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Two Cincinnati Council Members are calling for the city's responsible bidder ordinance to be repealed because they say it is holding up needed Metropolitan Sewer District projects.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”
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.
Hamilton County Commissioners are ordering the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to suspend work until the City of Cincinnati changes a new hiring policy.
The County owns MSD but it's operated by the city.
On Wednesday, commissioners passed a resolution stopping work on all projects affected by the city's policy. The county argues the policy, which requires an apprenticeship program, unfairly excludes many non-union companies from bidding for construction jobs.