The debate over who sets policy for the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) is headed to a federal judge.
"We're beyond the negotiation phase," says Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann.
Hamilton County Commissioners and the City of Cincinnati are at odds over several city-instituted hiring procedures. The county says the hiring rules are illegal under Ohio Revised Code but the city argues it has home rule which trumps the O.R.C.
Hamilton County Commissioners say they're willing to work with the city but when it comes to making Metropolitan Sewer District decisions, they're in charge.
In a resolution passed Wednesday the board agreed to set inclusion goals similar to the aim of the city's Responsible Bidder ordinance. The county says that ordinance is unfair. It also dislikes the city's Local Preference policy and says it's illegal.
Hamilton County Commissioners are growing increasingly frustrated with Cincinnati leaders over which entity gets to set hiring policies for the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).
Commissioner Greg Hartmann is proposing the two sides come up with inclusion goals, incentive programs, and a way to support apprenticeship programs.
"I'm prepared to go to court if that's what it takes," says Hartmann. The local hiring policy passed by City Council is illegal and the responsible bidder program is flat out discrimination against non-union shops."
Cincinnati and Hamilton County have been locked in a battle for more than six months about the bidding rules for Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) construction projects.
The county created and owns the sewer district, so it argues state and federal procurement guidelines must be used. But Cincinnati says since it operates MSD, and the city's bidding procedures must be followed.
Two Cincinnati Council Members are calling for the city's responsible bidder ordinance to be repealed because they say it is holding up needed Metropolitan Sewer District projects.
Council Members Charlie Winburn and Christopher Smitherman discussed the issue Monday during a Job Growth Committee meeting.
“The only solution this Council has is to repeal the responsible bidder ordinance,” Smitherman said. “Then try to normalize our relationships with our county partners by talking with them offline in a tone that is understandable”