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West Side News & Notes

3/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Briggs named deputy mayor for labor relations

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Mayor Don Plusquellic has announced the appointment of attorney Randy Briggs as deputy mayor for labor relations. That position has been filled on an interim basis by Patricia Ambrose Rubright, an Akron assistant director of law and interim personnel director.

Briggs’ salary will be $104,353.60.

Briggs is coming to the city with several years of experience as general counsel for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, where he provided counsel to the sheriff on all legal issues, oversaw personnel matters, negotiated union contracts, addressed grievances, handled arbitrations, resolved employee discipline issues and developed departmental practices and procedures, according to city officials.

Prior to working for the sheriff, Briggs was in private practice.

“Briggs has the experience, temperament and ability to do this job well,” Plusquellic said. “The nature of his employment with the sheriff’s department gives him the perfect background to hit the ground running, and I know he will competently serve the citizens of Akron.”

According to city officials, at a recent face-to-face meeting with Plusquellic and the presidents of the four unions representing city employees, the presidents urged the mayor to hire a full-time permanent labor relations director to deal with the daily employee issues that arise in their departments.

“Due to the city’s budget constraints, everyone has been taking on additional roles and responsibilities,” Plusquellic said. “Patti Rubright has been juggling three different roles for much longer than I intended. Patti really has done an incredible job, considering she has had to manage the duties of labor relations director, personnel director and assistant director of law. I appreciate her work ethic and dedication, and I’m confident that Randy will bring the same commitment to the position of labor relations director.”

Briggs graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York in 1980 and obtained his juris doctorate from The University of Akron School of Law in 1983.

Briggs also is currently serving his second year as board president for the Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

“I am very happy to be joining the city in this capacity and welcome the opportunity to serve the citizens of Akron,” said Briggs.


City, SASWMA seek to educate about recycling

AKRON — The city of Akron’s Sanitation Division and the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority (SASWMA) are teaming up to provide a recycling education “spree” throughout the community.

The goal is to educate Akron’s curb-service customers, citizens who recycle at the city’s special events at Lock 3 and other city parks, and new Akron residents on the proper items to recycle.

This week in Highland Square, SASWMA staff members are canvassing Akron neighborhoods and inspecting customers’ recyclable bins.

With the assistance from the city’s Sanitation Division, SASWMA employees will go house to house, locate the city’s blue recycle containers on the curbstrip, identify all nonrecyclable materials in the bins and leave a recycle tag on that container’s handle indicating why their recycle container was not collected. They also will tape to the same recycle handle the city’s latest recycle educational flier.

Items that are not recyclable include electronic and hazardous waste, auto parts, clothing, shoes, medical waste, hangers, light bulbs, yard waste and food waste, among other items. For more information, visit www.akronohio.gov and click on “City and SASWMA Seek to Educate About Recycling” under “Top Stories.”

The city’s “Let’s Recycle Akron!” fliers will be distributed to Akron Public School sixth-graders, at ward meetings and in water billings.


Red Cross encourages giving blood this month

NORTHERN OHIO — March is Red Cross Month, when the American Red Cross takes time to recognize blood donors, thanks them for their generosity and encourages others to join their ranks.

“Red Cross Month is an ideal time for people to show support for our mission,” said Christy Sabaka, communications program manager of the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region. “Anyone can become an ‘Everyday Hero’ by giving blood or platelets, becoming a volunteer, making a financial donation or taking a class.”

In addition to collecting and distributing about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in the U.S., providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected, according to Red Cross officials. The organization also offers 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families in war zones, military hospitals and on military installations around the world and trains more than 7 million people in first aid, water safety and other lifesaving skills every year.

Last year in Northern Ohio, 160,900 units of blood and platelets were donated through the Northern Ohio Blood Services Region, and the Greater Cleveland Chapter responded to 377 local emergencies, assisted 775 military families and trained more than 16,000 people in lifesaving skills.

For local blood donation opportunities, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 800-733-2767.


Women’s Leadership Council seeking woman philanthropist nominees

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of Summit County is seeking nominees for the 2013 Barbara Mathews Woman Philanthropist of the Year award, which will be presented at the organization’s “Power of the Purse” luncheon June 27.

The Woman Philanthropist of the Year award was created to recognize a woman who has demonstrated a passionate desire to help others through her financial support and service to nonprofit organizations and institutions, including United Way, within Summit County.

Past winners of this award have been Carol Yassine, Laura Culp, Susan Summerville, Elizabeth Bartz, Judith Read, Vanita Oelschlager, Katherine Hunter, Linda Tucci Teodosio and Dianne Newman. The award was named for the late Barbara Mathews, an Akron educator, business leader and philanthropist.

Nominations are open online at www.uwsummit.org or can be sent to 90 N. Prospect Street, Akron, OH 44304. Eligibility is open to any woman who displays the characteristics consistent with the intent of the award and is a resident of or is employed within Summit County and demonstrates philanthropic support in a variety of areas of the community, including an annual gift to the United Way of Summit County Campaign. Candidates nominated posthumously will not be considered.

The deadline for nominations is April 26. For questions about the Women’s Leadership Council or the Power of the Purse, contact Beth Boggins at 330-643-5519 or email bboggins@uwsummit.org.


IRS seeks Ohio volunteers for Taxpayer Advocacy Panel

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is seeking Ohioans to volunteer to serve on the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel (TAP), which is a federal advisory committee that listens to taxpayers, identifies key issues and makes recommendations for improving IRS services.

The TAP provides a forum for taxpayers to raise concerns about IRS service and offer suggestions for improvement. The TAP reports annually to the secretary of the treasury, the IRS commissioner and the national taxpayer advocate.

The Office of the Taxpayer Advocate is an independent organization within the IRS and provides oversight of the TAP.

“In trying to comply with an increasingly complex tax system, taxpayers may find they need different services than the IRS is currently providing,” said National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson. “The TAP is vital because it provides the IRS with the taxpayers’ perspective, as well as recommendations for improvement. This helps the IRS deliver the best possible service to assist taxpayers in meeting their tax obligations.”

The TAP includes members from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each member is appointed to represent the interests of taxpayers in his or her geographic location, as well as taxpayers as a whole.

For the first time, the TAP this year is seeking to include at least one additional member to represent international taxpayers, broadly defined to include U.S. citizens working, living or doing business abroad or in a U.S. territory. The new international member will not be required to attend any face-to-face meetings and cannot be reimbursed for such expenditures if he or she chooses to attend.

To be a member of the TAP, you must be a U.S. citizen, be current with your federal tax obligations, be able to commit 200 to 300 hours during the year and pass an FBI criminal background check. New TAP members will serve a three-year term starting in December. Applicants chosen as alternate members will be considered to fill any vacancies that open in their areas during the next three years.

Applications for the TAP will be accepted through April 1. Applications are available online at www.improveirs.org. For additional information, call 888-912-1227 and select prompt No. 5 or contact thetaxpayeradvocacypanel@irs.gov.


Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.

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