Public costs of harassment case remain unclear

first_img By admin – January 7, 2018 More than five weeks after city officials say they “resolved” a sexual harassment case involving the city attorney, the city refuses to say whether the legal assistant who filed a federal complaint received taxpayer money as part of the settlement.That leaves the total costs to the public unclear ahead of City Attorney Larry Long’s departure next month.An open records request filed by the Odessa American for records of any payments related to the sexual harassment case is pending, but the city declined to voluntarily disclose the information and plans to fight to withhold it.City spokeswoman Andrea Goodson, citing direction from the city’s outside attorney, said she could not even confirm or deny the existence of a payment.“I have learned a confidentiality agreement was included in the resolution of the sexual harassment complaint against Larry Long. Therefore, the only statement I can give you is ‘the matter has been resolved’.”But open government experts say the city cannot spend public money in secret.“They can’t write a confidentiality agreement just to write themselves out of the public information act,” said Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, a nonprofit promoting open government. “It doesn’t work that way.”Any payment of public funds is clearly public information, while other parts of a settlement may be public too, open government experts said.“Do these officials realize these are taxpayer [dollars] — not their funds?” said Bill Aleshire, an Austin attorney who specializes in open government litigation. “The public has a right to know.”The OA has also requested the cost of paying the city’s outside counsel, Odessa attorney Cal Hendrick, for work related to the sexual harassment case. The city has said it will release that figure after examining records (Hendrick represents the city in other matters, including the ongoing lawsuit filed by the OA in June alleging violations of Texas open meetings law).The legal assistant filed a complaint this summer accusing Long of harassing her in ways such as touching her hair against her will and staring at her. An HR report obtained by the OA corroborated her account and pointed to behavior by Long such as sitting too close to her and calling her pet names.Authors of the report, including HR Director Bonita Hall, who later resigned, noted it was repeated behavior from another sexual harassment case in 2007 that resulted in a month-long unpaid suspension for Long and reforms that went unheeded.But the City Council never disciplined Long as the HR report recommended. Two City Council members who reviewed the July 24 report — District 5 Councilman Filiberto Gonzales and District 3 Councilwoman Barbara Graff — recommended against discipline for Long. The remaining three council members said they were not provided the HR report for months.Hall later resigned. And the legal assistant filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The city anticipated a lawsuit.The OA obtained the HR report in November as the city fought its release. On Dec. 19, the state Attorney General’s office ordered the release of the report. The city complied this week, but has yet to respond to other requests for other records related to the case.Long announced his resignation on Nov. 28. Long said his last day would be Feb. 28, telling reporters he wanted to work through his next birthday for better retirement benefits and because he has work he wanted to continue. The city attorney has denied the allegations and repeatedly declined to discuss them.After Long resigned, the city projected about another $10,800 toward Long’s retirement benefits through the state. Long’s current salary, after the City Council awarded him a 3 percent raise in November, is about $201,500.The legal assistant remained a city employee after filing the complaint and was moved from the City Hall office where Long works. She has not responded to questions for comment after Long’s resignation. Pinterest Pinterest Facebook Public costs of harassment case remain unclear Facebook Local NewsGovernment WhatsApp Twitter Previous articleTEXAS VIEW: Trump plays chicken with ‘DREAMer’ lives, futuresNext articleGUEST VIEW: 2018 – Look in the mirror admin WhatsApp Twitterlast_img read more

RynohLive Named One of ALTA’s ‘Elite Providers’

