By MAX FILBY
Findlay City Council’s Appropriations Committee recommended Tuesday that the city contribute $30,000 to the “Raise The Bar” workforce initiative.
The city has been asked to provide $30,000 a year for five years to help establish a workforce coordinator’s office, which will help provide qualified workers for area employers.
The full City Council will get the final say on the contribution.
At-Large Councilman Grant Russel, 3rd Ward Councilman Ron Monday and 4th Ward Councilman Tom Klein all voted in favor of the contribution Tuesday. At-Large Councilman Jeff Wobser was the only committee member to vote against the funding, and 5th Ward Councilman John Harrington was absent.
Wobser said he voted against the recommendation because of the “firm stance” he’s taken against funding nonprofits during his time on council.
While the city was asked to contribute $30,000, the University of Findlay is offering office space and support as more of an “in-kind” donation. Wobser suggested the city has already contributed enough in a similar fashion.
“I believe the city has already given enough in kind,” Wobser said after the meeting. “I don’t believe we need to give money as well.”
Wobser and 1st Ward Councilwoman Holly Frische have questioned what part of Raise The Bar the city’s money would be going to, and were told it would help fund more long-term goals that officials want to achieve through education.
Frische is not a member of the Appropriations Committee but has taken a hard stance against funding nonprofits.
She was against a proposal in 2014 for the city to give some of its hotel/motel tax revenue to nonprofits, and she questioned a request for the city to contribute money toward the new Miracle Park.
Councilman Russel and city Auditor Jim Staschiak also questioned Tuesday how the results of Raise The Bar would be measured.
In the short term, success would be gauged by the ability to fill at least 962 open jobs in Findlay, said Dan Sheaffer, director of Hancock HIRES (Helping Individuals Reach Employment Stability).
Randy Van Dyne, an assistant vice president at the University of Findlay and a former councilman, criticized members of the Appropriations Committee for “nitpicking” Tuesday with their questions and comments about where exactly the city money would go.
“Everyone else in the community is in except you,” Van Dyne said.