Local worker preference to be repealed

By Frank Lewis - flewis@civitasmedia.com

Amidst a myriad of ordinances that are simply a cleanup of the city’s codified ordinances, Portsmouth City Council will consider bringing forward two ordinances that have the potential to actually change things at Monday’s City Manager Agenda.

For the first time since 2012, local workers will not be given preference in the workforce on city projects. House Bill 180, signed into law by Governor John Kasich effectively repealed Ohio Revised Code Section 153.013 which allowed local workforce requirements.

The city of Portsmouth has a local workforce requirement that was enacted through Ordinance 2012-08 passed on Feb. 27, 2012.

“On July 19, 2016 my office received an email update from Bricker and Eckler LLP that as of Aug. 31, 2016 Ohio public authorities cannot require the use of local workers,” City Manager Derek K. Allen said.

Effective Aug. 31, 2016, the city of Portsmouth requirement that is codified in Chapter 125.03 is no longer legal.

Council will also consider bringing to the legislative session, an expanded litter ordinance titled 521.06 “Duty to keep sidewalks in repair and clean.” The current ordinance reads – “No owner or occupant of abutting lands shall fail to keep the sidewalks, curbs or gutters in repair and free from snow, ice or any nuisance.” Additionally the ordinance reads – “Whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.”

First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson is proposing several additions to the ordinance, beginning with – “Such shall include keeping the sidewalks, curbs and gutters free of trash and weeds.”

Part A reads – “All businesses, campuses, governments and institutions of any kind shall provide at any point of ingress and egress to their business, campus, governmental and institutional entryway or office a trash receptacle designed to deposit or otherwise receive cigarette butts. Such receptacles shall be emptied regularly in a safe manner. Smoke-free campuses are exempt from this section.”

The wording for Part B is – “Ingress and Egress are defined as any access, door, entryway or other means of ingress or egress open to the public. Ingress and/or Egress which is normally locked and only utilized for appointments or private business or personal use are exempt from the provision to provide a smoking receptacle.”

Part C says – “Public is defined as and includes a buyer, client, consumer, customer, employee, patient, parishioner, patron, purchaser or shopper.”

Portsmouth City Solicitor John Haas as called the proposal unconstitutional. Haas said you can’t make business owners responsible for littering by the public. He said the person who does the actual littering can be held responsible, but not the business owner.

“You can’t criminalize the business owner,” Haas said. “I understand what he’s trying to do. I understand the goal behind it. I think in a round about way, he’s trying to do some kind of a conspiracy legal theory, like criminal conspiracy, but you have to aid and abet in the planning of a crime, if you want to call littering a crime and you have to plan with another person to do that.”

By Frank Lewis


Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.