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County Council OKs raises for Clerk of Courts staff

6/13/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Employees in the Clerk of Courts offices are the next Summit County workers to get pay raises after several years of going without.

County Council approved 2.5 percent raises for the office’s classified nonbargaining staff, about 80 employees, at its June 10 meeting after hearing from Clerk of Courts Daniel Horrigan about the issue during the Personnel Committee meeting.

Horrigan said the raises are the first since 2008 and the money, about $70,000 for this year, will come from Title funds and not the county’s General Fund.

He added that when he became clerk about seven years ago, county officials challenged him to find ways to increase revenue in the office, and he said he has done that by offering additional services.

“Our office is doing very well,” he said. “The No. 1 reason people leave is money. At some point, it’s up to me to look after these employees and make sure they are fairly compensated.”

Horrigan has talked to Council previously about his concerns that staff members leave for other county jobs that pay better, some of them between $5,000 and $7,000 more a year.

He added that the office is doing more due to state mandates but has 10 less employees than it had when he took the job as clerk.

Also Monday, Council adopted on first reading a resolution regarding a six-month policing contract with the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority and the Summit County’s Sheriff’s Office that will reflect a reduction in the number of deputies patrolling properties.

Detective Bill Holland of the Sheriff’s Office said the previous contract was for four deputies and three vehicles, but the new contract is for two deputies and two vehicles. Public Safety Committee Chairman John Schmidt (D-District 2) said the reduction is due to the federal sequester. The contract amount is $102,133.

Council also adopted a resolution regarding a contract with Winbourne Consulting to conduct a feasibility study at a cost of $49,732 on a combined Summit County and Akron dispatch center. The study will look at how a combined center could improve efficiencies, as well as what other local communities could join, according to Lori Pesci, of the Division of Public Safety. She added there are currently 14 primary and one secondary dispatch centers in the county.

Also adopted was a resolution allowing the county to submit an application to the Ohio Public Works Commission for a grant to be used to finance the costs of the Columbine Service Area Sanitary Sewer Improvements project in Springfield Township and Mogadore.

Mike Weant, of the Department of Environmental Services, said there are a high number of failing septic systems in that area. Springfield officials have verbally agreed to the project, he added, which will cost $2 million. Residents will be assessed over a period of 20 years for the project, but the grant, if won, would reduce their cost by 50 percent, Weant said.

Council also adopted two resolutions regarding road work on South Main Street. One awards a contract to Karvo Paving Co. for paving services from Lakota Avenue to 30 feet south of Elora Avenue at a cost of $550,123. The other authorized the county to enter into an agreement with the city of Akron to resurface part of South Main Street that is in Akron and Coventry Township.

The projects will take place later this summer, according to Heidi Swindell, of the Engineer’s Office.

During its meeting, which was the last for several weeks as Council takes its annual summer recess, Council heard from Robert Grow, a member of the Gun Violence Prevention Team of the Summit County Progressive Democrats, about the gun shows that take place at the Summit County Fairgrounds.

Grow said the group would like to see the shows eliminated from the fairgrounds in the next Summit County Agricultural Society contract, which is up for renewal in 2015. He added he attended a gun show there this year and found that semi-automatic rifles were available, as well as hollow tip and flat tip ammunition, “all available without a background check.” Grow also noted that Nazi paraphernalia was sold at the show he attended.

Councilman Frank Comunale (D-District 4) said the issue is one the county is aware of and has looked into.

Whether the county can prevent the shows is a legal matter, according to John Galonski, of the Prosecutor’s Office. He said section 9.68 of the Ohio Revised Code was passed in 2006, and it prevents local regulations on guns.

Council will next meet for a regular meeting July 15 at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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