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Published: Thursday, 12/28/2006

Workers' Comp needs an overhaul

The Noe scandal and the loss of $215 million in the hedge fund investment is only the tip of the iceberg.

The Blade's informative articles about poor treatment of injured workers, the influence peddling, corruption, and a complete mismanagement of group rates, only begins to illustrate the problems faced by Ohio small businesses.

There are reasons why Ohio ranks nearly last in the U.S. in retaining existing businesses and attracting new ones to the state. Being one of only four states nationwide that have state-run monopolies for Workers' Compensation is a major factor for Ohio's poor business economy.

States that allow for competition from private insurance companies to co-exist with the state-run bureau of workers' compensation seem to be doing much better, and injured workers seem to get quicker financial help.

If Governor-elect Ted Strickland is serious when he says he will not tolerate kickbacks, corruption, and the atmosphere that political connections often translate into pay-offs, then he has but one solution.

Recognize that the entire system is broke, corrupt, and mismanaged, and throw out the whole Bureau of Workers' Compensation, start over, and open some of it up to the private sector.

Otherwise small businesses have only one solution as well: Move to another state.

RAY STRASSNER

Perrysburg

Our public schools' dysfunctional board

I read with dismay about yet another obstructionist stunt by Robert Torres and Darlene Fisher of the Toledo Board of Education. The creation of an independent Web site and message board by these two is yet another wedge in the ongoing saga of the dysfunctional board these two have created.

As I remember, Ms. Fisher and Mr. Torres ran on a platform of change, yet the only change I have seen is the destruction of morale and continued antagonism of other board members. These two are doing nothing but criticizing and seeking publicity. They are contributing nothing except fostering their own agenda. I hope the people who voted for them will realize what a mistake they made and turn them out in the next election.

In the meantime the legislature has to step up and figure out a way to properly fund our schools without using property taxes.

The educators of our children should not have to go without pay raises for five years. This is disgraceful and would never be tolerated in the private sector. We need to keep our good teachers and we cannot do that with substandard compensation.

MARCIA SIEMENS

Bristol Court

School board shows a lack of teamwork

Two board members continue to create a schism on the Toledo Board of Education. Voters should pay close attention to this blatant disregard for teamwork.

Both Darlene Fisher and Robert Torres waste much of their time trying to agitate the rest of the board when their time should be devoted to the business at hand. Shame on them for such an abuse of power.

Our students, teachers, and principals deserve better than this childish in-fighting and jockeying for one-upmanship. This shows how sane and committed the other three members on the board really are when it comes to making decisions for the school system.

NAN ZAWISZA

Oregon

Has anyone noticed that the oil companies have given their "annual" Christmas gift to the American public? A nice hike in gas prices for the holidays!

Mary E. Matyas

Oregon



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