Thank you for bringing breaking and pertinent news to our attention. We would have waited at least two weeks to see in the Loveland Herald that City Council has now approved a 4% retroactive salary increase for our city manager on the heels of their decision to put an earnings tax increase on the ballot. (Council Set to Raise City Manager Salary)
My only response is, "Are you kidding me?"
This same city manager has told Council there are no other ways to cut the budget to prevent the need for a tax increase. I realize the city manager does not approve his own increase, but if we are going to sacrifice here, could he have not offered to take less of an increase? With the cost of living increasing at 1-2% recently, a 4% retroactive raise seems overly generous at best. Greedy at worst.
And to the Council for agreeing to move forward with the tax increase vote, what are you thinking by moving forward with this raise?
To add insult to injury, we read this morning in Loveland Magazine that Mr. Carroll has, at the last possible minute, assessed a $5,000 fee for Loveland's Amazing Race to proceed as planned. (City Manager Threatens to Cancel Loveland's Amazing Race) Having volunteered for this event for the first 5 years, I can say it is without a doubt one of the signature events in our city. People from throughout the region, country, and North America come to compete and overwhelmingly report they love the event, the hospitality and the charm of Loveland.
It would appear from Mr. Carroll's email to Mr. Schickel that this last minute fee is a personal vendetta against this charitable event because Mr. Carroll believes Mr. Schickel has exacerbated Loveland's budget woes with regard to a planned development. Encumbering a charity for which Mr. Schickel serves as a board member because of some perceived issue with a private business matter is beyond the pale.
There may be other sides to both of these stories, and I'm willing to listen to opposing viewpoints. But for now, neither of these moves pass the "smell test" for me as a Loveland tax payer.
Editor's Note: The compensation package Carroll is being offered actually is a total, 5% increase. A final vote on Carroll's raise is expected Tuesday night.
Chester Imhausen, Director of Traditional Worship at Epiphany United Methodist Church has announced that the Church's "Voices in Praise" choir will perform at 3:45 PM on Thursday July 5 at Christ Church Cathedral for the World Choir Games, in Open Competition. They will compete in the "Musica Sacra" category. Imhausen is the choir Director and Alex Gartner is the Associate Director and Accompanist.
Epiphany is also hosting a World Choir Game Friendship Concert the next night, Friday July 6 at 7 PM. A choir from Namibia and a choir from Thailand will perform in the Epiphany sanctuary. The concert is free.
So I can give you the best information and you can represent the truth I will explain. I will be breif since i just landed in Newfoundland and it is after 2:00 am here.
The City can not afford to donate to charities. A charity like the amazing race makes a lot of money and there is no reason why the city should donate tax payer money to an organization causing the tax payer monies to become pass through donations with the budget crunch upon the city. There is value in Loveland as a site for an event like the amazing race and that value can no longer be overlooked and a fee is in the taxpayers interest.
The connection to the downtown project is clear. The project is again on the ropes due to the costs including added costs of the hold out building. Since the city will not be receiving revenues next year from sales within the project construct, the city will now be burdened with well over a 100,000 dollars in payments and these will punish the 2013 budget additionally. Added budget cuts or a new deal downtown or both are needed.
The amazing race organizers are feeling the added pressure of the 2013 budget crunch as stated above. Martin is involved with both the downtown project and the amazing race. As such, one like yourself can blow the linkage out of proportion to make a political statement.
So the permit fee is NOT directly caused by Greiwe or because Martin has not reached an agreement, however the direct linkage is added budget pressures.
Whatever you have below and in the first email to me was misleading and wrong. Use my response above and do not rearrange the words to say what you want.
This building owned by Martin Schickel is at the center of a controversy when Loveland City Manager Thomas Carroll tangled the failed development of Historic Downtown Loveland Apartments and Loveland's Amazing Race. This view is from the Broadway Street hill looking northwest into Historic Downtown Loveland.
From: Misty Cheshire [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 11:19 AM To: Martin Schickel Subject: RE: 2 things
Tom asked that I forward this message to you:
The City of Loveland is now facing serious financial challenges. Not only is the City facing a problem from state budget cuts, but Martin's killing of the Loveland Station deal has added to the City's financial distress. I will now have to plan for another $106,000 of debt service next year which means I will have to lay off another police officer next year. As a result, the City of Loveland is no longer able to provide support for events which are not required. Accordingly, this year's Amazing Race will not be supported by the City of Loveland. Should he wish to hold it anyway, the cost is $5,000 to the City and full payment all police, fire and public works personnel.
If this is acceptable, I will process his permit this afternoon upon payment of $5,000. If not, the event shall be cancelled this year.