first_img RynohLive Named One of ALTA’s ‘Elite Providers’ Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Subscribe Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago ALTA American Land Title Association Mortgage Fraud Prevention RynohLive Software Solutions 2014-11-26 Brian Honea The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago RynohLive, a Virginia Beach-based patented financial management and fraud prevention system for title agents, as recently named an Elite Provider by the American Land Title Association (ALTA).ALTA recently created the Elite Provider designation recognize service providers that are committed to offering the title insurance and settlement industry comprehensive benefits. Elite Provider members meet the industry’s highest standards and provide effective solutions for the critical needs of ALTA’s members. RynohLive and New York-based Real Estate Data Shield were the first two firms selected for Elite Provider designation.”We are extremely excited to accept Real Estate Data Shield and RynohLive as Elite Providers,” said Michelle Korsmo, ALTA’s chief executive officer. “As we continue to provide education and training on ALTA’s Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices framework, we must provide a resource of businesses with a proven track record of valuable services and products for our members. I look forward to more companies enrolling in the ALTA Elite Provider program in the future.”RynohLive, which was founded in 2009, exceeds ALTA’s Best Practice Pillar No. 2 requirements, which include electronic verification of reconciliation. RynohLive’s patented software solutions daily conduct an automated three-way reconciliation of escrow accounts as well as an end-to-end audit of those accounts. With real-time monitoring of escrow accounts, RynohLive’s software solutions work around the clock to help clients stay ahead of would-be fraud perpetrators and identify other audit issues in order to minimize exposure to loss.”ALTA’s Elite Provider list is highly selective, and RynohLive is honored to be part of the program,” said Dick Reass, CEO of RynohLive.  “We are the industry standard for escrow and financial management software for the settlement industry, and it is great to have ALTA recognize the work that we do on a daily basis to keep escrow accounts secure.” Tagged with: ALTA American Land Title Association Mortgage Fraud Prevention RynohLive Software Solutions Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Previous: Default Servicing Technologies Hires New VP of Business Development Next: Prudent or Petty: The Government’s Settlement Strategy About Author: Brian Honea November 26, 2014 961 Views Sign up for DS News Daily Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days agocenter_img Home / Featured / RynohLive Named One of ALTA’s ‘Elite Providers’ The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago  Print This Post Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Share Save in Featured, News, Technology Related Articles Is Rise in Forbearance Volume Cause for Concern? 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days agolast_img read more

The Debate Over High-Density Housing

first_img Affordability high density housing Housing Market 2019 SIngle-family 2019-10-30 Mike Albanese Share Save The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago About Author: Mike Albanese The move to higher-density housing and less single-family zoning is taking hold in markets across the nation. Kim Hart, Managing Editor of AXIOS, recently appeared on CNBC to discuss the latest “YIMBY” movement. Hart said San Francisco, California, was “ground zero” for the rising home prices since the Great Recession, as median home prices rose to $1.7 million with prices nearing $1 million in the surrounding Bay Area. “You’re starting to see more and more people say, ‘well, you know what, the answer to this is to increase the supply. To help meet that demand. We have to build more houses and we have to build more units beyond single-family houses,’” Hart said. The pressure, though, is no longer solely on coastal markets, as areas once deemed affordable are seeing home prices rise and affordability become an issue.  A Los Angeles Times report details how California lawmakers successfully passed pieces of legislation over the past several years that have chipped away at single-family zoning. The report says that California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed multiple bills into law this week that allowing property owners to build a backyard home of at least 800-square-feet. The bill would also allow homeowners to convert a garage, office, or space room into living quarters. New legislation would allow for three homes on land previously zoned for single-family.“We’re on the precipice of single-family zoning functionally not existing,” said Ben Metcalf, former Director of the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.Other markets such as Durham, North Carolina; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Oregon have enacted similar laws to allow for higher-density homes. Hart said there is beginning to be a clash between YIMBYs (yes in my backyard) and NIMBYs (not in my backyard), as many YIMBYs are having issues finding affordable places to live and want to enact change. “This constant debate over whether development is good, does it actually lead to gentrification, does it lead to displacement—and then I think the YIMBYs are looking at how can we find ways to decrease that,” she said.  Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago  Print This Post Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago October 30, 2019 1,376 Views Mike Albanese is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville. Previous: What’s at Stake in the Constitutionality CFPB Case Next: Are Loans Originated by GSEs Less Likely to Default? Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days agocenter_img Home / Daily Dose / The Debate Over High-Density Housing Subscribe The Debate Over High-Density Housing Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago in Daily Dose, Featured, Market Studies, News Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Related Articles Tagged with: Affordability high density housing Housing Market 2019 SIngle-familylast_img read more

