Task Force LIMA focuses on jobs

First Posted: 2/12/2015

LIMA — Task Force LIMA has “a lot on its plate” as it works on two initiatives to keep jobs at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center.

On Thursday, the task force welcomed three members of the Ohio Federal Military Jobs Commission to its monthly meeting, where discussion centered on a unified approach for keeping jobs at Ohio’s military facilities.

The task force, which is dedicated to keeping the government-owned, contractor-operated tank and military vehicle production facility open, offered the commissioners suggestions on the state-wide strategy and told of successes it has had in the past.

The commission, formed in Sept. 2014 to “protect, serve and grow federal military jobs” in the state, was born out of concern that there would be another BRAC, or defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, said Gary O’Connell, a commissioner.

The most recent BRAC was in 2005, when each Ohio defense facility fought on its own while other states used a more unified approach and had success.

“I think what we’re looking for is the opportunity to … present a united front of Ohio interests,” said Lima Mayor David Berger. “I think only good things can come from that.”

The effort must be sustainable, long-term and bi-partisan, Berger said.

The commission’s visit was one of the last on its journey to speak with several Ohio facilities.

On Friday, the commission will sit down to draft a report of what it’s learned to give to legislators and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

“Hopefully we have an enduring process,” O’Connell said. “Perhaps an office in the state office … [We’ll] look at protecting jobs in the long-term.”

In the meantime, the task force is working on another, more local effort to sustain the facility’s workforce.

That effort is through a $222,000 grant from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment and a $25,000 grant from the Ohio Regional Growth Partnership, said Denny Glenn, project manager for the grant and program.

“We’re not yet sure what specific actions will come from the commission, but in the meantime, we’re proceeding with all actions we had underway,” Berger said. “We have a lot on our plate.”

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