Good morning all. Here’s the news on this gloriously humid Friday.
As you might have seen in our story yesterday, the hubbub around Mayor John Cranley’s plan to boost pay for city workers represented by big unions continues. Cranley held a press conference where he, labor leaders, elected officials and political candidates touted the move as the right thing to do for workers who have gotten little in the way of raises since the Great Recession. The move circumvents collective bargaining that was ongoing or finished before the proposal. Yesterday’s event seemed designed to put pressure on Cincinnati City Council, which will vote on the measure next month. Some Democrat members of Council, including P.G. Sittenfeld and Chris Seelbach, are skeptical about the proposal for budgetary reasons and because they say it amounts to Cranley playing politics.
• One of the groups that would see a big bump in pay over the next few years under Cranley’s plan: police officers. While no one on Council is debating that officers, who have received only a 1.5 percent bump since 2010, deserve more money, it’s clear that compared to comparable cities, Cincinnati’s police force isn’t underpaid. Cincinnati’s lowest-paid officers receive $53,582 a year, according to a survey conducted by city administration. That’s the highest amount of comparable size cities in the region, including Louisville, Dayton, Columbus, Akron, Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.
• As we told you about a couple days ago, some dedicated Trumpers have set up a kind of independent campaign headquarters for the GOP presidential nominee in West Chester. It’s opened yesterday and it’s in a house. The house looks like this. It’s Trump’s only outpost in Southwest Ohio, which is an interesting strategy for winning a big swing state.
• But have no fear, The Donald has just assembled a crack team of campaigners in Ohio. And it’s still three months until the election! “We have assembled an all-star team that is building out our campaign’s ground game in every corner of the state," Ohio campaign director Bob Paduchik said in a press release yesterday. Paduchik is joined on the Trump train by deputy director and Kettering Vice Mayor Rob Scott, two former employees of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, Seth Unger and John Roscoe, and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s 2014 reelection campaign staffer Clayton Henson.
• For the first time since an investigation into the murders of the Rhoden family in Pike County, Ohio, law enforcement officials have started releasing details about who they’re looking for in connection with the heinous slayings. Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader disclosed yesterday that authorities were looking for more than one killer, indicating that the well-planned murders were coordinated among multiple shooters.
• Is Ohio’s Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor eyeing a bigger gig in 2018? Taylor is among several statewide GOP figures, including Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted, looking at a possible run in 2018 after Gov. John Kasich’s second term is up. This week, Taylor held up a sign at the Ohio State Fair that read, “I want to be a governor” in neat cursive writing. Taylor, at the fair promoting state employment agency Ohio Means Jobs, also tweeted a picture of herself holding the sign. Her office later clarified that the tweet wasn’t a formal announcement and that Taylor was just having a good time. In the future, I’m going to try this for jobs I want to apply for.
• Attendance records from Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, are due to the Ohio Department of Education today. As we’ve told you in the past, there are big questions around whether ECOT is fulfilling requirements that students be offered five hours of educational opportunities a day in order to earn the millions in state funding the school takes in every year. Originally, ECOT’s data about how long students remain logged in to their website was due Wednesday after it lost a court fight with ODE, but that deadline has been extended. The school says students also study off-line, away from ECOT’s online learning modules, but also says it doesn’t keep track of offline stats. Look for an in-depth story next week on ECOT, its attendance data, and the state of charter schools in Ohio.
• The U.S. economy gained 255,000 jobs in July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning. That’s a big reversal from a slump seen in the spring and a sign that the slowdown was a blip. Big winners in the jobs world: business and professional fields and healthcare. Most sectors gained employment, though some, like mining, saw a drop. Wages also rose slightly.