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Could county and city be facing a sewer deadlock?

Tana Weingartner

Hamilton County Commissioners are ordering the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) to suspend work until the City of Cincinnati changes a new hiring policy.

The County owns MSD but it's operated by the city.

On Wednesday, commissioners passed a resolution stopping work on all projects affected by the city's policy. The county argues the policy, which requires an apprenticeship program, unfairly excludes many non-union companies from bidding for construction jobs.

Board President Chris Monzel says the county wants it, and another local hiring policy, revised right away.

"We will not be financing any Metropolitan Sewer District projects as long as those illegal procurement policies that were passed by City Council (are) still being followed," he says.

Council members who support the hiring ordinance, however, aren't backing down. Councilman Chris Seelbach says job training is important for building a skilled, local workforce.

During Wednesday's City Council meeting, another council member tried to discuss the county's resolution but the vice-mayor ruled it out of order.

Since attorneys for the city and county say each is in the right, the issue could be headed for a courtroom.