Chris Monzel

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

When you call 911 from a mobile phone, the operator knows your phone number and a rough idea of your location. If you sign up with Smart911, as Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials are encouraging you do, the dispatcher will have access to all kinds of personal and medical information that first responders might need to know in an emergency.

Courtesy of Stephanie Dumas

Before the May 8 primary, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone who believed that former Forest Park Mayor Stephanie Summerow Dumas would win the Democratic primary for Hamilton County Commissioner.

It's not quite time to break out the noisemakers and drop the balloons in celebration, but Hamilton County Democrats could do something in 2018 that hasn't been done in the lifetime of anyone reading this column.

They could end up holding all three seats on the Hamilton County Board of County commissioners.

Todd Portune's not going away anytime soon; Denise Driehaus just arrived earlier this year; and neither of them are up for re-election until 2020.

Provided / Gena Bell

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel joined local Republicans Tuesday in opposing Mayor John Cranley's announcement that Cincinnati would be a sanctuary city.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Update 2:40 p.m.

Hamilton County Commission President Chris Monzel says “The city’s repeated and flagrant disregard of its obligations stated very clearly under the 2014 Federal Court Order made today’s court action necessary. “We respectfully ask the court to enforce its previous order and allow Hamilton County to bring accountability and transparency which are so badly needed in MSD operations.”

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Chris Monzel says the state of the county is strong.  The Hamilton County commission president delivered the annual State of the County address Thursday. 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman turned in his resignation last week. Now county leaders are talking about how to find his replacement. 

Hamilton County Commissioners expected to wrap up the annual performance review for administrator Christian Sigman on Monday, Feb. 1, but it may be a moot point.  Sigman has submitted his resignation, effective in September. 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners appear likely to approve a utility service fee to help pay for the 911 emergency dispatch center. 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Chris Monzel has taken the oath of office for his second term as a Hamilton County Commissioner.  With his wife and three children beside him, Monzel repeated the oath, as read by his mother.

And his fellow Republican, Greg Hartmann was elected to be the new president of the three-member commission for the next two years. 

Monzel said when he was first elected to the board in 2010, he said county government could not be operated “business as usual”.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

A multi-million dollar sewer project is unexpectedly on hold and that has a lot of Hamilton County and Metropolitan Sewer District officials scratching their heads.

Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black did something no one was expecting on Dec. 5. He sent a letter to companies who'd bid to do work on the Lick Run Valley Conveyance System project, terminating negotiations. That came as a major surprise to Ulliman Schutte Construction, which had already been awarded the job and signed contracts with the Metropolitan Sewer District. 

Four years ago, Jim Tarbell, the former Cincinnati city council member and vice mayor, took on Republican Chris Monzel for a seat on the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.

His name was on the ballot as the endorsed Democratic Party candidate.

And he lost, taking 44 percent of the vote to Monzel’s 56 percent.

Well, Tarbell’s back.

And, this time, his name won’t be on the ballot.

Tarbell filed paperwork with the Hamilton County Board of Elections last Monday to run as a write-in candidate.

Former Cincinnati city council member and vice mayor Jim Tarbell is running as a write-in candidate for county commissioner against Republican incumbent Chris Monzel.

Tarbell filed the required form and paid an $80 fee today to become a write-in candidate, according to Sally Krisel, deputy director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Sean Patrick Feeney said this afternoon he has rejected attempts by Democratic Party leaders to get him to step aside in the Hamilton County commission race for former mayor Charlie Luken.

"I'm committed to this; and I am going to continue on,'' said Feeney, a technology consultant who lives in North College Hill.

Earlier in the day, Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman Tim Burke said he wanted Feeney, a first-time candidate, to step aside so the Democrats could run former Cincinnati mayor Charlie Luken against Republican incumbent Chris Monzel.

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

Hamilton County is moving in the right direction and continuing to be strong despite facing challenging times. That's how Commission President Chris Monzel led off his 2014 State of the County address Thursday.

The speech focused on the three main priorities from last year's address: county infrastructure, finances and economic development.

