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Elections board OKs pay increase


The Columbiana County Board of Elections has approved a pay increase for administrative staff. The raise brings their pay closer to statewide averages, but still below what other comparably sized counties pay their workers.

The board met Tuesday and President David Johnson said he and Deputy Director Brice Miner had recently conducted a very extensive review of wages and salaries comparing Columbiana County with other like-sized counties in Ohio.

“We’ve done a review of county wages for clerical and administrative positions and we’ve come up with what we think are structural changes that needed to be made to bring our staff up to the level of not only what county employees are being paid but more importantly where other like-sized positions in other like-sized counties, to what their pay is,” Johnson said. The details of the raise broken down by Johnson include:

Director and deputy director: wage increased by 5 percent

Most junior-level employee: started at $13 an hour, raising it to $15 an hour, below standard average of $16.04.

Mid-level clerks at 10-15 years of experience: was at $16.28 an hour, median average is $18.65 an hour, raised to $18.26

Upper-level clerk: raising $2.50 an hour to $18.78

Most senior employee: raised $2.50 an hour to $20.82 an hour, median is $21.16 an hour

Johnson said the change puts the county closer to paying on par with what other counties pay administrative positions, although still lagging behind. He said the additional wages for the staff will amount to $18,720 a year.

“With the reduction in precincts that we just adopted here in this county going from 87 precincts down to 73, we will have a $20,000 savings per year,” Johnson said. “So we are saving more money than what this is costing us and yet we’re asking our staff to do more, frankly, in terms of administering these precincts than what they were doing before.”

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Remote roles are up by 12% on this job board—here’s what people are hiring for


There’s never been a better time to find a remote job than now. The share of remote openings increased by 12% in 2021 over 2020 according to FlexJobs, a membership service for jobseekers with a database of roughly 57,000 companies.

The bulk of remote jobs are generally customer service or sales marketing jobs, which can be done pretty easily through telework. But as companies extend their work-from-home policies and, in some cases, adopt permanent ones, they’re seeing what other parts of their workforces can thrive remotely.

The biggest increase in remote listings are for HR and recruiting roles, says FlexJobs career services manager Brie Reynolds. There’s a huge need to hire HR workers who can hire other employees during record-high turnover of the Great Resignation.

Letting HR workers be remote means companies can hire them faster, they can expand their candidate pool beyond their usual geography and it can be a good sign that they’re invested in the future of remote work (who better to understand the needs of a remote worker than a remote HR business partner?).

The second fastest-growing field for remote listings on FlexJobs is accounting and finance jobs. Reynolds says this signals that businesses need numbers people to wrangle ever-changing budgets under pressure in the recovering pandemic economy. Many businesses are having to offer more money to hire and maintain employees — all while keeping pace with rising consumer demand for goods and services.

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The New Post-60 Career Paths


When I turned 60 a couple of years ago, friends started asking about my retirement plans. This was shocking, given I’m just as healthy, energetic and curious about the world as I was at age 40. My parents lived until their 90s, so why on earth would I give up the most stimulating part of my life if I hope to live three more decades?

At the same time, my priorities were shifting in this later chapter of life. I wanted less stress and more time to process, create and mentor. I couldn’t see another decade in the pressure-cooker management job I’d had for years. I wanted to focus on what I loved most about the profession: reporting, writing and making an impact.

Like me, more people over 60 plan to continue working in the future—the share of workers 65 and over in the U.S. is expected to increase faster than any other age group between now and 2030—but no clear roadmap exists for how to do it. While I was lucky enough to have bosses who let me create a new reporting job, most companies don’t offer a choice between charging up the career ladder with full-time employment or jumping off the retirement cliff around age 65.

As life spans now extend toward 100, demographers, gerontologists, neuroscientists and employment experts are studying how to overhaul the workplace for the future to encourage people to work into the later stages of life. Companies are devising ways to taper down and deconstruct jobs by task, role or project to offer more options to older workers looking for more meaningful and flexible work. Benefits would be tailored to the needs of older workers—think unpaid sabbaticals and home grocery delivery—rather than just matching 401(k) funds. High-tech tools such as exoskeletons and robots are emerging to assist older workers in physically demanding jobs.

