is time for this year's tree packet program and this year the District is taking orders thru the Greenwood Nursery for trees, shrubs, groundcover and many other items from their web-site: www.hcswcd.org

You deal directly with the nursery and they deliver right to your door.  You can order up until May.   If you have any questions on this or need more information, call the District office at 513-772-7645. Happy Planting!!!



Edwards Named State’s Top Building Official

Tonia Edwards, Hamilton County’s Chief Building Inspector, has been named Ohio’s Building Official of the Year by the Ohio Building Officials Association (OBOA).  The County’s Building Commissioner since 1993, Ms. Edwards was recognized for her leadership, professionalism and dedication to public service.  Ms. Edwards recently served as president of the Southwest Ohio Building Officials Association, a chapter that encompasses five counties.  Ms. Edwards also played an important role in the hosting the international code hearings and conference of national code enforcement officials this past year in Cincinnati.  Ms. Edwards is a registered architect and Certified Building Official.

Tonia Edwards recently received the Harvey E. Wilbekin Ohio Building Official of the Year Award.

“It is nice to be recognized by your peers,” stated Ms. Edwards. “Although this is an individual award, much of the credit goes to our team in the local chapter and in the Department of Building Inspections, and to the support I have received from other public servants.”

County Administrator David Krings stated, “We are proud of Tonia’s efforts and of this award.  The Board of County Commissioners and I encourage employees to strive for excellence and a high degree of professionalism in all they do.”

Ms. Edwards was recognized at the Ohio Building Officials Association’s annual banquet in Cleveland.  The Ohio Building Official of the Year Award is named in honor of the late Harvey E. Wilbekin, former City of Cincinnati Director of Buildings and Inspections.



Second "Cleaner Air" Calendar Contest Announced

Each year since 1994, the Regional Ozone Coalition coordinates a Clean Air Kick-Off Event to recognize the beginning of "smog season" in the Greater Cincinnati area. Smog levels are monitored April 1st through October 31st each year. During these months, smog levels are at their highest due to weather conditions combined with area pollution. The majority of the pollution produced in our area comes from automobiles (about 45 percent). Smaller percentages of pollution comes from consumer sources (such as gasoline-powered lawn equipment) and industrial sources.

To increase the community’s awareness of smog in our area and to encourage residents to take actions to reduce the amount of pollution produced, the Regional Ozone Coalition is coordinating the 2nd Annual Do Your Share For Cleaner Air calendar contest. By involving your students and educating them on the importance of clean air, we will all begin to breathe easier by reducing air pollution in our area. Each person can make a difference and with your participation, you can help educate and involve the community on the importance of clean air! Please visit www.doyourshare.org or call 1-800-621-SMOG for more information.

The Do Your Share For Cleaner Air calendar contest is open to students in grades K-12 from the following Ohio and Kentucky counties:

Ohio: Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren

Kentucky: Boone, Campbell and Kenton

Calendar Contest Requirements:

Students must create a brightly colored entry illustrating one of the following air quality messages: 1) The "Do Your Share For Cleaner Air" slogan, 2) One of the many tips for smog reducing activities** or 3) Why clean air is important to our health.

(**Smog reducing tips listed on back.)

The entry must be flat (one dimensional), no pasted items.

The entry must be in color using crayons, markers or paints.

CANNOT use trademarks or computer-generated artwork.

Paper size should measure 8.5 x 11.

Calendar Contest Rules:

The Do Your Share For Cleaner Air calendar contest entries will only be judged against entries in the same grade level throughout the seven counties in Kentucky and Ohio. One winner will be selected from each grade level.

Entries must be submitted on or before May 31, 2002 to:

Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments

801-B West Eighth Street, Suite 400

Cincinnati, OH 45203-1607

ATTN: Summer Jones

Please contact Summer Jones at (513) 621-6300 ext. 104 with any questions.

Winners and Awards 
Thirteen calendar contest winners (one from each grade) will receive a $50 gift certificate. Additionally, teachers of the winners will receive a $25 gift certificate for classroom use. The 13 winning entries will be featured in a calendar to be distributed to schools and organizations throughout Kentucky and Ohio. 

May 31, 2002 ALL ENTRIES DUE on or before this date to OKI Regional Council of Governments.

Here are just a few ways you can help to reduce the amount of air pollutants

Ride the bus
Carpool, RideShare or Vanpool
Walk, ride a bike or rollerblade on short trips
Combine and limit unnecessary vehicle trips
Use gasoline-powered lawn equipment after 6:00 p.m.
Conserve electricity: This can be done by turning up your thermostat and turning off unused lights, computers, radios and televisions
Refuel vehicles after 6:00 p.m. and don’t top off
Keep your vehicle properly maintained: This can be done by changing the oil regularly, taking your vehicle in for scheduled tune-ups, and maintaining correct tire pressure
Spread the word!

To receive more information about smog, it’s effects and prevention,

please contact Summer Jones at (513) 621-6300 ext. 104.

sponsored by:  The Regional Ozone Coalition in cooperation with: Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments, Hamilton county Department of Environmental Services, Kentucky Division for Air Quality, City of Cincinnati-Office of Environmental Management


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Have a great day!



Hello, Hamilton County is published twice each month.  It is placed on both the County's internal and external Web pages.  It is design to enlighten and inform both citizens and employees of Hamilton County.  If you have questions or suggestions for future editions, contact Erica Binford (946-4324), Sharon Booker (946-4428) or Eric Stuckey (946-4432) in the County Administrator's Office or e-mail to eric.stuckey@hamilton-co.org.