Ginnie Mae Issues $61B in MBS in June

first_img Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Share Save Chuck Green has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and others covering various industries, including real estate, business and banking, technology, and sports. Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Ginnie Mae Issues $61B in MBS in June The 233,000 homeowners and renters could hardly be faulted for having their hands extended, lured by the $61.33 billion of mortgage-backed securities issued last month for them by Ginnie Mae, it announced today in a report.The issuance breaks out this way: it includes $58.22 billion of Ginnie Mae II MBS and $3.11 billion of Ginnie Mae I MBS, with multifamily housing earmarked for loans totaling $2.87 billion.Ginnie Mae’s total outstanding principal balance rose $2.07 trillion since June 2019.Last month, Ginnie Mae maintained its reign as the housing finance source relied upon by homeowners and renters, said Ginnie Mae Principal EVP Seth Appleton. Its helped more than 231,000 families secure safe and affordable housing, he continued.Appleton said MBS issuance topped $60 billion for the third consecutive month in June.The program “has the capacity and flexibility to align the capital needs of Issuers originating mortgages with investors around the world seeking high-quality assets, while minimizing risks to taxpayers,” he said.Earlier this month, Ginnie Mae announced a pair of temporary borrower relief options—the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) National Emergency Standalone Partial Claim and USDA’s Mortgage Recovery Advance. The goal was to `circumvent lingering doubts and ensure the rate of transactions, according to DS News.The pooling of restriction surrounding eligibility—while extending appropriate and integral buyout transactions, in place already—was implemented by Ginnie Mae to guarantee loan activity with borrowers and the interests of the MBS program.In April, Ginnie Mae set an all-time record, issuing $63.81 of its mortgage-based securities, doling out financing to more than 246,000 homeowners and renters, reported DS News.In May, almost $64 billion in securities, financing housing for more than 246,00 families, was generated by the Ginnie Mae MBS program, said Appleton.“Housing finance is a key component of the nation’s economic well-being. Ginnie Mae’s steadfast in its mission to ensure the safe and consistent flow of money to communities across the United States, while minimizing risks to taxpayers,” he said. About Author: Chuck Green in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Previous: Mark Calabria Applauds Decision to Review Secondary Mortgage Market Next: Pandemic’s Impact on JPMorgan, Wells Fargo Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / Ginnie Mae Issues $61B in MBS in June The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days agocenter_img Subscribe Related Articles The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago July 15, 2020 1,043 Views The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Tagged with: Ginnie Mae Mortgage-Backed Securities Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Ginnie Mae Mortgage-Backed Securities 2020-07-15 Mike Albanese Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago  Print This Post Sign up for DS News Daily Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days agolast_img

Hundreds of Amtrak passengers stalled on rain-swept tracks in Wisconsin

first_imgSpencer Platt/Getty Images(TOMAH, Wis.) — Track flooding has stalled two trains carrying 485 Amtrak passengers through Wisconsin, the railroad said Wednesday.The Empire Builder trains operating daily between Chicago, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle — one with 218 passengers and the other with 267 – are still stuck because freight railroad crews have been unable to repair the trains, the company said in a statement.“Road closures and continuing heavy rain have hampered the initial repair work that freight railroad crews need to perform in order for the track to return to service,” Amtrak said. “Trains will proceed when the temporary track closures end and when it is safe to do so.”Both trains have reportedly been stranded for more than 12 hours, one since about 3 p.m. Tuesday and the other one since late evening,Amtrak has been providing food and beverage service for passengers on both trains and these trains are designed for overnight travel, the company said, adding that there have been no injuriesThis is a developing story. Please check back for updates.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Canada Researches HMS Erebus Wreck