Race Committee Paid the $5.000 and Only Got a Tentatively Granted Permit
Loveland, Ohio - “It takes a lot to shock me but this one did!,” is Councilman Mark Fitzgerald's e-mail reply when Loveland Magazine asked about Loveland City Manager, Thomas Carroll's amazing shakedown of Loveland's Amazing Race.
Ten days before race day, Carroll blamed Martin Schickel for city financial woes to the tune of $106,000 and the layoff of a police officer. Why was Schickel responsible? According to Carroll it is because of “...Martin's killing of the Loveland Station deal.”
How did the Amazing Race get in-tangled?
The Race, heading into its seventh year was threatened with cancellation when Carroll e-mailed a demand letter to event Board member Schickel, requesting $5,000 to secure a Special Events Permit. Carroll said, “If not, the event shall be cancelled this year.”
Carroll said Schickel's refusal to sell a prime piece of real estate he owns in Historic Downtown Loveland to developer Rick Greiwe has cost the City money, therefore a charitable, non-profit organization Schickel helped found, must now pony up $5,000 to make up some of the difference.
Schickel owns a prime piece of real estate in Historic Downtown Loveland that Carroll wants sold to developer Rick Greiwe, so the “Loveland Station” development can move forward.
Fitzgerald e-mailed his fellow council-members. “What is going on? I’m told the city manager is holding up issuance of permit for the Amazing Race because Martin hasn’t agreed to sell his property? Say it isn’t so.” Fitzgerald heard back from Linda Cox and Mayor Rob Weisgerber. “Only heard from Rob and Linda – he’s 100% with the Manager; she is not.”
Loveland Magazine asked Weisgerber if he agreed with the City Manager's assessment of the $5,000 permit fee for the Amazing Race, because Schickel has not reached an agreement to sell his property to Griewe. He said, “You are wrong. You jump to a conclusion by misleading information and present it as a fact that is not true or a fact.”
Weisgerber was also asked if he knew who initiated the idea to approach Schickel an the Amazing Race in this manner. He did not provide an answer.
Fitzgerald e-mailed the City Law Director, “Do you see this as ethical? Legal?” There has been no response.
Schickel also pondered whether or not what Carroll did was ethical or legal. “I don't know. I am not a lawyer, but it doesn’t feel right.” He said that the committee's objective was to make the race happen, “We're seven days away. We want the race to go off and the participants to have a good impression of Loveland. That’s our number one priority”
Loveland's Amazing Race's only connection with development in Loveland is that one of the Race founders, Schickel - owns prime real-estate that Carroll and Greiwe want included in a series of apartment buildings city planners gave their blessings to last year. The City or Greiwe have acquired, or have under contract, all of the identified parcels in Phase One, except the Schickel parcel. City leaders had promised that the “Loveland Station” construction would begin early this Spring.
Greiwe said today that he in fact has an agreement with Schickel, and he knew nothing of Carroll's demand for money from the Amazing Race. He said that he is still looking for financing for the project, and would give no estimate of when construction would begin.
Schickel, said that Greiwe's assertion of an agreement is not entirely accurate. “We have an agreement on price, and he has presented me with a contract, but I have not signed it yet. That is the direction we are going, so I can certainly see how he would make a statement like that however.”
Fitzgerald confirmed that Schickel's version is more correct, and adds that the City Administration through Greiwe, is putting additional pressure on Schickel to sell. Pressure that came as late as yesterday.
Speaking about the Loveland Station Project, Schickel said that he does not understand what all is going on. “I am hearing that the project is dead, on the one hand. On the other hand I hear that the developer is putting it together. It's been a pretty long back story behind how we got to this point. When asked if the City Manager would know the stage of negotiations between him and Greiwe, Schickel said it would almost be inconceivable that Carroll wouldn't know.
Schickel said, “When I got the e-mail from Tom, I took it to the Board of Directors of Loveland's Amazing Race and said, 'We've got a problem.”
When Schickel was asked if the Amazing Race had paid the “bounty, or ransom” he chuckled and said, “Well, I can understand why those terms would be used at this point. Yes, we did. We felt we had a responsibility to those people that were coming to the event and to the reputation of Loveland.
When asked this morning how confidant he was that the race would go off as planned, Schickel said that an hour before he was thinking, “Fifty – Fifty. But within the hour I have been told that the City Manager had signed the permit."
“Everything is essentially done,” Schickel said. “The planing is done. But I have been sort of shell shocked enough by this to not feel one-hundred percent confidant that I know it's going to happen yet. But, I am starting to think it might.”
Schickel was very hesitant today to express total optimism even though a $5,000 check was delivered to City Hall. He said, “Well I don't know what his motivations are at this point for approving a permit. I think I do know what they were before, but they were totally unrelated to the event.” He said the ordeal has been difficult and said that he was now separating himself from dealing in event related discussions with the city because Carroll “had created linkages between (him) and unrelated issues, and the event.”
