Coleman retires

By Nikki Blankenship -

Local union leader Gary Coleman has retired after years of public scrutiny. Coleman, who was the business manager for the Laborers Local 83 in Portsmouth, has been under the media eye for several years. Coleman has been accused of nepotism by hiring several family members to join him at the union hall.

In addition to nepotism claims, Coleman is also being criticized for his high wages.

According to US Department of Labor statistics, Coleman is among the highest paid union leaders in the State. In 2016 while employed by union of less than 600 members that reports total assets as being less than $300,000, Coleman earned a salary of $187,323, which toppled over $200,000 with business reimbursements, ranking him in the top 25 highest paid union officials in Ohio.

Working alongside Coleman was his son, Cole Coleman, who was employed as the recording secretary, according to the US Dept. of Labor. He made just under $100,000 a year.

In the January 15, 2013 edition of The Washington Times, an article titled “For union leadership jobs, it pays well to have family ties,” states, “At the Laborers 83, a $2.9 million union with 634 members in Portsmouth, Ohio, Gary Coleman made $163,000 as secretary-treasurer with his brother Joe as auditor. The elected officers hired Gary’s daughter Lindy to oversee the apprenticeship program.”

According to the union’s annual report, Joe Coleman is still serving on the executive board.

Cole Coleman, who also works as a field representative, explained Monday that Gary Coleman had been with the union for more than 30 years.

“He retired a couple weeks ago,” Cole Coleman confirmed.

By Nikki Blankenship

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.