Families split, children left behind
By JOHN SEEWER
Monday, March 4
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Hundreds of workers at four General Motors plants slated to close by January are facing a painful choice: Take the company’s offer to work at another factory — possibly hundreds of miles away — even if that means leaving behind their families, their homes and everything they’ve built. Or stay and risk losing their high-paying jobs.
The automaker says nearly all of its blue-collar U.S. workers with jobs in jeopardy have work waiting for them. Many from the targeted factories in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland already have voluntarily transferred to plants in the Midwest and South, not wanting to take a chance.
Others are still agonizing over the decision, unsure whether to sell their homes or hang onto hopes that their plants might reopen.
The automaker says the changes announced in November are needed to cut costs and put money into new vehicles. The plant closings still must be negotiated with the union, giving workers a sliver of hope.
A CHESS MATCH
Anthony Sarigianopoulos has put in 25 years at GM’s plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where the last Chevrolet Cruze will roll off the assembly line sometime later this month.
He has two sons in elementary school and an ex-wife he gets along with, and his parents are just down the street in the Youngstown suburb where he grew up.
Sarigianopoulos, who checks and fixes cars at the end of the line, knows he is fortunate to have a shot at a job even if it’s somewhere else — unlike most of the 8,000 white-collar employees GM is laying off and those who are losing jobs at the automaker’s nearby parts suppliers.
But he also doesn’t want to move and miss out on ballgames and school concerts, knowing that his boys will be almost out of high school by the time he retires.
Volunteering to leave now for another plant would also mean he couldn’t come back if Lordstown reopened. But if he is forced to transfer once the plant closes, the option to return would still be open under his union contract.
“That’s part of the chess match,” he said.
So Sarigianopoulos, 48, filled a notebook with charts and graphs outlining the pros and cons of transferring. What he has decided for now — unless he’s forced to transfer — is to stay and hope the plant will get a new vehicle to build.
CAR RIDE AWAY
Andrea Repasky didn’t have much of a choice. Even if it meant saying goodbye to her elderly parents, a niece she loves dearly, her favorite pizza place and her mom’s wedding soup.
She had to keep her job because she is a breast cancer survivor and runs the risk of the disease coming back. “I couldn’t afford to let my health benefits run out,” she said.
So the 42-year-old team leader at the plant volunteered to leave the Youngstown area for a new job in Indiana, allowing her to stay closer to home instead of being shipped to a plant in Tennessee or Texas.
“That was my goal, to be a car ride away if something, God forbid, happened to my family,” she said.
Repasky has been working for just over a month at GM’s truck plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where she shares an apartment with a friend who also transferred there.
While she desperately misses her family and everything about her hometown, she said her decision was easier because she isn’t married and has no children. Some coworkers moved without their children so that the youngsters could stay behind and finish the school year.
“I cry when I think about it,” Repasky said. “How do they explain to their kids that Mommy or Daddy is leaving and they’ll see you on the weekends?”
Tiffany Davis feels the stress of it all both at home and at the lone elementary school in Lordstown where she teaches fifth grade.
The students know they will be saying goodbye to some of their classmates in a few months. That includes three out of the 18 in her class.
“They aren’t the spunky, lighthearted crew they were at the beginning of the year,” said Davis, 35.
She and her husband, who has worked on the GM assembly line 17 years, talk almost every night about what to do next.
“It has taken over our lives, but how couldn’t it?” Davis said. “It’s draining, it’s exhausting. No matter what decision we make, we’re worried it will be the wrong thing.”
The couple decided not to take a transfer for now. But they are selling their house and moving with their two children into her mother-in-law’s attic so they won’t be paying for two homes if they are forced to go. They also canceled a summer vacation and cut out cable TV and pizza nights on Friday.
“We’re uprooting our entire lives right now because we don’t have any answers,” she said. “We know that no matter happens we will have to follow GM.”
THE RIGHT DECISION
Nearly two decades after founding the New Beginnings Outreach Ministries in Youngstown, Ohio, Melvin Trent stood before about 150 members of his church in early February and told them he was leaving.
His wife, an engineer with GM, was being sent to its SUV plant in Arlington, Texas.