The Race Committee met as soon as Schickel got the e-mail from Carroll. Their decision was to pay the $5,000 immediately, and deal with it after the race was held. They took the check to City Hall but the permit was still not available.
Tentatively Granted Permit
Loveland Magazine acquired a copy of the permit signed by Carroll before the Committee picked it up. The permit asks for the usual who, why, what, where, and when. It was signed by Schickel back in mid April. The permit requires the Race organization to pay for the Police, Fire Department, and Public Works Department's contributions to the event, however there is nothing in the permit mentioning the $5,000 that Carroll demanded. Nor is there a breakdown of what services the committee receives for the money.
The permit was signed today by the City Manager, but above the check mark indicating, “Granted” the word “Tentative” was hand printed.
So, at the present time the Race committee has a signed, "Granted" yet "Tentative" permit in their possession.
When Loveland Magazine contacted Loveland Amazing Race Board Chairman, Doug Portman this afternoon, he was puzzled about why after the $5,000 was paid the permit could indicate only a “Tentative” approval. He took the cashier’s check to City Hall himself Thursday morning. There is no explanation anywhere on the permit to explain what further conditions the City Manager may be imposing. Portman said, “This whole thing is so crazy, I don't have any take on anything right now. I can't even speculate.
Portman talked today about what it would mean if the Race was cancelled. He said, “My biggest thing is that we are trying to get a race off. We have people coming in from all over the country, including my own personal family coming from St. Louis.” He said he was just trying to get the race off the ground and make charities happy, make volunteers happy, and of course make the runners happy. There will be 1,000 contestants, and 500 volunteers involved. Loveland's Amazing Race bills itself as, “A full day of good natured competition, music, food and laughs. It is a fun, quirky, adventure that rambles through Loveland and challenges the contestants agility, balance, coordination, strength, intelligence, problem solving skills, fine motor skills, and most important their sense of humor.”
Loveland's Amazing Race has been able to donate more than $300, 000 the past six years to local charities.
Speaking about Carroll's entanglement of the Loveland Station failure, and the Race, Portman said, “Martin has to make his own decision. It's two separate issues. It has nothing to do with the race.”
Portman continued, “That was the feelings of our Board. We've got to take care of the people who have backed us over the years, and the charities. And that to us is the most important thing. And, taking care of the people that have already planned their trips and their vacations.” Portman said he knows people who plan their vacations for the week after the race, so they can be in Loveland on race weekend. “Those are the people I have to make sure I take care of.”
Schickel did not know where the $5,000 figure came from. He said they have always, including this year, been a City sponsored event. He said they have been proud in recent years that they have paid for the police, fire/EMS, and public work expenses and salaries. “We hire these people for the event. The City has helped us clean the parks, but a source of pride has been over the years that the City spends very little money on this event. It takes care of itself.”
Schickel, in describing the dilemma Carroll put the committee in, said the most important thing now if for people not to think the race has been cancelled. However, he said they were at a turning point today where they thought, “Maybe it might have to be called off.”
The committee discussed that perhaps their only option was to bring “public pressure to bear on how wrong this was.” He said that it was pressure brought to bear on City Council Members personally by Portman, that may have turned tide on what he described as Carroll's, “Legal and moral problem.”
Carroll couldn't be reached for comment today. He has been on vacation all week.
Schickel said that if the race indeed happens, he didn't think that will be the end of this story. “After the race we will need to address all of this.”
For today's top stories, and much more local news visit our HOME PAGE. Loveland Magazine has published more than 7,500 stories of interest to Loveland Area residents since our founding in 2004. You can subscribe to Loveland Magazine by using the SUBSCRIBE button found at the top of our HOME PAGE.
You can also subscribe and recive weekly E-Mails with the latest Headlines by sending your E-Mail address to LOVELAND MAGAZINE.
Active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion.
The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency (Agency) has issued a SMOG ALERT for Saturday, June 9 for Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties in Ohio and Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties in Kentucky, including the Loveland area.
The Agency expects to see levels of ozone in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range on the Air Quality Index (AQI).
A fun-filled classical music experiences for the entire family will be presented in mid-June, at the Loveland and Symmes Libraries. For a performance by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's String Quartet, visit the Loveland Branch on Thursday, June 14 at 1 PM. A concert by the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra's Woodwind Quintet will also be offered at the Symmes Township Branch on Saturday, June 16 at 2 PM.
The concerts are sponsored by the Valerio Family Fund
Reports circulated on Wednesday that millions of LinkedIn passwords were subject to a security breach. A Russian hacker said he stole 6,458,020 encrypted passwords and posted them online (without usernames) to prove his feat.
The breach comes on the heels of news that LinkedIn’s iOS app potentially violates user privacy by sending detailed calendar entries to its servers. Read on at Mashable...