“The way we’ve set up employment is on Friday you’re at 100% and on Monday, after you retire, you’re at 0%. That’s not good for the person, and it’s not good for the company,” says Chip Conley, founder and CEO of the Modern Elder Academy, a school in Baja California Sur, Mexico, aimed at helping with midlife career transitions. “Why not create a staircase that allows people to ramp down over time?”

During the pandemic, a disportionately high number of older workers have retired early, aggravating a labor shortage. Many say jobs and salaries will need restructuring if employers want them back.

Employers need to acknowledge that older workers who have achieved life milestones have different career goals and motivations than younger people, Stanford University’s Center for Longevity found in the report “A New Map of Life: Work” published last year.

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County Board goes for the $9.4 M bond

Close up of a hands of a businessman on a keyboard.

The Faribault County Board of Commissioners met on Tuesday, Feb. 1, and approved the sale of State Aid Highway bonds to Northland Securities in the amount of $9,435,000.

“The true interest rate (TIR) is 1.9406 percent,” county auditor/treasurer Darren Esser said. “I had hoped the interest rate would have been in the 1.6-1.7 percent range, but interest rates have been edging higher.”

Public works director Mark Daly was asked if the County State Aid Highway funding will still cover the cost of repaying the bond.

“Yes, it will,” Daly replied. “I am not as optimistic about the bituminous prices as I was earlier but I believe this is the right thing to do.”

Esser noted the number of companies bidding on the bonds was higher than he had expected.

“We were hoping to have four or five companies bidding,” he commented. “We actually ended up with seven companies bidding. The payback period is 15 years.”

The board passed the resolution awarding the sale of 2022A General Obligation

State Aid Highway bonds to Northland Securities, Inc.

Daly also took time to review the 2022 State Aid Apportionments for the county.

“The State Aid dollars for regular construction increased from $3,153,88 in 2021 to $3,759,463 for this year,” he explained. “The money for State Aid municipal construction also increased from $682,024 in 2021 to $748,286.”

Daly also addressed the money townships will receive in 2022.

“The money for township bridges actually went down a little from $920,028 last year to $913,777 this year,” he said. “However, township road money went up a lot for this year from $491,768 to $735,271. This increase was due to a one-time transfer of $12 million of General Funds which were made available by the legislature during their 2021 Special Session.”

Daly reminded the board there will be five roads, the Unity Trail and four bridges on the schedule to be worked on this year.

Central Services director Lexie Scholten attended the meeting virtually with a couple items of business for the commissioners to address.

“Per Minnesota State Statute 197.60, the County Board is responsible for appointing a Veteran Service Officer (VSO),” Scholten explained. “Jenna Schmidtke’s term actually expired on Oct. 10, 2021. The reappointment would be for a four-year term retroactive to that date.”

Jobs Board: Five gatekeeper gigs up for grabs


Economists polled by Wall Street had forecast 150,000 new jobs, and many investors were even bracing for the first contraction in employment since December 2020 because so many workers were ill last month.

The government also revised figures for the end of last year, with the U.S. adding 510,000 jobs in December instead of 199,000. And employment rose by 647,000 in November compared with the prior estimate of 249,000. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate rose to 4% from 3.9%, while hourly wages rose 23 cents, or 0.7%, to $31.63 in January.

After Friday’s labor report, the likelihood of a half-point rate hike in March by the Fed went up to almost 35% Friday afternoon from 14% on Thursday, according to the CME FedWatch Tool. Investors now turn their attention to next week’s consumer-price index report.

Data released Friday showed that the U.S. gained a healthy 467,000 jobs in January and hiring was much stronger at the end of 2021 than originally reported, suggesting businesses did better at filling openings despite the omicron-variant wave of COVID-19.

Williamsport Board considers building project


The Williamsport Area School Board is moving ahead on plans to renovate Lycoming Valley Intermediate School.

During its meeting this week, the board heard a report from Scott Cousin, project manager for the architectural firm of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, on possible upgrades.

The project, at an estimated cost of between $32.5 and $35.8 million, would include adding classrooms, renovating HVAC and plumbing, replacing doors and windows, and other improvements.

“We are trying to increase the capacity a bit,” he said.

The project would be covered in part with federal Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief dollars and the district’s capital reserve funds.

Cousin said construction could begin next year and take between 18 and 24 months.

Ideally, much of the construction process could be done during the summer months and take two years, he noted.

The board agreed to further discuss the project at a future meeting at which time it will consider approving Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates to do the design work.

