Residency rule restricts quality of applicant pool
The residency rule for Youngstown is clannish, mean-spirited and rooted in politics. The voters of Youngstown passed a residency law in 1987, but it had been unenforceable. Anyone who was hired before Jan. 1, 1988 was allowed to remain at their residence. Because some employees hired were not complying with the ruling from the years 1988 to 1992, a judge upheld the ruling in July of 1992. All those who were hired after Jan. 1, 1988, were eventually fired if they had not moved into the city.
What is the difference between some one needing a job or someone keeping a job? If those employees who lived outside the city had to move into the city with the new hires, the law would never have been proposed.
City voters who were not city employees at the time of the vote could vote for the residency rule then move out -- they had no vested interest. How many of those in favor of the bill then are still living in the city?
Consider the employees bound by the residency rule seeking better housing, etc. They are restricted by the city's boundaries for the rest of their working lives whereas their co-workers who were hired prior to Jan 1. 1988 can move anywhere they wish at any time.
Mayors are not against the residency rule because it helped them get elected.
It has been stated that a residency rule will mean a more conscientious employee. How do you prove that? Wages are mostly negotiated by union contract. Does where you live matter to how you perform your job? It should not. The duties of your employment are performed to the best of your ability regardless of where you reside.
How many well-qualified applicants never send r & eacute;sum & eacute;s for city openings because of the residency rule? Is that selecting from the best pool of qualified individuals?
Freedom of choice does not come with an asterisk stating you have 120 days to comply. Actually, what is the reason for a residency rule?
Can anyone say that something is wrong? This is wrong.
Public persuades PUCO to rein in phone companies
The Ohio Consumers' Counsel, the residential utility advocate, thanks telephone customers of Mahoning County for expressing their concerns about the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's telephone rules. These rules allow companies to enter into an "alternative regulation" plan and hike prices for services like call waiting and a second telephone line.
The rules were adopted by the PUCO and include several important changes as a result of our concentrated consumer education effort.
The OCC and a coalition including AARP, the cities of Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo and low-income consumer groups called for the PUCO to hold public hearings and asked consumers to write letters to express their opinions. Hearings were held throughout the state and more than 6,500 postcards and letters were mailed to the PUCO. Consumers' concerns included past poor services and possible rate hikes for services they rely on for privacy and convenience.
I am pleased to report that our efforts have paid off. With recent additions to the rules, telephone companies that have been found by the PUCO to be providing inadequate service will be ineligible to adopt the rules. Our combined effort also convinced the PUCO to cap the rate for basic caller ID and limit potential price increases for call waiting and a second telephone line.
While the OCC believes that telephone companies should not be able to raise their rates until a competitive telephone market fully develops, these changes will help hold companies accountable for inadequate service and give some price protections to consumers.
Again, I thank telephone customers for joining the OCC in voicing concerns about the PUCO rules. Consumers interested in learning more about the telephone rules or other utility topics, may call our office at 1-877-PICKOCC (1-877-742-5622) toll free or visit our website at www.pickocc.org.
ROBERT S. TONGREN
X The writer is the Ohio Consumers' Counsel.