“You could hear people crying throughout the congregation. One person said, ‘It feels like when my mother died,’” he said. “For some, I’ve been the only pastor they’ve known.”
His wife already has moved, and he will join her after their son graduates from high school in May. “We’ve never been apart like this,” he said.
Trent, 55, who retired after 35 years with the automaker, said it was a “no-brainer” to accept the relocation but not an easy decision.
“The first thing I did was go to the church, and I cried like a baby because I was leaving something I birthed and something I loved,” he said. “But it was the right decision for our family.”
He added: “I’m leaving not my natural family but my church family.”
Associated Press writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed.
Patrol’s Trooper Pennington promoted to Sergeant at the Delaware Post
MARCH 4, 2019
Columbus – Trooper Corey W. Pennington was promoted to the rank of sergeant today by Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent, during a ceremony at the Patrol’s Training Academy. Sergeant Pennington will transfer from his current assignment at the Jackson District Commercial Enforcement Unit to serve as an assistant post commander at the Delaware Post.
Sergeant Pennington began his Patrol career in September 2003 as a member of the 141st Academy Class. He earned his commission in March of the following year and was assigned to the Chillicothe Post. In 2005, he earned the Ace Award for excellence in auto larceny enforcement. He also earned the Criminal Patrol Award four times. He served at the Marietta, Marysville and Circleville posts, Office of Personal, Professional Standards Unit, Special Operations, Capital Operations and the Jackson District Commercial Enforcement Unit.
Sergeant Pennington earned a Bachelor of Specialized Studies degree in human resources, communications, political science and sociology from Ohio University in 2006.
Patrol’s Sergeant Freeman promoted to Lieutenant at the Dayton Post
Columbus – Sergeant Geoffrey S. Freeman was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on February 17, 2019 and was recognized today by Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent, during a ceremony at the Patrol’s Training Academy. Lieutenant Freeman will transfer from his current assignment at the Delaware Post to serve as commander of the Dayton Post.
Lieutenant Freeman began his Patrol career in February 1999 as a member of the 133rd Academy Class. He earned his commission in July of that year and was assigned to the Marion Post. In 2008, he was selected as Post Trooper of the Year. In 2012, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and transferred to the Bucyrus Post to serve as an assistant post commander. As a sergeant, he also served at the Delaware Post.
Patrol’s Sergeant Neely promoted to Lieutenant in the Office of Personnel
Columbus – Sergeant Dustin D. Neely was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on January 20, 2019 and was recognized today by Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent, during a ceremony at the Patrol’s Training Academy. Lieutenant Neely will transfer from his current assignment in the Office of Criminal Investigations to serve as a commander in the Office of Personnel, Professional Standards Unit.
Lieutenant Neely began his Patrol career in April 2002 as a member of the 139th Academy Class. He earned his commission in October of that year and was assigned to the Mt. Gilead Post. As a trooper, he also served at the Granville Post, Capital Operations and in the Office of Criminal Investigations. In 2015, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and remained in the Office of Criminal Investigations. In 2016, he earned the Colonel Thomas W. Rice Leadership Award.
Lieutenant Neely earned an Associate of Arts degree in sociology in 2001 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology in 2012 from The Ohio State University. He also earned a Master of Business Administration degree in organizational management from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in 2016.
Patrol’s Trooper Boysel promoted to Sergeant in the Office of Criminal Investigations
Columbus – Trooper James A. Boysel was promoted to the rank of sergeant today by Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent, during a ceremony at the Patrol’s Training Academy. Sergeant Boysel will remain in his current assignment in the Office of Criminal Investigations, Investigations.
Sergeant Boysel began his Patrol career in February 2000 as a member of the 135th Academy Class. He earned his commission in September of that year and was assigned to the Piqua Post. As a trooper, he also served at the Piqua District Criminal Investigations and in the Office of Criminal Investigations.
Sergeant Boysel earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in criminal justice from Hocking Technical College in 1999.
