Hello, Hamilton County

  E-News for Hamilton County Citizens and Employees

January 9, 2001

  Quote of the Week: The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”                                                             - Nelson Henderson


New Terms begin for Two County Commissioners:

Commissioner Dowlin to serve as Board President; New Commissioner Todd Portune begins his term

The new year marks some changes in the composition of the Hamilton County Commission. On January 2nd, Todd Portune was sworn in as a County Commissioner at a ceremony at Memorial Hall.  In his speech, Commissioner Portune stated that he was honored and humbled by his election and looks forward to being a part of county government.  Commissioner Portune stated many of his goals in his speech including fiscal concerns and providing County government that “ . . . is open and accessible to the views of all people and all interests of this community.” 
The newly constituted Board of County Commissioners at their January 8th organizational meeting.
Commissioner John Dowlin was sworn in for his third full term as a County Commissioner at the January 3rd Board meeting and was elected as the Board President at the Board’s organizational meeting on January 8th.  Commissioner Dowlin was sworn in as Board President by State Senator Richard Finan, President of the Ohio State Senate and a long-time friend of Commissioner Dowlin's.  In his speech at the organizational meeting, Commissioner Dowlin highlighted many of the County’s achievements over the past ten years including successful welfare reform efforts, criminal justice improvements, and greater professionalism in County government.  Commissioner Dowlin also highlighted his goals for the new term including a focus on “transforming lives” through an emphasis on work force development that helps the working poor and “community justice”, continued improvement in the “business-like” operations of County government, and fiscal responsibility.


County Engineer Brayshaw begins his third term
On Friday, January 5, Bill Brayshaw was sworn in for his third term as the Hamilton County Engineer.  At the ceremony, Mr. Brayshaw praised his staff, highlighted the achievements of his office, and outlined specific goals to improve the transportation of system in Hamilton County.
County Engineering Bill Brayshaw with his wife, Joanne, being sworn in on January 5th.  


Planning Partnership Charts County’s Future

County jurisdictions join process to promote partnership

Representatives from Hamilton County jurisdictions including approximately 75% of the county's population have begun discussing ways in which they can use the unique strengths of their individual communities to work together to form a comprehensive plan for development in the County.

The Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission convened the first meeting of the Planning Partnership September 27th at a luncheon at the Drake Conference Center in Hartwell. The Hamilton County Commissioners have supported the idea of the Planning Partnership as a way to obtain greater local participation in countywide planning initiatives. 

“By working together on issues that cross community boundaries, the Planning Partners can use resources more efficiently, and increase the quality of life for their residents,” said Jay Buchert, chairman of the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.  “When communities come together to work on common issues, only good things can happen.  Sometimes it just takes talking face to face to see how certain problems can only be solved by the whole rather than the parts.  The Partnership is a forum for this kind of interaction.”

At its first meeting, the Planning Partnership unanimously agreed to launch two strategic initiatives.  The first is called Community COMPASS - Comprehensive Master Plan and Strategies for Hamilton County.  Community COMPASS will use citizen participation to identify ways Hamilton County and its jurisdictions can leverage their diversity, promote effective and efficient planning, and achieve more by working together. 

The second major initiative is a citizen survey.  This survey, which was mailed to 4,500 Hamilton County households, will help identify public perception, thoughts and feelings about community planning issues.  The survey will provide a foundation of information for dialogue and research within the Community COMPASS process.  Look for survey results in the next issue of Hello, Hamilton County. 


ExTRA, ExTRA, Read All About It!! 
Hamilton County has added a new benefit for all employees effective January 1, 2001.  The new program is called ExTRA (Employee x(tra $$) Transportation Reimbursement Account) and permits employees to pay for certain eligible parking, mass transit, and van pooling expenses through a pre-tax payroll deduction.  So how does ExTRA work?  An employee can open an ExTRA account with a pre-tax payroll deduction, and then reimburse themselves from their account with pre-tax dollars 
(monthly maximums are $175/month for parking and $65/month for mass transit). Since the County has limited parking spaces available and many employees must pay to park their cars (some pay in excess of $1000 per year), this new program will ease the financial burden for employees by decreasing the net cost of parking.  Also, the benefit applies to Metro or RideShare van pooling costs to employees.  The ExTRA Program is expected to be very popular with County employees.  For more information contact your personnel/payroll officer or Kim Pennekamp at 946-4705 in the County Personnel Department.


