EAST PALESTINE Officials dispute census

The State Employment Relations Board doesn't recognize the recount, and union workers could lose representation.
EAST PALESTINE -- City officials are exploring the procedure necessary for challenging U.S. Census figures.
Law Director Bradley Allison told council Monday that city employees who are members of FOP and Teamsters will lose union representation in 2003 if the city does not successfully challenge the 2000 census figures.
He said the State Employment Relations Board does not recognize the city's April recount of it population. The SERB uses federal rather than state census data in determining employee relations matters, Allison explained.
Local census: City officials conducted a local census after the U.S. Census of 2000 listed East Palestine's population at 4,917 residents, which is 83 people short of the 5,000 population needed to retain city status.
The state auditor's office certified the city's figures of 5,058, and recognizes East Palestine as a city.
Council directed Allison to gather information about the procedure for challenging federal census figures and an estimated cost. He is to report to council at the Sept. 10 meeting.
Chuck Wilson, a representative of the Ohio Labor Council, spoke on behalf of the city's FOP employees. He urged the city to challenge the federal census figures.
Wilson said the FOP members realize there representation is at stake, which is why they volunteered off-duty hours to assist in the city's census.
City officials and volunteers spent two weeks in April organizing and conducting a local census. They monitored phones, distributed and collected census forms, and went door-to-door in an effort to verify East Palestine has at least 5,000 residents.
East Palestine has maintained a population of 5,000 or more since at least the 1940s, according to historical society records.

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