Patrol’s Sergeant Welk promoted to Lieutenant in the Office of Logistics and Security Services
Columbus – Sergeant Kristin A. Welk was promoted to the rank of lieutenant today by Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent, during a ceremony at the Patrol’s Training Academy. Lieutenant Welk will transfer from her current assignment in the Office of Logistics and Security Services, Security Services to serve in the Office of Logistics and Security Services, Hub/Watch Desk.
Lieutenant Welk began her Patrol career in May 2004 as a member of the 142nd Academy Class. She earned her commission in November of that year and was assigned to the Dayton Post. As a trooper, she also served in the Office of Personnel, Patrol’s Training Academy and the Executive Protection Unit. In 2013, she was promoted to the rank of sergeant and remained in the Executive Protection Unit. As a sergeant, she also served in the Office of Criminal Investigations and the Office of Logistics and Security Services, Security Services.
Lieutenant Welk earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Ohio Northern University in 2000 and a Master of Science degree in medical science from The Ohio State University in 2003.
Patrol’s Sergeant Mangin promoted to Lieutenant in the Office of Field Operations
Columbus – Sergeant Bryan K. Mangin was promoted to the rank of lieutenant on February 17, 2019 and was recognized today by Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent, during a ceremony at the Patrol’s Training Academy. Lieutenant Mangin will remain in his current assignment in the Office of Field Operations, Special Response Team.
Lieutenant Mangin began his Patrol career in May 2004 as a member of the 142nd Academy Class. He earned his commission in November of that year and was assigned to the Xenia Post. As a trooper, he also served on the Special Response Team. In 2016, he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and remained on the Special Response Team.
Lieutenant Mangin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from Cedarville College in 2002.
Patrol’s Trooper Richardson promoted to Sergeant in the Office of Logistics and Security Services
Columbus – Trooper Brandon J. Richardson was promoted to the rank of sergeant today by Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent, during a ceremony at the Patrol’s Training Academy. Sergeant Richardson will remain in his current assignment in the Office of Logistics and Security Services.
Sergeant Richardson began his Patrol career in March 2006 as a member of the 146th Academy Class. He earned his commission in October of that year and was assigned to the Findlay Post. While assigned to the Wooster Post, he was selected as Post Trooper of the Year four times and District Trooper of the Year in 2013. He earned the Criminal Patrol Award twice. As a trooper, he also served at the Wooster Post, Executive Protection Unit and Security Services.
Sergeant Richardson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Youngstown State University in 2004.
Patrol’s Trooper Ruth promoted to Sergeant in the Office of Criminal Investigations
Columbus – Trooper Matthew A. Ruth was promoted to the rank of sergeant on January 20, 2019 and was recognize today by Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent, during a ceremony at the Patrol’s Training Academy. Sergeant Ruth will transfer from his current assignment at the Columbus District Criminal Patrol Unit to serve in the Office of Criminal Investigations, Criminal Patrol.
Sergeant Ruth began his Patrol career in April 1998 as a cadet dispatcher assigned to the Bucyrus District Headquarters. He began his training as a member of the 134th Academy Class in June 1999. He earned his commission in December of that year and was assigned to the Bucyrus Post. He earned the Criminal Patrol Award seven times. As a trooper, he also served in the Office of Field Operations, and the Bucyrus and Columbus district criminal patrol units.
Sergeant Ruth served in the United States Air National Guard from 1996 to 2006.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is an internationally accredited agency whose mission is to protect life and property, promote traffic safety and provide professional public safety services with respect, compassion, and unbiased professionalism.
Opinion: Accenture’s Spotty Record Imposes Heavy Cost on Taxpayers
By Shawn McCoy
This month, the U.S. government’s public debt, for the first time, surpassed $22 trillion. Despite one of the longest economic expansions in modern history, economists project annual deficits will continue with no end in sight.
While most budget watchdogs say austerity measures will eventually be needed to bring runaway spending under control, many observers say there are common-sense steps that can be taken now to curb wasteful spending. They point to colossal, multinational consulting firms that rake in tens of billions of dollars for services, often failing to deliver adequate value in return.
“The outsourcing of government services to private firms can be more efficient and effective for taxpayers, but consistent oversight and corrective action are vital. Otherwise the government and its contractors just keep repeating the same mistakes,” says Pete Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union.
