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Local Dems criticize Republican governor and question JobsOhio’s effectiveness



Published: Tue, October 1, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

Two Ohio House members and the Youngstown City Council president, all Democrats, said JobsOhio, the privatized agency created by the Republican governor to head the state’s economic development, killed jobs in the Mahoning Valley.

In response to an article in Sunday’s Vindicator about JobsOhio recommending a $4.5 million tax credit to Verizon Wireless, which is closing its Boardman facility and eliminating 370 jobs in the Valley, the politicians criticized and questioned the agency’s effectiveness at job creation.

The request was approved by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority, which has yet to reject a JobsOhio tax-credit recommendation.

JobsOhio and Kasich are “poaching jobs from the Mahoning Valley,” said state Rep. Ronald V. Gerberry, D-59th, of Austintown, at a press conference Monday with state Rep. Robert F. Hagan, D-58th, of Youngstown, and Youngstown Council President Jamael Tito Brown at county Democratic headquarters in Boardman.

“Don’t you think [Jobs-Ohio] has an obligation to the people of the Mahoning Valley?” Gerberry said.

Kasich “is doing everything he can to hurt the Mahoning Valley,” said Hagan, who later added, “The governor is going to thumb his nose at the Mahoning Valley again and again.”

Kasich and JobsOhio officials have said the tax credit was given to Verizon to keep the company in Ohio.

“What credibility [does Hagan and Gerberry] have to even say the word ‘jobs?’” said Rob Nichols, Kasich’s spokesman, on Monday. “When their party was in charge, Ohio lost 400,000 jobs and the Valley’s unemployment rate was 11.3 percent. Since Gov. Kasich has taken office, unemployment has dropped to 7.7 percent, and more than 13,000 jobs have been created in the Valley.”

Nichols added: “Instead of attacking us, they should be apologizing to their constituents for being such colossal failures on the economy when Ohio families needed them most.”

The tax credit keeps Verizon — a wireless voice and data service business — in Ohio, but will result in the company’s closing its 381-employee Boardman facility by early next year. Already, 65 jobs have been eliminated there.

Verizon’s Dublin facility, which employs 1,867 workers, will close in the first half of next year, and those employees will move to a nearby building owned by the company — Boardman and Dublin are leased properties — in Hilliard, which currently employs 601.

None of the Dublin employees will lose his or her job in the consolidation.

Some of the 65 Verizon continuity marketing positions that were eliminated in Boardman on Aug. 31 have moved to Dublin and will then go to Hillard.

Eleven workers at a retail store at the Boardman-Canfield Road location are being moved today to a nearby Verizon store on Boardman-Poland Road.

Of the remaining workers, 285 of them are part of the company’s customer financial service division. Those jobs will be gone around March 2014. Those workers don’t have the option to keep their jobs and relocate to Hilliard.

They can bid for jobs that will become available in Hillard. But those 285 customer financial service jobs are being transferred to Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Hagan pointed out that those three are right-to-work states.

The remaining 20 workers at the Boardman location handle various jobs and will be there until early 2014. A Verizon spokeswoman has said it isn’t known what will happen to those employees.

“The state is giving Verizon $4.5 million to go to [Hilliard] and leave Boardman,” Gerberry said. “Why would a state agency poach jobs?”

Brown said he understands that Verizon is consolidating in the state, but “the only consolidation is in Boardman.”

He later said that “JobsOhio is killing jobs, especially in the Mahoning Valley.”

Nichols previously said that Kasich and JobsOhio are saving jobs in Ohio.

“When a company looks to move out of the state, we’ll do whatever we can to keep them in Ohio,” he said.

JobsOhio has been a controversial agency, particularly in recent months.

The Ohio Ethics Commission found last month that nine of the 22 JobsOhio officials, including six of its nine board members, required to file secret financial disclosure statements had potential conflicts of interest. The commission hasn’t determined if the conflicts are actual.

