Bill would allow pension funds to borrow money to cover losses

Published: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 2:19 PM
Updated: Monday, November 06, 2017 @ 2:19 PM


            U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Sen. Sherrod Brown plans to introduce a bill as early as this week that he says will guarantee that thousands of retirees in the state receive the pensions they were originally promised.

At a news conference Monday in Youngstown, Brown, D-Ohio, and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, said they want Congress to create a new federal office that would allow no fewer than seven pension funds in the state to borrow enough money to remain solvent and continue providing pensions for their retirees.

The office, which would be called the Pension Rehabilitation Fund and be placed inside the U.S. Department of Treasury, would supervise the loans that would come from the sale of U.S. Treasury bonds from private investors. Brown hopes to attach the bill to a larger spending bill expected to be passed at the end of the year by Congress.

“All of you here today and the thousands of retired Teamsters, miners, builders, and others across Ohio earned your pensions over a lifetime of hard work,” said to those in attendance. “Now those pension plans are underwater. It’s bad enough that Wall Street squandered workers’ money – and it’s worse that the government that’s supposed to look out for these folks is trying to break the promise made to these workers.”

“Not on our watch,” Brown said. “We won’t allow that to happen.”

Most of those impacted are Teamsters covered by the Central States Fund, a multi-employer fund that serves trucking companies and covers 400,000 retirees across the country. Central States has warned it might have to cut pensions by an average of 22 percent for retirees because it has $35 billion in liabilities and just $17.8 billion in assets.

But the bill also is aimed at propping up a number of other pension funds, including the United Mine Workers Pension Plan, the Ironworkers Local 17 Pension Plan, the Ohio Southwest Carpenters Pension Plan and the Bakers and Confectioners Pension Plan.

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5 things to know about Dayton Commissioner Joey Williams’ resignation

Published: Thursday, February 22, 2018 @ 1:11 PM


            Dayton City Commisson member Joey Williams is resigning from his elected position because of demands from his work as Dayton market president for KeyBank.
Dayton City Commisson member Joey Williams is resigning from his elected position because of demands from his work as Dayton market president for KeyBank.

Joey Williams announced Wednesday evening that he will resign Friday as a Dayton city commissioner two months into a new four-year term.

Here are five things to know about the resignation:

1. Longest tenure. Williams is Dayton’s current longest-serving city commissioner, with 16 years in office. He won re-election in November and just began his fifth term on commission in January.

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2. Quick primary. His resignation so soon into a new term now will trigger a short turnaround on an election to replace him.

The city commission will meet in special session Friday and likely will approve a May 8 election. City charter dictates that vacancies be filled by special election 60 to 90 days after the vacancy occurs. The May date falls within that, but candidates will have to collect 500 signatures on petitions by March 9.

3. Other job. The work of city commisioner often is a part-time job, and Williams said his new full-time work — Dayton market president for KeyBank, announced just days after November’s election — requires more travel than expected, which means he misses more commission meetings.

4. Honor of a lifetime. Williams, fighting back tears as he announced his resignation, said, “To serve my community has been a thrill and honor of a lifetime.”

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5. Money matters. Fellow commissioners praised Williams for his leadership and financial advice.

“When (people) go back and look at the history of the city the last decade and more, they are going to point to you as maybe the main reason we as a commission was able to lead and bring the city out of one of the worst crises we’ve ever seen,” said Commissioner Matt Joseph.

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Suit wants Ohio marijuana grower licenses revoked

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 10:31 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 10:31 AM


            marijuana
marijuana

A lawsuit filed by some unsuccessful applicants to grow medical marijuana in Ohio claims state regulators failed to follow their own rules last year when they awarded provisional licenses for growing facilities.

Several groups including CannAscend Ohio LLC filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in Columbus.

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The lawsuit challenges the Ohio Department of Commerce’s process for awarding the provisional licenses to 12 companies for large-scale growing facilities.

The lawsuit alleges various failures in the licensing process, including “scoring errors, undisclosed conflicts of interest, and undisclosed loopholes in the security of information.”

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It asks a judge to revoke the licenses and prevent the department from issuing operators’ permits to the companies.Department spokeswoman Stephanie Gostomski said Tuesday that the department can’t comment on pending litigation.

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Montgomery County Recorder Willis Blackshear dies

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 10:43 AM
Updated: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 10:43 AM

Willis Blackshear, Montgomery County recorder since 2006, has died. SUBMITTED
Willis Blackshear, Montgomery County recorder since 2006, has died. SUBMITTED

Willis E. Blackshear, longtime Montgomery County recorder and Montgomery County Democratic Party stalwart, has died, Dayton and county officials confirmed today. He was 57.

FULL REPORT: Willis Blackshear dies: Longtime county official worked to save people’s homes, ‘not afraid to speak up’

“He was always passionate about public service and really passionate about how people can make a difference in their communities if they got involved in politics,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, who said Blackshear died overnight in hospice care after a long illness.

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Blackshear worked his way up the ranks during 22 years in the county’s treasurer’s office. In 2006 he was appointed county recorder. In 2008, he was elected to his first full term and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016.

Born and raised in Dayton, Blackshear continued to reside in the city with his wife, Regina. He also leaves behind an adult son, Willis Jr.

Blackshear graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and received his BA in political Science from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., according to his county biography.

We will continue to update this story as it develops.

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Miami County could house federal prisoners for first time in years

Published: Monday, February 19, 2018 @ 2:32 PM


            Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak. CONTRIBUTED.
Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak. CONTRIBUTED.

TROY – Details are being finalized for the housing of federal prisoners in Miami County for the first time in nearly a decade.

Sheriff Dave Duchak said his staff is working with the federal marshal’s service on a contract under which up to 20 prisoners would be housed in pods at the county Incarceration Facility located between Troy and Piqua.

The proposed agreement would allow for up to 15 males and five females. The county would be paid $59 per day, per prisoner and would be paid to transport the prisoners to and from the facility to federal court in Dayton.

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The Incarceration Facility was built in 1999 with the goal at the time of using one half of its four, 60-person pods to house local prisoners and to rent the other half to help offset facility operating costs.

The county housed prisoners for other counties and the federal marshal’s service before the facility was closed at the end of 2009 because of budget cuts blamed on the recession. The sheriff’s office reopened one of the facility’s pods in 2013, the second in 2014 and a third last year.

Last year, the sheriff’s office again started renting a few beds to the Darke County Sheriff’s Office and Greenville police. More recently, the Pike County Sheriff’s Office has been renting beds. Those agencies are using about 10 beds a day. Last year, the sheriff’s office brought in around $100,000 from bed rentals.

“I don’t have a problem renting out beds as long as it doesn’t hurt our judges’ ability to incarcerate,” Duchak said.

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County Commission President John “Bud” O’Brien said he and fellow commissioners are “certainly in favor of the sheriff renting beds to whoever he can.” The rentals help supplement the cost of operating the facility, he said.

“We haven’t seen the contract yet, but are looking forward to seeing it,” O’Brien said.

Duchak said the arrangement for housing federal prisoners would be like the previous agreement.

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Miami County also has a jail at the county Safety Building in Troy, where up to 48 prisoners can be held. That space is used for primarily for violent offenders, while nonviolent offenders are housed at the Incarceration Facility. The federal prisoners would be nonviolent people facing charges for financial and other crimes, Duchak said.

Before the sheriff’s office could open the fourth, 60-person pod, it would need to hire six additional correction officers. That process would take at least nine months, Duchak said.

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