Superintendent Dr. Timothy Bowers noted that the project will be done independently of the Stevens Primary School project.

The board is considering whether to renovate, raze or close the school and possibly build a new school at the Stevens site.

It was agreed by the board to hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17 to discuss the fate of the school building.

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Yolo County Needs Community Support to Create High Quality Jobs for Our Underserved Residents

Woman sketching a business plan on a placard at a creative office

The EDA specifically discourages form letters. Please follow their suggestions for your Letter of Support or Commitment:

The overall project goal is to deliver a coordinated digital skills pipeline from historically underserved populations across our region to high quality jobs. The strength of this proposal will include the linking together of a vibrant network of community-based organizations, skill building activities and training entities securely attached to employer needs while ensuring access to the community members most in need.

  • Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) sector, crossing key sectors of our regional economy aligned with the regional CEDS Comprehensive Economic Development, the Greater Sacramento Region Prosperity Strategy.
  • Food and Agriculture, Life Sciences and Future Mobility addressing current skills gaps with the development of clear career pathways for high demand quality jobs in ICT our region’s key target industry cluster.Yolo County needs your help creating high quality jobs for underserved residents. We request partners and stakeholders write Letters of Support, and employers provide Letters of Commitment to hire via the Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Good Jobs Challenge funding. Your support will substantially serve Yolo County’s Workforce Innovation Board (WIB) efforts to secure funding from the EDA, creating access to high quality jobs for our underserved populations and enabling local economic opportunities.

New Albany: Sustainability Advisory Board lists three objectives for 2022

Close up of a hands of a businessman on a keyboard.

The New Albany Sustainability Advisory Board, which has been meeting in earnest since November, has come up with three eco-friendly objectives for this year.

First on the list, the nine-member committee soon will come up with specifics on composting stations across the city, where residents may drop off material, said Adrienne Joly, the city’s director of administrative services who facilitates the group but will not vote on recommendations to council.

That will be followed by a commitment to some forms of renewable energy, which have yet to be determined, and development of educational programs on sustainable policies, Joly said.

Board members are Peter Barnes, Steven Conway, Catherine Duffy, Brian Filiatraut, Laura Gallo and Scott Harrold, as well as New Albany High School representative Brigitte Bell and City Council liaison Kasey Kist – both nonvoting members.

New Albany and Plain Township collaborated on a project to collect burned-out holiday lights.

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Portland auditor to give up Independent Police Review, citing poor planning from City Council

Group of six business people in a boardroom meeting. Shot at a distance from outside through the glass.

Portland City Council’s plan to transition to a new police oversight board has been so chaotic, City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero informed the council and the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday that she will force the council to assume control of the Independent Police Review starting July 1.

“We never should have been put in this position,” Hull Caballero told OPB. “(A change to police oversight) was thrown onto a ballot. Council told voters it was ready for their consideration as voters. It was not and they knew it was not. And so now they’re looking at the auditor’s office to say, ‘you clean this up.’”

The city charter requires the auditor’s consent for many of her duties, including overseeing the Independent Police Review.

In her fiscal year 2022-23 budget request submitted last week, Hull Caballero said there is substantial risk IPR employees will leave their jobs before a replacement board approved by voters in November 2020 is operational, forcing the auditor to reassign other staff to the oversight body. Hull Caballero said the city doesn’t have a credible plan to replace those employees, and she is worried about staff shortages in her office.

“I will immediately initiate procedures to move responsibility for IPR’s employees, budget, and operations to Council’s designated agency, effective July 1, 2022,” Hull Caballero wrote in a memo addressed to the Justice Department prosecutors overseeing the settlement agreement, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and the rest of city council

Some form of police oversight is required by the settlement agreement between the city and the U.S. Department of Justice, meaning any changes must be approved by federal prosecutors.

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Zoning board to hear rental dispute

"We are hiring" yellow banner on blue textured background

Residents of Woodlands Drive in the town of Dunkirk who have been opposing the operation of a VRBO in their neighborhood for the last several months could soon be getting their official chance to appeal.

Residents appealing to the Zoning Board is a rarity, at least as far as Dunkirk town Supervisor Richard Purol can tell. In his memory, there has never been one, and part of the delay in getting to this meeting comes with timing and working out procedures.

“I do know that the zoning board had their reorganizational meeting… I think what they’re looking for now is a little legal advice on our side to find out what’s the proper procedure and how we do it.”


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