One of those board members, Gary R. Heminger, president and chief executive officer of Marathon Petroleum Corp. in Findlay, owns stock in Verizon, according to his largely redacted financial disclosure statement.

“His stock holdings are private, and he is fully aware of his judiciary responsibility as it pertains to ethics,” said Angela Graves, a Marathon spokeswoman, speaking Monday on Heminger’s behalf. “He is not aware of any conflicts of interest in the past and doesn’t have any concerns about future actions.”

As a private entity, Jobs-Ohio isn’t subject to the state’s open-records laws.


Comments

1ytownsteelman(627 comments)posted 11 months ago

Well, maybe Ohio should become a right to work state then!

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2timOthy(802 comments)posted 11 months ago

NICHOLS SINCE KASICH TOOK OFFICE OHIO HAS BEEN LOSING JOBS AT AN ALARMING RATE. VM STEEL WAS DONE UNDER STRICKLAND TERM. I'LL GIVE YO AMERICAN GREETINGS COMPANY AND WORTHLESS RESTAURANT NAMED BOB EVANS. OPEN YOUR BOOKS CULT BOY ! FITZGERALD AND OTHER OHIOANS WOULD LIKE TO SEE WHAT YOU CULT REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN STEALING ! YOUR JUST DAMN LOSERS BY NAME AND IN APPEARANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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3valleypolitics(88 comments)posted 11 months ago

Let's see, Kasich gets to say he kept jobs in Ohio but made Gerberry, Hagan, Brown, Betras and the rest of the dems in Mahoning County look like idiots.

Looks to me like Kasich won this easily, but considering who he's up against of course it was easy.

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4walter_sobchak(1891 comments)posted 11 months ago

You people are idiots. If Verizon is consolidating its operations into a company-owned building in Ohio from leased space, doesn't it make sense that the company will likely stay in Ohio and pay taxes to the state? What would be your answer to Gov. Kasich if he didn't help Verizon and they moved to another state when their leases were up because North Carolina would give them free space? You would complain he didn't do enough. All politics is local, however. Oh, BTW, Gov. Kasich has fast-tracked the I-80 widening project which will help this area tremendously as we have become an exporter in products from the valley.

I think Buckwheat has taken one to many blows to his thick skull. What an embarassment.

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5redvert(2056 comments)posted 11 months ago

What is comical to me is how the local libs worship Gerberry, Hagan, Brown, Betras etc. What has all that liberal worship done for the valley in the last 50-60 years.... made it the armpit of Ohio. Now do I think a straight republican government for the valley is the answer, short term yes but in the long run,a balanced one is the way to go.

Luckily the federal government is divided at the moment or obowser would of already destroyed the 2nd. amendment and we would be completely owned by China. His answer is to just raise the debt ceiling. What would happen down the road when that new limit was reached? See if you can figure that out.

Anyone upside down in credit card debt because you spent money you did not have? Not rocket science...well, to some of us anyways!!!

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6123goz(550 comments)posted 11 months ago

"The tax credit keeps Verizon — a wireless voice and data service business — in Ohio,.....
..... and those employees will move to a nearby building owned by the company.....
The moves are to be to a non leased building, which would have happened with out the tax break. We will see soon that this money is just a gift to a Kasich supporter and the move to another state is a smoke screen. And, yes, I believe he is petty enough to try to steer jobs away from this area, unless it's to open a charter school.
Columbus has enough, how about spreading it around a little?

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7123goz(550 comments)posted 11 months ago

"..the privatized agency created by the Republican governor.....isn’t subject to the state’s open-records laws."

Speaks for itself, eh?

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8Overtaxed_Voter(14 comments)posted 11 months ago

=======
Kasich “is doing everything he can to hurt the Mahoning Valley,” said Hagan
=======

Hagan needs to step away from the bong.

The 'wacky weed' is making him wack(ier, if that is even possible.

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