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City of Mansfield v. Richland-Crawford Area #10 Workforce Investment Act Board

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District

September 11, 2006

CITY OF MANSFIELD, OHIO (NEIGHBORHOOD YOUTH CORPS) Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
RICHLAND-CRAWFORD AREA #10 WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT BOARD, et al. Defendants-Appellees

Civil Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 05 CV 651D

For Plaintiff-Appellant: DAVID L. REMY, LAW DIRECTOR.

For Defendants-Appellees: MICHAEL J. MURRAY, NANCY H. MASSIE, ASSISTANT PROSECUTORS & KIMBERLY J. BROWN, BRICKER & ECKLER LLP.

Hon. John W. Wise, P. J. Hon. W. Scott Gwin, J. Hon. Julie A. Edwards, J., JUDGES

OPINION

WISE, P. J.

{¶1} Appellant City of Mansfield (Neighborhood Youth Corps) appeals the decision of the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, which dismissed a declaratory judgment action regarding the provision of youth services pursuant to the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The relevant facts leading to this appeal are as follows.

{¶2} On March 22, 2005, the Richland County Department of Job and Family Services ("RCDJFS") released a "request for proposal" seeking qualified providers of youth services for Richland and Crawford Counties under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. A total of seven providers timely responded to the request for proposal, which was to cover the one-year period from July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006. Among these responding providers were Appellee Mid-Ohio Education Service Center ("MOESC") and Appellant Neighborhood Youth Corps ("NYC").

{¶3} All proposals were reviewed by the Richland-Crawford Youth Council in accordance with the language of the request for proposal. The reviewers, using a ratings score system, gave MOESC a score of 86.7, the highest among the seven providers, followed by NYC, with a score of 81.7. The Youth Council thus recommended to the Area #10 Workforce Investment Act ("WIA") Board that MOESC be awarded the contract for youth services for the one-year period in question. The Youth Council's recommendation was adopted by a unanimous vote of said Area #10 WIA Board, and subsequently by the WIA Board of Governors.

{¶4} Pursuant to the process set forth in the request for proposal, appellant appealed to a two-person RCDJFS designated panel. On June 24, 2005, the panel issued a written finding that the scoring decision and overall processes were fair and equitable. No appeal was taken therefrom to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

{¶5} On June 29, 2005, appellant NYC filed a declaratory judgment action as to the funding award in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, naming as defendants the Area #10 Workforce Investment Act Board, the Area #10 Workforce Investment Act Board of Governors, and RCDJFS. Appellee MOESC was subsequently added as a fourth defendant. In July 2005, RCDJFS and MOESC each filed a motion for summary judgment. On October 3, 2005, the trial court issued a final order granting both motions for summary judgment, based on the court's conclusion that appellant had failed to exhaust its administrative remedies as required under federal law: "The City should have used the administrative procedure provided by the ODJFS pursuant to CFR 667.600 to take its appeal to the State agency and perhaps to the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals." Judgment Entry, October 3, 2005, at 2-3.

{¶6} Appellant filed a notice of appeal on October 31, 2005, and herein raises the following sole Assignment of Error:

{¶7} "I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY GRANTING APPELLEES' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BASED UPON THE CONCLUSION THAT THE CITY OF MANSFIELD HAD FAILED TO EXHAUST ITS ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES."

I.

{¶8} In its sole Assignment of Error, appellant argues the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of appellees on the basis of failure to exhaust ...


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