Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Suit filed over Krings contract


Anti-tax group: Deal 'grotesque'

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

An anti-tax group filed suit against Hamilton County on Tuesday in hopes of breaking administrator David Krings' contract.

"It is grotesque in its proportions - the salary, the severance and most of all the clause that triggers his severance without cause and on the mere utterance of a single commissioner," said Chris Finney, attorney for the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes.

Named in the suit are Krings and Commissioners John Dowlin, Todd Portune and Phil Heimlich.

Dowlin, Portune and former Commissioner Tom Neyer approved Krings' contract in December. It didn't increase Krings' annual salary of $179,636, but Heimlich and others have questioned a provision that guaranteed him $434,000-plus if he is ever fired. Krings also could consider himself fired and collect the severance package if even one of the three commissioners suggests he resign, according to the contract.

COAST member Mark Miller, a county resident, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Hamilton County residents.

The lawsuit seeks a court order to stop paychecks to Krings and enable commissioners to criticize him, Finney said. Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Melba Marsh is scheduled to hear that request at 11 this morning.

"It all strikes me as being very political, but also very premature," Portune said of the lawsuit. "We have passed along issues to the prosecutor to look at, and all three of us have indicated we are willing to renegotiate the contract. And David Krings has indicated a willingness to renegotiate it."

The legal basis of the suit is that commissioners did not get the auditor's certification on the contract, Finney said. State law says the auditor must certify money is available to honor a contract before it's approved. The oversight probably occurred, he said, because the contract wasn't sent to the prosecutor's office for review, as normally happens before commissioners vote.

Auditor Dusty Rhodes asked for a prosecutor's opinion this month on whether Krings' contract is valid. Commissioners submitted their own questions to the prosecutor.

E-mail candrews@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Taft weighs temporary sales-tax rise
Snowfall dry, fluffy, lovely - and deadly
Scuffling possible, shooting witness says
Costs push debate on W. Chester center site

IN THE TRISTATE
Arts group, coalition settle pair of lawsuits
FBI raids office of missing developer
Suit filed over Krings contract
Property plan kept on the hook in Norwood
Cons might get out of crowded jail early
Children's Hospital opposes cuts
Obituary: Joe Dippong, 'Mr. Spoons'
Tristate A.M. Report

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
SMITH AMOS: Scars of racism still sear
BRONSON: Cop shooting
GUTIERREZ: Call your legislator
KORTE: City Hall
HOWARD: Some Good News

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Realtors in uproar over tax increase
Butler commissioner calls for housing official ouster
More lead tests above standard
2 picked to head search
Clermont OKs online payments
Talawanda board to close Stewart Elementary
Zoning board delays vote on requiring larger lots
Death increases charge in accident
Village pushes renewal
Slaying suspect gets earlier review
Ohio Moments

KENTUCKY
Epling inspires new bill
Pupils write pleas for school
Kentucky News Briefs
Danville pastors protest school play
Memorial could beautify corner
House defeats bill to ban smoking in college dorms
N.Ky.'s Ziegler remembered as a hard-charger