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Adelphia will not attend council meeting

Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary asked representatives for Adelphia Communications to attend tonight's city council meeting, but was told Thursday that the supervisors were out of town and would be unable to attend this week.

Earlier this month, Council asked Cleary to arrange for Adelphia executives to come and explain some recent changes.

The latest complaints stem from the cancellation of Ohio Public Television that was part of Wednesday's channel realignment, yet another in a series of concerns citizens have aired about the city's cable television service.

In May, Adelphia began substituting WBNS, channel 10, out of Columbus, with C-Span to avoid duplicating programming with WOWK Channel 13 out of Huntington, W.Va. In February, residents protested against Adelphia's plans to add adult channels to the city's cable lineup. The pay-per-view channels were added to digital service anyway.

In June, Adelphia executives announced the company would raise its subscription rates for the second time within a year.

Councilman Richard Price asked if Adelphia's Area Manager Steve Trippe and his supervisor could come to the next meeting. Trippe did not return calls made by The Ironton Tribune Wednesday.

Economic Development Director Matt Ward has continued discussions with Armstrong Cable Company about the possibility of switching providers when Adelphia's contract expires in 2006, Cleary said.

However, at this point, Armstrong has indicated that it is too soon to start serious talks, Cleary said.

Other business on the council agenda includes voting on a proposed contract for the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 532.

The new contract is essentially the same as contracts given to police officers and other city employees. It includes 5-percent pay increases for the firefighters, who have been working under an extension since the end of April.

Council will also vote on a resolution thanking water plant superintendent Jennifer Donahue for her 7 years of service.

Donahue, a class 4 certified superintendent, worked her last day Aug. 1 and left the city because her husband was transferred to Virginia.

John Schwab, former facilities manager for the city, is now the full-time class 3 water filtration plant superintendent.

To meet Ohio Environmental Protection Agency requirements mandating a class 4 superintendent, Cleary also hired Mark White of Wheelersburg on Aug. 19.

The primary difference between class 3 and 4 certifications are that class 4 licenses require supervisor experience, writing requirements and state certifications.

Though Schwab will oversee the daily operations, White will work on an interim basis for a minimum of eight hours a week. His contract expires on Dec. 31, and he may be hired full-time in January after a review, Cleary said.

White has 17 years of experience in the water field and is currently the assistant director of water in Portsmouth, whose facility serves 44,000 customers.

"He is a hands-on class 4 superintendent that has the experience to troubleshoot, do the paperwork and handle upgrades," Cleary said.

"He is also fairly familiar with our plant."