Report: Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) meeting, Dec. 11, 2013

This report, which contains observations and selected highlights of a meeting of the WCOG, is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters. Official minutes are prepared by Mayor Summers' office.

Present: Mayors Bobst (Rocky River), Clough (Westlake), Patton (Fairview Park), Summers (Lakewood), Sutherland (Bay Village)

Absent: Mayor Kennedy (North Olmsted)

Also in attendance: Dave Greenspan, District 1 Representative, Cuyahoga County Council; Steve Presley

Guest: Jeff Capretto, Special Agent in Charge (SAIC), Westshore Enforcement Bureau (WEB) Narcotics Task Force

SAIC Capretto presented copies of the WEB Narcotics Task Force's most recent (2012) annual report, detailing prosecuted cases, drug and prescription medication seizures, other activities of the WEB drug unit, and activities of the Westshore Young Leaders, a WEB-sponsored network dedicated to preventing substance abuse "through collaborative problem solving and leadership development."

WEB is attacking the growth of prescription drug abuse on several fronts. Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS) helps identify patients who "doctor shop" to obtain multiple prescriptions. Prescription drug dropboxes have been installed in all WEB police department lobbies, with 1,100 pounds of all types of drugs collected year to date. Pharmacies are alerted when prescription pads are reported stolen. Finally, doctors suspected of pill trafficking are investigated and prosecuted.

Active street drug complaints currently number 35. Heroin use is at an all-time high. Meth Check helps identify sales of over-the-counter medications that contain precursors to methamphetamine.

Prevention education for staff, the public and the Westshore Young Leaders group receives high priority.

Other Topics

WCOG's 2014 budget and dues allocation formula will be finalized in February. In the meantime, the mayors voted a temporary appropriation of 25 percent of the 2013 budget.

Discussion of November's Westshore Fire Investigation Unit proposal was carried over to January. Open questions include when it is appropriate to call in state investigators, how the Unit would interface with the state, overtime implications, an inventory of trained staff, and continuing education and credential requirements. It was noted that the Fairview Park fire chief is retiring.

Mayor Summers will contact November's guest, William Denihan, CEO, Alcohol, Drug Addiction, & Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County, to request a proposal for crisis intervention training for Westshore mayors, directors and social workers.

Councilman Greenspan announced that the county's reverse-911 system is being tested and will be made available at the local level upon successful completion of the tests.

Future Topics

Topics for January include the WEB budget and cost allocation, Fire Investigation Unit, Human Resources consulting and changes due to the Affordable Care Act.

The Westshore Council of Governments was founded in 1971 "to foster cooperation between municipalities in all areas of municipal service." All meetings are open to the public. The next meeting will be Jan. 8, 9:30-11:30 a.m., in the Fairview Park Gemini Center's Birch Room.

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 10:03 AM, 01.07.2014