A longtime campaign consultant has decided to jump into politics himself. Jeff Cramerding announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination to run for Hamilton County treasurer next year.
Cramerding, 38, of Price Hill, is a local attorney who has served as a consultant to numerous area politicians, mostly Democrats and Charterites. They include Denise Driehaus, David Pepper, Jody Luebbers and Chris Bortz.
In announcing his candidacy, Cramerding unveiled a three-point platform that he says will curb abuses now common in county government. The platform includes a pledge not to allow so-called “double dipping” in the Treasurer's Office; promising to work full-time as treasurer to justify the $73,294 annual salary paid to the position; and institute merit-based hiring, to cut down on political cronyism.
Cramerding will run against Republican incumbent Robert A. Goering.
Asked why he decided to be a candidate himself after more than a decade of helping others seek public office, Cramerding replied, “I've become more and more frustrated. At some point, you become so frustrated that it's worse not to do anything than to run and have the risk of losing.”
Double-dipping is the practice where county employees retire, collect a pension, and are rehired in the same or similar jobs. In the past two years, 21 Hamilton County employees have retired, cashed in on unused s their pensions and then were rehired to the same position, sometimes at a reduced salary and sometimes not. Although legal, it's forced the county to tap into its general fund to get all the cash needed for the payouts. Among those double-dipping are County Auditor Dusty Rhodes, Deputy Auditor Roger Silbersack and Chief Deputy Sheriff Sean Donovan.
Regarding merit-based hiring, Cramerding said he wants to end the current practice of rewarding political contributors and party loyalists with positions in Hamilton County government.
Cramerding previously served as executive director of the Charter Committee, Cincinnati’s nonpartisan political action committee that runs independent candidates for City Council. Additionally, he has been active with several groups including Kids Voting of Southwest Ohio, the Center for Chemical and Alcohol Treatment, the Multi-Neighborhood Housing Task Force and the Price Hill Civic Club.