County Appoints New Facilities Director

Hamilton County announced this week the appointment of Ralph Linne as the County’s new Facilities Director.  A native of greater Cincinnati and a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Mr. Linne has extensive private sector experience and currently serves as the Manager of Facilities for Cuyahoga County. 

According to County Administrator David Krings, “Ralph Linne is an outstanding professional and will be a good addition to the County team. We expect that he will be able to step in and continue the improvements that have taken place in County Facilities over the past several years. ”

“I am excited about the opportunity and look forward to serving the citizens of Hamilton County,” stated Linne.  “I am impressed with the professionalism of the staff and the quality of work that is being done. I look forward to being a part of the team and providing the citizens and employees of Hamilton County with facilities that are clean, safe and pleasant places to visit and conduct business.”  

The Hamilton County Facilities Department is responsible for the planning, maintenance, preservation, and expense control for approximately 3,000,000 square feet of office space.  The department manages seven large multi-story urban buildings and 12 other suburban buildings.  County facilities have received significant local and regional recognition in recent years.  Two County facilities, the William Howard Taft Center and the Hamilton County Courthouse, have been recognized as top local facilities by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA).  Based on building tours and an extensive review of operations, Hamilton County received TOBY (The Office Building of the Year) awards the past two years.

Mr. Linne, who will begin work with Hamilton County on January 29, is replacing Jack Middendorf, who is retiring from full-time employment with Hamilton County after 5 years of service.  Mr. Linne was selected after a national search that generated nearly 90 applicants.  Mr. Linne has undergraduate degrees from the University of Cincinnati in Architecture and Construction Management as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Lake Erie College.  Mr. Linne’s current position with Cuyahoga County includes the management of 55 County-owned facilities as well as oversight of the County’s building program.  Prior to his work with Cuyahoga County, Mr. Linne worked for 12 years with Centerior Energy where we served as a facility manager and cost engineer and 12 years with Kaiser Engineers in various construction management capacities. 

Ralph Linne will be relocating to Hamilton County.  He is married and has two grown children.  


First Clerical Support Staff Retreat to be held
The first annual Clerical Support Staff Retreat is scheduled for Friday, January 12, 2001, 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., at the Winton Woods Centre Auditorium.  With an agenda very similar to that of the Commissioners’ Planning Session for Hamilton County’s top managers, clerical staff will discuss the County’s budget and strategic goals as well as ways to enhance communication throughout the organization.  An afternoon session will be facilitated by Dr. George Manning entitled “Stress, Change, & The Pursuit of Balance.”  Forty-five participants are registered, representing 30 County departments.  For more information contact Sharon Booker at 946-4428.  The next edition of Hello, Hamilton County will feature a write-up about the retreat. 


Pretrial Services receives Department of Justice Grant

The Department of Pretrial Services has received a continuation grant in the amount of $452,383 from the U.S. Department of Justice for the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant program.

This grant will provide funding for the Criminal Justices Assessment Services.  This includes final implementation of the automated Defendant/Offender Profiling System.  Also funds will be dedicated to two projects relating to Drug Courts.  The first project will continue to provide outpatient treatment services as directed through the Hamilton County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board.  The second project will provide outpatient treatment and assessment services to dually diagnosed women defendants and offenders (felony & misdemeanor) as directed through the Central Clinic’s Community Treatment and Diagnostic Center. 


Happy New Year!  Have a Great Week!


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 Sharon Booker (946-4428) or Eric Stuckey (946-4432) in the County Administrator's Office or e-mail to eric.stuckey@hamilton-co.org.