Amendment back in bill

An amendment that would eliminate any oversight of spending by Ohio courts has reappeared in an Ohio House version of the state budget bill. It was initially removed by an Ohio Senate Finance Committee in June.

Proposed by William Seitz, R-Cincinnati, at the urging of Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Grendell, it seeks to end a dispute with the Geauga County Auditor Charles Walder, who has refused to process the court’s bills without sufficient documentation that shows a proper public purpose.

Karl Keith, the Montgomery County Auditor, posted his concerns on Facebook July 5.

“If enacted, it allows courts to order county auditors to issue payments without providing receipts or invoices to justify the expenditure,” Mr. Keith wrote. “This violates some of the basic principles of proper financial controls and is simply bad policy.”

Geauga road projects OK’d

The Geauga County Engineer’s Office has slated two more road projects for this year.

The Geauga County Commissioners approved two $250,000 grants through the Ohio Public Works Commission for resurfacing projects on Wilson Mills and Kile roads.

Geauga County Deputy Engineer Nick Gorris said the Wilson Mills project will extend from the Cuyahoga County line to Chillicothe Road (Route 306) in Chester Township. The Kile Road project extends from Chardon Windsor Road to GAR Highway (Route 6) in Claridon and Huntsburg townships.

Mr. Gorris said traffic will be maintained during the paving projects.

Lennon surprised at stipend

Geauga County Commissioner Timothy Lennon got a little sticker shock Tuesday as he was asked to approve credit lines for members of the Geauga County Veterans Service Office and Commission.

The proposed credit card limits were set at $3,000 a month for employees Michele Pemberton, John Brickman, Randy McVicker and Stacie Malone as well as $500 a month for board members Paul Newman, John Riha, Charles Boehnlein and Blake Rear.

“That’s a lot, $3,000 a month,” Mr. Lennon said.

Christine Blair, commissioners’ clerk, said all other boards are voluntary, while those serving on the veteran’s commission receive a stipend.

Gerald Morgan, county administrator, said the cards may only be used for travel to training or conferences as required by Ohio law.

Vote on Newbury schools July 23

Newbury Board of Education member Martin Sanders called on township residents last week to let their voices be known before the Geauga County Educational Service Center votes on the district’s territory transfer to the West Geauga Local School District.

Mr. Sanders said people on both sides of the issue should send emails or other correspondence to the ESC’s governing board before the board votes July 23 and Sept. 3 to decide the issue of the territory transfer. “Start doing what you have to do, respectfully,” Mr. Sanders said.

He said people need to have their voice heard so they “don’t five years later have regrets about it.”

Student fees approved

The Newbury Board of Education last week approved student fees for the coming year that are unchanged from last year.

Elementary and junior and senior high school fees and workbook fees will be waived. A technology fee of $25 is being charged.

A one-time $125 fee will be assessed for athletic participation and school band instrument rental was set at $20.

A parking pass will cost a student $15.

Progress on project approvals

A project to bring sewers to 114 families in Chardon Township continues to move forward.

Geauga County Commissioners last week took action on two separate matters that involve preparing to build the sewer system for the Berkshire Estates neighborhood.

Commissioners approved the establishment of a separate fund to track all income and expenses associated with the project.

They also approved the purchase of a 1.83-acre property at the northwest corner of Auburn and Thwing roads that will be the site of the new wastewater treatment plant.

Steve Oluic, director of the Geauga County Department of Water Resources, said the property was purchased for $71,000. That cost, he said, includes the demolition of a house on the property that was gutted by fire.

Noreika event emcee

Geauga Growth Partnership Inc. announced that Elizabeth Noreika, an award-winning journalist with Fox 8 television in Cleveland, will serve as presenter and emcee at this year’s HomeGrown Geauga.

Ms. Noreika is a home-grown Geauga County native. She is a 2002 graduate of Cardinal High School and Ohio University where she studied political science and telecommunications.

She has covered stories such as the Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia that killed 29 coal miners and the Boston Marathon Bombing trial, an event that took the life of four people.

She now works as a reporter and anchor with Fox 8 Cleveland.

HomeGrown Geauga, Under the Dome, is slated for 5:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at ASM International, 9639 Kinsman Road (Route 87) in Russell Township. Tickets are $125 per person and are available by visiting https://one.bidpal.net/ggp19 or info@geaugagrowth.com or by calling 440-564-1060.

Former officer sues Woodmere

On Tuesday, former Woodmere police officer Jacqueline Cruz filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio against Woodmere Village and Police Chief Sheila Mason for pregnancy discrimination.

Ms. Cruz became pregnant around October of 2017 and was hired part-time in Woodmere around Nov. 4, according to the lawsuit. Ms. Cruz did not disclose that she was pregnant until mid-December, the suit states. Following her pregnancy disclosure, the village updated their policy so all women must immediately disclose a pregnancy, according to the suit.

The suit states that in February of 2018, when Ms. Cruz was visibly pregnant, she was pulled from patrol. Chief Mason said that she would be reassigned to other duties but never was, according to the suit. Ms. Cruz was placed on unpaid leave on March 1, gave birth on June 30, and was terminated 10 days later, the suit states. According to the lawsuit, Chief Mason told Ms. Cruz that she was terminated because she did not disclose her pregnancy when she was hired, and if the police department knew that, they would not have hired her at that time. The lawsuit also says that Ms. Cruz had prior experience as a police officer and made $14 an hour and male officers with no experience made $15 to $16 an hour. Ms. Cruz is asking for $25,000 in damages for pregnancy discrimination and violation of the Equal Pay Act, the lawsuit states.

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