Monroe commissioner: Kasich needs to step up

CALLING for Ohio Gov. John Kasich “to step up to the plate” regarding those who worked at Ormet, Monroe County Commissioner John Pyles this morning said a meeting is planned Wednesday at noon with several officials related to Workforce Investment and Rapid Response, and a conference call is planned with state officials about funding.

“We need the governor to step up on this issue,” said Pyles who wants some type of facility “so these people will have decent jobs to go to.”

Pyles, who heads the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, said centers will be set up in Monroe County to help the displaced workers and a rapid response will be made to help them. He noted the Monroe County Board of Commissioners would work with Workforce Investment and Rapid Response to make it easy for the workers.

“We will make every effort that we can to help these people transition and possibly train for new jobs,” he emphasized.

He called for the governor to step up on this issue “since he couldn’t step up and help in regard to the PUCO” with reference to the Public Utilities Commission’s decision to lower Ormet’s electric costs from $60 to $50 per megawatt-hour rather than down to $45.89 per megawatt-hour as requested by Ormet. After the PUCO’s decision, it was announced the company would be forced to halt all production.

Pyles received a call from Nick Gatz, the governor’s liaison for Southeastern Ohio, about setting up a meeting Monday afternoon including officials from various government levels to meet with state officials.

Included among the more than 30 persons attending were representatives of several state agencies such as the Governor’s office, Appalachian Partnertship for Economic Growth/Jobs Ohio, Ohio Development Services, Governor’s Office of Appalachia, Ohio Board of Regents, Office of Budget and Management, and Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.

Two persons who had been employed at Ormet were present, and Pyles said the two men had been working Monday and were told about 2 p.m. that they were done.

A state spokesman informed the group that they were there as outreach to the families affected by Ormet’s action and what’s going to be done to help the families during the crisis, Pyles said. He added the spokesman “wanted us to know they’re there for us … and wanted to know what we need.”

Pyles during that session wanted to know Ormet’s position right now in order to know what direction to take.

“Is this permanent?” asked Pyles in regard to the Ormet’s halting of production. The commissioner also questioned if the company would open up in two weeks with another name.

The commissioner said he was told by the state officials that Ormet had not returned any of their telephone calls.

When telling about opening up three centers for training and other jobs, Pyles mentioned having one at the United Steelworkers headquarters in Clarington and the Department of Job and Family Services in Woodsfield. “We’re possibily looking at another one,” he added.

Meeting with commissioners Wednesday at noon will be Rebecca Safko in regard to Workforce Investment and Rapid Response; Jeanette Harter, who heads the Monroe County Department of Job and Family Services; and other DJFS officials.

Pokas can be reached at