It also juxtaposes a pay raise with "asking city employees to do more with less". there is a lot of context missing here. Is it possible the raise is an insurance policy to assure that a fine city manager does not feel the need to look elsewhere? If we have excellent people within the city, how hard do we want to work to keep them, even when times are difficult?
Let's see the other side to the story and some balanced headlines.
Loveland, Ohio - This LOVELAND MAGAZINE HD VIDEO is from the May, Second Saturday Open Studios at the Loveland Artist Studios on Main. Squeeze Play - Cincinnati's Big Accordion Band was the special entertainment for the evening.
At the end of the evening, after almost everyone had gone home, artist, Bethany Casey announced she was going to sing a blues song she had co-written.
This Saturday, June 9, is again Open Studios and you can meet Casey and see her art at her "The B's Knees Art Studio". Casey's "Hold On" was selected to be the Loveland Magazine cover for this month. Perhaps she can be encouraged to sing again this Saturday.
Would you like to get your GED in Morrow OH? The General Education Development (GED) exam is for adults who do not have their high school diploma. The certification that you receive upon completion of the Ohio GED examination is accepted as an equivalent credential to a high school diploma by employers and colleges across the United States.
The GED examination tests basic skills that students learn about in high school. Subjects reviewed in GED classes include math, science, writing, reading, and social studies. These are the subject areas that make up the General Education Development (GED) exam in Ohio. Read on...
If you're thinking about buying a laptop any time soon, don't. Just don't do it. We're at a unique point in history, where weird and wonderful new hardware and revolutionary platform changes of every stripe will converge over the next few months. Need proof? Here's why you should wait. Read on at Gizmodo...
The Ohio Department of Transportation made the following important announcement today regarding their roadwork on I-275 near State Route 28.
Clermont County(Wednesday, June 06, 2012) – In order to implement a traffic shift on the State Route 28/Interstate 275 interchange project, there will be various lane closures in this location on Thursday, June 7.
Southbound I-275 lanes will be shifted to the outside (right) shoulder, right lane and center lane at the SR 28 interchange. Upon completion of the shift, three lanes of southbound I-275 will be open to traffic, allowing pavement work on I-275 under State Route 28.
Arrow boards and/or signs will be in place to alert motorists of the upcoming lane closures and traffic shift.
To help ensure the safety of the construction workers as well as the traveling public, motorists should remain alert, reduce their speed and watch for stopped traffic while passing through the work zone.
Pay Raise Comes on Heels of City Manager Seeking and Losing Bid For Montgomery, Ohio Job
Raise Retroactive to Time Period Carroll Was Trying to Leave Loveland
Loveland, Ohio - On May 22, two week after Loveland City Manager Thomas Carroll found out he did not get the new job he applied for with the City of Montgomery, City Council put in motion a pay raise for him. Council is expected to vote on the new compensation package at their next meeting, June 12.
In announcing to council that he did not get the Montgomery job, Carroll told them in an e-mail with the subject line, Staying in Loveland, "While my ego wishes I had had an offer, my heart is quite relieved to not have to make a choice."
In late March when Carroll told council he was among four finalist for the Montgomery job he said, "In my cover letter, I communicated to the Montgomery City Council that this is the only position I have applied for in six years as City Manager and it is the only position in the only community I would consider leaving Loveland to accept."
This LOVELAND MAGAZINE HD VIDEO was taken at the council meeting of April 10 when City Council voted to place an increase of the City income tax on this Fall's ballot. In this video, Carroll talked about the deteriorating morale and anxiety of city staff, including himself, of working within a framework of financial instability. Citing mounting budget deficits, Carroll recommended the income tax hike and encouraged council to make the possible tax hike permanent. He was successful at both.
Carroll currently enjoys an annual base salary of $111,225. The increase Carroll is expected to receive will be retroactive to the beginning of the year. He is being offered a 4% wage increase, and will be eligible for a 1% lump sum payment equal to one percent of his 2012 gross earnings if he remains employed through December 16, 2012. He will also receive a monthly car allowance of $300.00 plus mileage.
Below is the employment agreement Carroll has been offered:
This LOVELAND MAGAZINE HD VIDEO is of Loveland High School Student Council President, Logan Cornett's speech last Saturday. On behalf of the Class of 2012, Cornett "Accepted Diplomas" during graduation ceremonies.
This LOVELAND MAGAZINE HD VIDEO is Dr. John Marschhausen, Loveland School Superintendent talking to the graduating class at Xavier University's Cintas center last Saturday during graduation ceremonies.
This LOVELAND MAGAZINE HD VIDEO is the Loveland High School graduating seniors right after receiving diplomas, changing tassels, and heaving caps into the air. The ceremony was at the Xavier University Cintas Center on June 2.