first_imgBack to overview,Home naval-today Canada Researches HMS Erebus Wreck After almost 170 years of searching to understand the fate of English explorer Sir John Franklin’s fabled arctic voyage, a multilateral partnership from public, private and non-profit sectors, led by the Government of Canada, resulted in the finding of one of the two lost Franklin vessels, HMS Erebus, igniting worldwide attention. The combination of state-of-the-art technology with Inuit oral testimony led to the September 2014 discovery of Franklin’s flagship, thus solving one of the world’s greatest archaeological mysteries.In April 2015, the Government of Canada again conducted complementary research projects in Canada’s Arctic as part of the Department of National Defence’s (DND) annual Operation NUNALIVUT. Working in one of the world’s most remote and unforgiving environments, a unique dive expedition was led by Parks Canada to research HMS Erebus from under 2-metres of sea ice. Benefitting from the Arctic expertise of DND’s Joint Task Force (North), Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Navy divers researched the wreck from a temporary camp on the frozen surface of Queen Maud Gulf.This collaborative effort accomplished several key objectives. Most notably the team gathered the information necessary to design future steps in the archæological research of this historic wreck. They also tested an underwater laser for documenting the hull and interior of the wreck; a technology that has the potential to rapidly produce highly accurate, three dimensional recordings under water, saving valuable research time for such a complex site with limited access.As expected, HMS Erebus stands to reveal many artifacts on or around the wreck, each of which will help share the incredible national historic site. During the dive, the largest artifact to be recovered was a 6‑pounder bronze cannon which was laying on the deck of the ship.Royal Navy ship Erebus was outfitted with cannons that would have served to protect the expedition in the event of an unsuspected attack. Other recovered artifacts, including the rectangular deck prisms and the Preston patent and composite Illuminators, illustrate the innovative design technology of the ship. Like the ship’s bell, recovered by the team in 2014, each of these artifacts will undergo a significant conservation process to ensure they are fully stabilized.The Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were designated together in 1992 as a National Historic Site of Canada and in April 2015, the wreck site became officially protected under the National Historic Sites of Canada Order.[mappress mapid=”15983″]Image: Parks Canada View post tag: Wreck View post tag: Researches Canada Researches HMS Erebus Wreck Equipment & technology View post tag: Canada View post tag: HMS Erebuscenter_img View post tag: americas View post tag: Naval View post tag: News by topic Share this article May 15, 2015 View post tag: Navylast_img read more

Pakistan orders two more Type 054A frigates from China

first_img Photo: Photo: Pakistan Navy View post tag: Type 054A Share this article View post tag: Pakistan Navycenter_img The Pakistan Navy has signed a contract with M/s China Shipbuilding Trading Company Ltd (CSTC) for the delivery of an additional two Type 054A frigates.The contract was signed at the Ministry of Defence Production in Rawalpindi with deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Operations), Rear Admiral Faisal Rasul Lodhi in attendance.With this follow-on contract, the Pakistan Navy is set to receive a total of four Type 054A by 2021. All four vessels will be built in China.“The induction of these ships will substantially enhance Pakistan navy’s war fighting capabilities while effectively contributing towards maritime security operations in the region,” the Pakistan Navy said in its statement.Type 054A frigates displace 4,000 tons and are equipped with vertical launch systems (VLS), a 76mm gun, close in weapons systems and torpedo launchers.This is not the first time Pakistan Navy is acquiring equipment and vessels from China. In 2006, Pakistan brought four Type 053H3 frigates and four Azmat-class fast attack craft in 2012.Pakistan’s biggest order from China, however, is the acquisition of eight attack submarines reportedly worth between $4 billion and $5 billion. Four submarines would be built in China and four at Pakistan’s state-owned shipyard in Karachi. View post tag: CSTClast_img read more