Monzel pointed out the county is looking at how to best utilize its building stock and also take advantage of its newest acquisition - the former Mercy Mount Airy hospital site.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel is clarifying what he says are some misconceptions about the current Metropolitan Sewer District standoff with the City of Cincinnati. Specifically, procurement policies set forth by the city which the county says are unfair and in some cases illegal.

"First, at this point, only three projects are potentially being impacted due to this issue," he says. "Several others are awaiting technical evaluation and others are scheduled to be brought forward over the next several months. Many of the projects do not have time sensitive schedules."

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati and Hamilton County officials continue to hash out a compromise on several hiring and bidding policies related to the Metropolitan Sewer District.

An August 1 deadline has come and gone, meaning a city moratorium on the policies has expired. That led County Commissioners Wednesday to halt the bidding process for an upcoming project.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are expected to vote Wednesday morning on re-opening the bidding process on some Metropolitan Sewer District projects.

The board initiated the moratorium to force renewed talks between the county and the city, which runs the sewer district. At issue are several city initiated hiring policies and practices the county dislikes, and in some cases says are illegal.

The county is re-opening the bid process following a city council vote two weeks ago to suspend the hiring policies until August.

Sarah Ramsey

City and county officials now have about five weeks to try to work out a compromise on several Metropolitan Sewer District policies (MSD).

Council voted unanimously Wednesday to suspend its local hiring policy until August 1. Until then the sides will try to reach an agreement on it and a portion of a responsible bidder policy that requires apprenticeships.

Sarah Ramsey

Just days after announcing a compromise, county and city leaders could be heading back to square one.

Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel had planned to lead a vote Wednesday to reopen the bidding process for Metropolitan Sewer District projects. The board instituted a moratorium several weeks ago when Cincinnati City Council refused to scrap its local hiring and responsible bidder requirements.

Hamilton County Commissioners Wednesday approved a two-year policy document.

The resolution outlines the board's guiding agenda for 2013 and 2014.

Board President Chris Monzel drafted the policy and says it continues the agenda set out by his predecessor and fellow commissioner Greg Hartmann.

The document focuses on three key areas: county finances and taxes, infrastructure, and economic development.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County is "on the move and getting stronger." That was the theme of Commission President Chris Monzel's State of the County address Thursday.

Monzel talked about the importance of keeping taxes low and how the Governor's proposed budget could benefit the ailing county stadium fund.

He says the county is also focused on infrastructure projects, especially the multi-billion dollar federally mandated sewer system upgrade. One money-saving plan involves ‘daylighting’ a stream to capture storm water rather than building a costly tunnel.

Sarah Ramsey

Greg Hartmann and Todd Portune were officially sworn in Wednesday to serve their new terms on Hamilton County Commission.

Hartmann repeated his mantra that these are challenging times for county government but says there are bright spots as well, like the county Land Bank.

Hamilton County Commissioners are throwing out hiring and procurement policies related to the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD).

The city, which operates MSD had instituted new bidding requirements the county, which owns MSD, says were unfair- and in some cases illegal. Chief among them were apprenticeship requirements and a policy giving preference to contractors within city limits.

Commission President Chris Monzel says a working group will be formed to draft a new procurement policy.

WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners reorganized Monday with Chris Monzel assuming the presidency.

Monzel says he plans to stay the course laid out by fellow commissioner Greg Hartmann.

"Definitely public safety is the number one priority for Hamilton County. And it's something that's important and especially with the new Sheriff coming on board of what the public safety needs are. So that's number one, that's always been the number one priority to me in government," he says.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are ordering a performance and efficiency review of the Metropolitan Sewer District.

The utility is undertaking a multi-billion dollar, federally mandated system upgrade.

Commissioner Chris Monzel proposed the review.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

After rejecting three proposed budget options put forward by the county administrator, Hamilton County Commissioners plan to offer their own spending plans Monday morning.

Some Hamilton County employees could see a big change coming to their health insurance. Commissioner Chris Monzel wants to make the county's Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP) mandatory for all eligible, non-union employees.