Ohio architects are asking the Ohio Supreme Court to prevent local hiring preferences, according to AIA Ohio Executive Vice President, David Field. On June 29, 2018, AIA Ohio filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief with the Ohio Supreme Court in support of the State of Ohio, to prevent local residency quota requirements in public works construction.
Field said, “the 131st General Assembly passed House Bill 180 in 2016 to enact current R.C. 9.75 prohibiting residency requirements for construction employment.”
That section provides that “No public authority shall require a contractor, as part of a prequalification process or for the construction of a specific public improvement or the provision of professional design services for that public improvement, to employ as laborers a certain number or percentage of individuals who reside within the defined geographic area or service area of the public authority.”
The City of Cleveland Ordinance Chapter 188 nevertheless remained on the books, requiring that a minimum of 20 percent of the total construction work hours be performed by Cleveland residents, and that no fewer than 4 percent of those resident work hours be performed by low-income persons.
Cleveland sued the State of Ohio, claiming that its Ordinance prevailed over the state prohibition. The Eighth District Court of Appeals (Cuyahoga County) found the state statute unconstitutional, violating Constitutional “Home Rule” which authorizes cities to pass certain laws in conflict with state statute.
Noting that Cincinnati, Columbus, and Akron also enacted similar residency requirements, the appellate Court ruled that, “It is readily apparent that R.C. 9.75 is no more than an attempt to preempt powers of local self-government and to restrict the contract terms between public authorities and contractors who choose to bid on local public improvement contracts.”
The State of Ohio appealed, and the Ohio Supreme Court awaits briefing from the parties before hearing arguments and deciding the fate of the statute.
Field says, “AIA Ohio has called to the Supreme Court’s attention the fact that the legislature also enacted its legislative intent to protect design professionals in the statute.” As expressed by HB 180 Sponsor, Representative Ron Maag (62nd House District, Warren County), on October 21, 2015, “The purpose of this legislation is to protect taxpayer dollars by prohibiting the state and local governments from imposing residency requirements on contractors and design professionals.”
AIA Ohio’s brief and the briefing of the other parties are available on the Supreme Court’s website at: https://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Clerk/ecms/#/search
Case No. 2018-0097
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It seems like just a short time ago that I began my tenure as Executive Director of the Ohio Architects Board. In reality, it’s been fourteen years since I left the position of Executive Director of AIA Columbus for the Board…
Looking back on my twenty plus years of service to the profession, some of the significant accomplishments during my tenure with the state of Ohio are:
- Creation of the fee reimbursement program for the Architectural Experience Program (AXP, formerly IDP). The state reimburses students for the $100 NCARB AXP enrollment fee as they begin the path to licensure.
- Allowing the use of the titles, “Intern Architect” and “Architectural Intern”.
- Creation of the Emeritus Architect category.
- Implementation of the mandatory Continuing Education requirement.
- Changing the name of the Board to Ohio Architects Board from the Ohio Board Examiners of Architects.
- Helping to conceive the pilot program for the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensing (IPAL), allowing students enrolled in participating accredited degree programs the opportunity to take the ARE before graduation, thus shortening the path to licensure without diminishing the rigor of the licensing process. In Ohio, the University of Cincinnati is participating in the IPAL pilot program.
- Creation of rules allowing for the use of electronic seals and signatures.
Despite these accomplishments, it is the people I will miss the most: the wonderful members and staff of the Ohio Architects Board, AIA Ohio and its components, NCARB, and all of the licensees and candidates! I have made many enduring friendships these past 21 years. My last day with the Board is June 30; a successor has not been announced. Thank you for the honor of serving the profession!
Amy Kobe, Hon. AIA
AIA Fellowship Recognizes Significant Contributions to the Profession of Architecture and Society
The 2018 Jury of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects elevated five AIA Ohio members to its prestigious College of Fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession. This year 152 AIA members were elevated and will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture in New York City. The Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Out of a total AIA membership of over 91,000, less than 4 percent are distinguished with this honor. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.
Participation on the AIA Ohio Board provides a unique opportunity to connect with architects in leadership positions across the country. Most recently, the AIA Grassroots event in San Diego provided such a platform to listen to, and share ideas with, architects who are making a difference in their cities by helping to guide social, environmental, and economic policy. A clear theme was the need for architects to “find a seat at the local table” as a way of exerting influence. As design thinkers, we are well equipped to help solve these types of complex civic problems; we just need to make it happen. In Ohio, we should all think about how we might personally join these conversations, or how we might better encourage our staffs to do so. In the words of Grassroots speaker and former California mayor Liz Gibbons, AIA, “if you aren’t at the table, you’re on the table.”
In Ohio, we’re taking our Board meetings on the road this year. In March, we met at Bowling Green’s new facility for the Department of Architecture & Environmental Design. AIAS Presidents from Ohio’s five Schools of Architecture joined the meeting and discussed what’s happening at their respective school, how millennial architects see their futures, and the role AIA Ohio might play to better connect with this group. A priority for our future architects–something I hear over and over and that was the topic of an Emerging Professionals event in Cincinnati just recently–is the desire to make a difference in the world, to practice an architecture that is relevant. All of which bodes well for our professional future. Following the meeting, the Board spoke with BGSU Architecture students on these same topics – offering a lively and hopefully valuable session. A big thanks to BGSU for hosting, and to the AIAS student leaders from around the state for taking the time to join us.
In May, NBBJ hosted our Board meeting in Columbus. By moving our meetings out into the architectural community, this should not only provide an opportunity to learn more about our Ohio firms but also make the activities of our Board more visible. A focus for our May meeting was how we promote architects and architecture to our membership but also to the public. Newly retained consultant MJ2 Marketing attended and engaged the Board in discussions about how we might improve our PR/marketing efforts, and how we might better align these efforts at local, state, and national levels. Stay tuned!