Peace During War speakers describe work with toubled youth

first_imgLast night in McKenna Hall, the Dean’s Fellows of the College of Arts and Letters invited three speakers from Kalamazoo, Michigan — Michael Wilder, Yafinceio Harris and Sam Bailey, a professor from Kalamazoo Community College — to speak about the Peace During War project. Peace During War is a group that visits high schools, juvenile homes and prisons to share Wilder’s and Harris’s story about their life of drugs and crime and redemption after prison. Wilder said they hope to change lives by showing young people they can turn their lives around.“We tell our story to the youth so that they don’t make the same mistakes we made and end up in prison like we did,” he said. “Our story ends in good, but a lot of young people that go on that same path don’t end up good; they end up dead, they end up in prison forever.”Wilder and Harris talked about their childhoods and adolescences being surrounded by a culture that did not encourage them to have a life outside of crime. Harris said to have aspirations in that culture was looked down upon.“To try to be positive is a negative in our neighborhood,” he said. “But to be positive around you all, to be positive to your teachers, is a plus to them, and they make you feel glorious and good.”Wilder and Harris said Peace During War has spoken with 3,000 to 4,000 troubled youth in the past three years, visiting all the juvenile homes and alternative high schools in Kalamazoo and has traveled to speak to youth in other parts of the country as well.Wilder said his work with the program has changed his life and allowed him to contribute more to his community, after years of dealing drugs.“Now, I have seven police officers’ personal numbers in my phone, including the narcotics agent that raided my house and caught me with drugs in 2008,” he said. “Now, they call on us for community help. If drug dealers get out of hand, they call Peace During War. If the gang violence gets to an accelerated rate, they call Peace During War. We’re so honored and proud to be a part of that.”Harris said he and Wilder started speaking in schools because they wanted to share their stories, but they did not expect it to become a job for them.“We’re just happy to be here, to change lives,” he said. “We’re just happy to be who we’re becoming”Tags: Dean’s Fellows, juvenile crime, peace during warlast_img read more

SBE Inc holds ceremonial groundbreaking in Barre Town

first_imgSBE Inc (dba SB Electronics) has officially broken ground on its new high‐volume manufacturing facility in Barre Town. Event speakers included Governor Jim Douglas, Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie, Representative Peter Welch, the US Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Cathy Zoi and Susan “Sam” Matthews, Executive Vice President of the Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation.  Earlier in the year, SBE Inc won a matching grant of $9.1 million as the major piece of funding for an $18 million project under the US Department of Energy’s Electrical Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative, part of President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to expand its electric car technology manufacturing.  SBE’s new manufacturing plant facility will be dedicated to the transportation market and will have capacity to produce Power Ring capacitors for over 100,000 plug-in hybrid and electric drive vehicles within 3 years. The 52,800-square-foot building will be a modern, controlled environment, state of the art manufacturing facility.  By strategically planning the production floor layout to mirror the production process, SBE can reduce both wasted time and materials, and maximize efficiency.  Integrating private offices, work stations, conference rooms and a large lunch /training room, the 13,000-square-foot office space has been designed with one core value in mind: “creating an enjoyable workspace for employees.”   SBE expects to begin moving into the new facility in December 2010. SBE Inc is a leading developer and manufacturer of film capacitor solutions that provide a much higher degree of reliability, higher power density, and simpler cooling infrastructure, in demanding applications, particularly for automotive/transportation, alternative energy, utilities, power supplies/laser and military/aerospace.  Originally a Sprague Electric Plant, SBE has been manufacturing capacitors for over 50 years producing over a billion capacitors, including the renowned Orange Drop®. The Company’s headquarters, engineering and product development center, and manufacturing operation are located in Barre, Vermont.  For more information on the company’s products, technologies and markets, visit its website at: is external). Photos: Top. Ed Sawyer, president and CEO of SBE; Bob Lord Jr, contractor for the project (and investor in the project); Cathy Zoi, US Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; Representative Peter Welch; Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie; Governor Jim Douglas. Bottom. Representative Peter Welsh, Ltd. Governor Brian Dubie, Win Hunter (SBE board member), Stan Fishkin (SBE board chairman), Cathy Zoi, Governor Jim Douglas, Mark Browning (SBE board member), Ed Sawyer, Dick Green (SBE board member) and Bob Lord.Source: SBE Inc 4.20.2010last_img read more