Commissioners join several state organizations, take a stance against State Issue 1
Also launch a new site and announce health insurance premium holiday for employees in November
[Tiffin, OH Sept. 25, 2018] – Seneca County Commissioners joined the County Commissioners Association of Ohio Tuesday morning by officially opposing State Issue 1.
Commissioner Mike Kerschner said county judges, County Prosecutor Derek DeVine and the county’s opiate task force oppose the measure.
Several state organizations also have taken a stance against the ballot issue, including the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association, the Ohio Bar Association, the Common Pleas Judges Association, the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association and the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.
Kerschner read a statement from DeVine during the meeting Tuesday.
“The Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office supports a “NO” vote on Issue 1. Issue 1 does not solve any of our criminal justice problems, but instead pushes criminals out of the state system and back into local treatment,” DeVine states. “Issue 1 removes felony possession of cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and other drugs from our laws. Issue 1 mandates a reduction in most prison sentences by 25 percent – taking away authority from our courts. We urge everyone to vote NO on Issue 1.”
The Ohio Safe and Healthy Communities Campaign, which is a proponent of the constitutional amendment, raised $4.1 million this year through the end of July, of which only $19,000 came from donors in Ohio. Donors include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. This has irked Kerschner, Commissioner Holly Stacy and several others across the county and state.
“Hopefully the voters get involved and vote their conscience,” Kerschner said.
A release from the CCAO states the organization opposed the proposal because of concerns that the approval of it would lead to an unfunded mandate on local communities.
“This proposal does not belong in the Ohio Constitution,” CCAO President Daniel Troy said. “Decisions around whether jail time is an appropriate tool to incentivize people to seek treatment, whether or not mandatory sentencing reductions make sense and for what offenses, and how to fund treatment are decisions that should be able to be easily amended to match evidence-based practices. Legislating by utilization of the State Constitution eliminates that flexibility.”
In other business, the county officially launched its new website. The site, at www.senecacountyohio.gov, features an improved layout and design, biography pages for the commissioners and other department heads and more content and media releases.
Also during the meeting, the board approved health insurance premium rates for county employees for 2019. Rates will remain the same as 2018 and county employees also will receive a premium holiday this November.
Ron Burns, a consultant for the county, said rates are lower and money has been saved by using the County Employee Benefits Consortium of Ohio. He said if the county didn’t use the consortium, insurance rates would have likely seen a 19-percent increase.
During new business, the board approved a $217,432.75 appropriation for equipment needed for the county’s fiber network project. The expense is to be paid via the Captial Projects Fund because the network will benefit several county offices.
All appropriations from yesterday’s pre-meeting release were approved.