John Weigand, AIA
As technology evolves at an exponential rate and end-user demands continue to change with the times, the architectural industry naturally responds by providing innovative design year after year. Watch for these emerging design trends to transform our communities in the coming year.
Are you especially proud of one of the projects your firm designed last year? AIA Ohio is now seeking entries for the 2018 AIA Ohio Design Awards. read more…
The Senate Oversight and Reform Committee took testimony April 11 on SB255 which would require standing committees of the General Assembly to periodically review occupational licensing boards regarding their sunset, and to require the Legislative Service Commission to perform assessments of occupational licensing bills and state regulation of occupations.
AIA Ohio is working with interested parties on an amendment to the bill that would emphasize the level of national licensure and the substantial equivalency of the license. Sen. McColley has indicated he might accept such an amendment to section 101.63(c)(6).
During the Committee hearing, Joseph Warino, representing the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE), testified as an opponent to the bill. He said the bill would “threaten licensing of engineers in the state.
“Adopting a policy of ‘least restrictive regulation’ guidelines for registration could only serve to reduce the knowledge and experience necessary, resulting in substandard qualified engineers to preserve the health and safety of Ohio’s residents.”
Warino added, “The practice of professional licensure has worked well over many years and it should remain in place.”
Also testifying on the bill as an interested party was David Pritchard of the American Society of Civil Engineers, who said the current system of licensure within Ohio is working well and has since 1933.
The committee also received written testimony from Wade Baer of the Ohio Auctioneers Association and Keith Kerns of the Ohio Optometric Association.
The Tax Expenditure Review Committee that eventually will concern itself with Ohio’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit held its first meeting April 11 with an examination of $4.03 billion in forfeited tax revenues, the lion’s share consumed by the sales and use tax exemption on tangible personal property whose buyers manufacture other tangible personal property for sale.
Sen. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton), chairman of the committee, checked off the first three items on the agenda with no testimony: sales to churches and certain other nonprofit organizations, with state revenue losses estimated at $600.1 million and county and transit authority losses at $147 million in FY18; sales by churches and certain types of nonprofit organizations, with state losses of $45.7 million and county and transit authority losses of $11.2 million in the current fiscal year; and sales to the state, any of its political subdivisions and to certain other states, with state losses of $122.9 million and county and transit authority losses of $30.1 million in FY18.
The tangible personal property (TPP) item — with estimated state losses of $2.21 billion and county and transit authority losses of $541.6 million in FY18 — drew testimony from five witnesses.
Senior Project Director Wendy Patton of Policy Matters Ohio presented testimony on tax expenditures as a whole, urging members to take a harder look at the exemptions they review. “HB9 outlined specific criteria for the committee to consider in deciding whether each expenditure should be continued, repealed, modified or scheduled for further review.”
“In conducting your review, the committee should look into more detailed questions ,” said Patton. “For instance, in examining whether a tax break ‘promotes or would promote growth or retention of high-wage jobs in the state,’ one of the factors permitted under the law, the committee should request data on wage levels for employees at recipient companies, and whether they are paid enough that they and the family members do not need public benefits such as Medicaid and food aid. In considering possible modifications, the committee should consider whether guard rails should be added to ensure that recipients are paying taxes, complying with state laws and providing information that allows for appropriate review of the tax break.”
Patton broadened her focus to address the larger impact of tax expenditures relative to tax reductions.
“The state has cut funding for libraries and local governments and underfunded early childhood education, public transit and other services relative to need. Yet tax expenditures — which have every bit as much impact on the state budget — have continued to grow and proliferate. Beyond a review of specific tax expenditures, the Tax Expenditure Review Committee should look to cut back on tax breaks,” she said. “As the tax counsel to the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association told the 2020 Tax Policy Commission two years ago, ‘To preserve the integrity of the broad tax base and ensure fairness, credits and exemptions should be reduced and discouraged.'”
Responding to Patton the LSC economist was asked for examples of expenditures created with related metrics. LSC staff responded that the commission would have to research the question for “specific goals” linked to certain expenditures that might be subject to some form of measurement.
The House Civil Service Committee took testimony April 12 regarding HB554 that would regulate the use of indemnity provisions in professional design contracts related to public improvements.
Rep. Seitz provided sponsor testimony on the bill, which he said would clarify the indemnity provisions in contracts entered into by professional design firms.
“The fundamental purpose of this bill is fairness. Right now, design professionals are being asked to defend public entities against third party claims before there is a determination that the design professional has committed error. The costs of such defense can be staggering and are beyond the control of the design professional. Just like the presumption of innocence, a design professional should not be presumed responsible for a cost without a determination of wrong-doing,” Seitz said.
“Moreover, this bill is entirely necessary in order to prevent the use of overbroad indemnity clauses to end-run our hard-won tort reform statutes that created a statute of repose,” he continued. “Under today’s law, an architect or engineer is not liable in tort for negligence for more than 10 years after completion of the public improvement. We made this decision — and it has been upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court — to make clear that injuries occurring later than that are due to defective maintenance, not defective design. However, when local governments use overbroad indemnity clauses, they resurrect the architect-engineer’s liability beyond the 10-year statute of repose as a matter of contract law, thus frustrating the public policy of our state.”
AIA Ohio is going big and bold in 2018, starting with a focus on getting more active and involved with our communities through our social networks. We have always been an active voice for the profession and served as the authoritative source for information on the built environment, and now we’re ramping up our social and content marketing to match.