Sepp points to a number of contracting difficulties, particularly with the Department of Homeland Security. The National Taxpayers Union has advocated for legislation to provide better oversight and transparency of contractors.
“While contractors can and do provide an important role working with the federal government, there is still too much taxpayer money lost to waste and failure,” Sepp said.
Accenture is one of dozens of massive management consulting firms that provide local, state and federal government agencies with critical subject matter expertise and critical scale needed to implement complex public programs. But this know-how comes at a cost, and when the high fees yield empty promises, it’s the taxpayers that are forced to absorb the costs.
Last year, the Office of Inspector General — an independent government watchdog housed within the Department of Homeland Security — released findings of a months’ long investigation into reported performance shortcomings stemming from a $297 million Customs and Border Protection (CBP) contract with Accenture. The jaw-dropping report made national headlines.
Accenture had been hired to identify 7,500 new agents for CBP, but after 10 months and $13.6 million, the consulting firm had managed to recruit only two potential employees, according to the inspector general’s searing report.
The consulting firm secured the contract, in part, by convincing CBP its proprietary technology could greatly reduce the time needed to identify, recruit and vet applicants, but according to the audit, none of those promised technologies ever materialized because Accenture’s software was plagued with “functionality issues, including high error rates and multiple software bugs.”
Worse, the inspector general found that for the better part of a year, Accenture had been systematically shifting its contractual obligations back to CBP. In effect, concluded the inspector general, Accenture was cashing the checks while saddling career government staff with the work.
“The CBP debacle is one of the most incomprehensible cases of consulting malpractice I’ve witnessed in 30 years,” says one management consultant who has done business with the federal agencies. “It causes indiscriminate damage to everyone in the industry — the good players and the bad alike.”
To be sure, Accenture’s top talent — often recruited from Ivy League schools and some of the world’s most successful companies — has helped deliver badly needed improvements and efficiencies to the government sector by solving difficult challenges. Some of the company’s defenders say it is unfair to focus only on its failures, while ignoring its success stories.
Eight years ago, the Justice Department issued a scathing report on abuses by the Seattle Police Department after the department’s Civil Rights Division uncovered a systemic pattern of discriminatory policing and excessive use of force.
SPD turned to Accenture for help. Leveraging data, the consulting firm helped build a state-of-the-art analytics platform that, among other things, provided department leaders with actionable feedback relating to community complaints. The insight-led policing solutions provided by Accenturewere broadly credited for helping restore public trust in the department.
Still, many observers say taxpayers have every right to expect the kind of achievements that occurred in Washington state, given how lucrative consulting agreements are. Last year, Accenture reported $41 billion in revenue.
When Accenture fails to deliver on its contractual obligations, the costs to taxpayers are often measured in hundreds of millions of dollars. Critics say the company’s record of failure is particularly pronounced at the state level, where far too many big-ticket projects have failed to meet expectations.
CALIFORNIA. Later this year, a multi-year, Accenture-led effort to streamline California’s antiquated accounting system is finally expected to be completed, after numerous cost overruns and multiple implementation delays. It’s unclear how much development of FI$CAL will ultimately cost to implement, but everyone agrees the hundreds of millions of dollars already spent on Accenture’s management fees will continue to balloon.
OHIO. Last month, The Columbus Dispatch reported that a multi-year effort to modernize the state’s public benefits program may have actually made the process of applying for aid worse, despite a price tag that is expected to exceed a half-billion dollars. Accenture was hired to consolidate food- and cash-assistance programs under a new processing system, but the Dispatch’s investigation found it resulted in widespread confusion and benefit delays, punctuated by telephone wait-times that routinely extend to 90, even 120 minutes.
TEXAS. A massive technology upgrade dubbed “T2” has racked up more than $200 million in budget overruns, drawing the ire of the state’s previous attorney general, current attorney general and scores of lawmakers. Officials have complained Accenture management routinely assigned under-skilled employees to perform highly complicated tasks, while skipping out on important meetings. More than 165 jobs were offshored to India by Accenture, allowing foreign workers virtually unfettered access to sensitive state records.
