Tuesday, May 16, 2000

Move to oust city manager

Councilwoman: 'He was totally dishonest with us'

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — The city manager attended at least three meetings early this year on an engineering project he insists he didn't know had started, the project's manager said Monday.

        “I know that we talked about the need to get it started, and the need to get things ordered,” City Manager James Patrick said in response. “I don't remember” hearing the work had started, he said.

        The disclosure could result in the second challenge to Mr. Patrick in less than a year on the job. Two council members said Monday they will seek his ouster.

        Brad Cramer, vice president of GPD Associates in Akron, also told The Cincinnati Enquirer he and Mr. Patrick talked about the contract by telephone at least twice between December and February. Mr. Cramer was out of town last week when $35,860 in unpaid GPD invoices dating to September came to light.

        The invoices were for engineering work to expand an electric substation and transmission lines.

        The work has become a contentious issue because the $245,000 contract was not approved by council, as the city charter requires. The question then becomes: who authorized the work?

        The answer, according to Mr. Cramer: Robert Newton, the former head of the electric department, verbally authorized it. Mr. Newton, who retired Dec. 31, has not returned several calls.

        “It may have been that between the old director of electric and the interim director of electric something fell through the cracks,” Mr. Patrick said.

        Regardless, he said, a 1985 resolution allows the city manager to hire engineers for power work without council approval.

        The situation could still be a political problem for Mr. Patrick. Council members must decide whether he lied to them or sat through three meetings with GPD in which the project was a major topic without grasping that the work had started.

        “I believe he was totally dishonest with us,” Councilwoman Amy Brewer said.

        She and Councilman James Reinhard said they intend to seek Mr. Patrick's resignation or firing because of the contract, his changing of an employee's time sheet and other issues. However, they would need two votes from supporters of Mr. Patrick.

        Meanwhile, GPD stopped work on the project after City Attorney Mark Yurick said last week that Lebanon could refuse to pay.

        “I just hope that they do pay,” Mr. Cramer said. “We had every reason to believe they were going to pay when we performed the work.”


CPS approves merit pay plan for teachers
Details of the merit pay system
Priest, historian to lead Xavier
Graham hopes to build on success
Academic stays active shepherding a parish
PULFER: If Genius of Water could talk
Officer cleared in fatal shooting
3 saw cop shoot - but not same way
Report defines unequal mortality
Rick Beck will lead teachers' union
Some teachers regain jobs
Tough coaching style is out
C average for athletes argued
Man is due explanation, police admit
Pair offer to clean up property or raze home
KNIPPENBERG: Good samaritan saves little Sheba the dog
Buddhist group touts meditation
Buddhism gains higher profile in Cincinnati
CCO names Santora its maestro
CCO ends 'tryout' season on memorable note
KIESEWETTER: 'Frasier' falls back to Tuesday
Know Theater's 'Rebel County' edgy, engrossing
Pig Parade: Pig of Possibilities
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Butler seeks probe of forgiven tax penalties
Constable killed in '22 gets a hero's memorial
Court ruling means tax cut much less likely now in Ohio
Covington Schools gain on computers
Fish dying on Ky. River
Florence to ask Boone for funds
Grad Night arrests rise slightly
Hearing delayed in priest stabbing
- Move to oust city manager
Panel hears from workers
Pressure mounts to fill empty chairs at MRDD
Rancor on school board
Student seeks honor for officer
Study: Low-level lead hazard
Symphony's name change hits clinker
Tough year for tobacco farmers
Walk right in, pedal out