Local governments conducting everyday business sometimes cause unintentional health issues for citizens or damage to private property.
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City of Dayton moral obligation claims
2010: 130 claims filed, $85,495.30
2011: 159 claims filed, $85,440.21
2012: 115 claims filed, $223,741.03
Total: 404 claims filed, $394,676.54
Source: City of Dayton
Cleveland’s moral claim commission
Cleveland is believed to be the only city in Ohio that has a moral claim commission, Cleveland and state officials said. The five-member commission meets three times a year and reviews about 100 cases annually. The cases are solely where the city would not be held legally responsible, city law director Barbara Langhenry said.
“The city serves the community, and you certainly want the community to feel a fairness in the process,” she said. “It keeps people’s trust in the government and creates a certain fairness in how the city deals with people.”
The commission approves or denies each claim by majority vote and makes a recommendation to city council. City council approves the claims by ordinance. In 2012, the city paid out $33,354.40 total in moral claims.
“The commission is helpful because it brings five perspectives to an established process,” Langhenry said.
Dayton spokesman Tom Biedenharn said the city has not looked into forming a moral claim commission.