Similar horror stories of missed deadlines and avoidable cost overruns have been documented in other states including New York, North Carolina and Oregon.
“This stewardship failure is exactly what gives government contractors such a bad reputation,” said another veteran management consultant. “Rather than protecting taxpayers, the procurement process has created a cottage industry of Beltway Bandits obsessed with winning contracts, and far less concerned with making their client successful.”
ABOUT THE WRITER
Shawn McCoy is the publisher of InsideSources.com.
February 28, 2019
Portman on North Korea: “We Can’t Be Naive About What They Did to Otto”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) delivered remarks on the Senate floor today to honor the life of Ohio native Otto Warmbier and to remind everyone of the North Korean regime’s unnecessary detainment and terrible mistreatment of Warmbier.
In his speech, Portman said, “We can’t be naive about what they did to Otto, about the brutal nature of the regime…”
Transcript can be found below and a video can be found here.
“In the context of the ongoing negotiations with North Korea, there has been a lot of discussion today in the media about Otto Warmbier. Otto Warmbier was a young man from my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. This is an emotional issue for me because through the process of trying to bring Otto home I got to know his family very well.
“He was a young man with a lot of promise. He was 22 years old. A college student at the University of Virginia. He had gone as a tourist to North Korea, and he was pulled out of the line at the airport. Here he was, a kind-hearted, college kid who found himself a prisoner in North Korea. He was there for about 18 months. His detainment and his sentence were appalling and unacceptable by any standards. At some point soon after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, from what we know, Otto suffered a severe brain injury. What happened? We may never know the details. But we do know one thing and that was he was severely mistreated.
“Who did the North Korean government tell about the fact that he had this brain damage? No one. Unbelievably for the next 15 months of his life they kept this a secret. They denied him access to the best medical care he deserved, which, of course, we would have provided. I was in communication with the North Korean government during this time, through their offices at the United Nations in New York. They didn’t even tell us about the terrible mistreatment that he had suffered and the condition he was in. They refused repeated requests for consular access that normally would have been provided to someone who’s been detained, regardless of their health situation. This included denying requests from me and others here in this body, but also from the Obama administration, the Trump administration, the Red Cross, also from the government of Sweden, which typically acts for us in North Korea as a consulate service.
“I say that because while I support engagement with North Korea — in fact my experience with Otto Warmbier makes me even more convinced that we need to be in communication because we had no good lines of communication. I support the ongoing talks with North Korea, specifically about denuclearization. But I want to make clear that we can never forget about Otto. His treatment at the hands of his captors was unforgivable and it tells us a lot about the nature of this regime.
“We can’t be naive about what they did to Otto, about the brutal nature of the regime that would do this to an American citizen, and it’s not just about Otto and other visitors, it’s about how the people in North Korea are treated. Many of them also have had their human rights violated. No one should have to go through what the Warmbier family has gone through. They have been incredibly strong through this whole ordeal. I’ve watched them channel their grief into something constructive, exposing some of the human rights abuses in North Korea.
“Throughout this ordeal, I have stood with Fred and Cindy and their entire family, and I will continue to do so. But I also want to say today as we discuss these broader issues with North Korea, let’s keep Otto Warmbier at the front of our minds. Let’s be sure that he is high on our agenda and in our consciousness as we deal with North Korea and again understanding, because of our experience with Otto, the brutal nature of this regime.”
Students push to rename theater at Bowling Green State
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (AP) — The Black Student Union at an Ohio university is pushing the school’s president to rename a theater honoring an actress who starred in “The Birth of a Nation,” considered one of the most racist movies ever made.
The Toledo Blade reports Bowling Green State University’s Gish Film Theater was named after actresses Dorothy and Lillian Gish 40 years ago.
Lillian Gish starred in the 1915 black-and-white silent film, which served as a tribute to the Ku Klux Klan and helped revive the white supremacist group.
Black Student Union President Kyron Smith says the push to rename the little-used theater comes after its relocation to the student union.
University President Rodney Rogers says a task force of students, faculty and other stakeholders will make a recommendation for an immediate change.
Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/