MSD cancels $15,000 30th birthday celebration

Wednesday, May 20, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Metropolitan Sewer District has canceled a $15,000 June celebration of its 30th anniversary, mostly because nobody feels like celebrating.

Director Thomas Quinn quit on April 29, after weeks of revelations of questionable management of the Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD). Several investigations are pending.

The district had planned to go ahead with the celebration because it would otherwise lose $2,700 to the Gregory Centre at Sawyer Point, which had a contract to provide a June 8 luncheon. The Gregory Centre has let the MSD out of the obligation.

A weeklong celebration including a carnival, sewer district tours and watches for employees was to have cost about $15,000, according to MSD records.

Cincinnati City Manager John Shirey had scrapped some of the plans already, but he said he could not cancel the luncheon because of the guaranteed contract with the Gregory Centre, a new Montgomery Inn banquet facility.

Mr. Shirey canceled plans to buy 1,000 pens on a rope, 800 trinket clocks with MSD logos and 50 dress watches with an MSD logo on the face for 30-year employees. The bill for the dress watches would have amounted to $1,819.50.

The event was intended to raise morale at the MSD, Mr. Quinn wrote in a letter to city officials. Shared responsibility for the district, between the city and Hamilton County, makes both governments reluctant to praise its accomplishments, Mr. Quinn wrote.

"Serving the conflicting requirements of the city, the county and the state has resulted in a profoundly depressing work environment in which good employees are discouraged from identifying with their employer and its interests," Mr. Quinn wrote to Francis Wagner, acting finance director for the city.

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