Residents, Business Leaders Ask Ohio Senate to Preserve Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission; Testimony Casts Doubt on Kasich Administration Plan

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Tim Williams, Ohio Manufactured Homes Association
Mobile 614-905-7852
Office 614-799-2340
TWilliams@omha-usa.org

Residents, Business Leaders Ask Ohio Senate to Preserve Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission; Testimony Casts Doubt on Kasich Administration Plan

 COLUMBUS, OH (May 18, 2017) – Leaders of a statewide group of manufactured home residents and the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association today urged State Senators to keep the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission (“Commission”) and called into question statements Governor John Kasich and members of his Administration have made regarding their proposal to abandon the agency.

The Governor’s Executive Budget legislation included a provision seeking to eliminate the independent safety agency and move its duties into the Department of Commerce, a plan the Commission’s Vice-Chairman argues is flawed.

“Burying the regulation of the manufactured homes program in a bureaucracy is ill advised,” said Evan Atkinson, a retailer of manufactured homes and the Commission’s Vice-Chairman, to members of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on General Government and Agency Review.

“The Administration has exhibited a lack of understanding regarding the comprehensive nature of manufactured homes regulation throughout these legislative deliberations,” Atkinson added.

Earlier this month the Ohio House of Representatives agreed with Commission advocates, voting to maintain the Commission. The Senate is now hearing the proposal.

Frank Pojman, President of the Association of Manufactured Home Residents in Ohio, once opposed creating the Commission, but a decade later, now supports keeping it focused on its safety and inspection mission, separate from the Administration’s control.

“Then I did not understand how it could help the residents of Ohio,” Pojman testified. “But after all these years of experience with the Commission we obtain quick and reliable service for our residents, especially involving home safety and park living,” he said.

Pojman said Governor Kasich’s blanket negative statements about the quality and safety of manufactured homes “are demeaning and disrespectful,” reminding the Senate Committee that nearly a million Ohio residents live in a manufactured home. Pojman said he thinks the Governor “has been misled” by the state agencies that want to assume the Commission’s duties.

Another member of the residents’ association and former resident appointee to the Commission, James Demitrus, told the Senate committee that the Commission today inspects “100 percent of home installations,” noting the Commission’s requirement that every home be inspected “was a revolution in the industry.” Demitrus said the Commission was the residents’ “best hope” of ensuring that they can live in communities that are safe and well-maintained.

Tim Williams, Executive Director of the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association, said the Kasich Administration’s statements about the fire safety of the homes were not supported by the facts.

Williams called it “a misguided narrative” that ignores a 2013 study by the National Fire Protection Association (“NFPA”), which found that the federal building and fire safety code imposed today on manufactured home construction is more stringent than the fire code for other residential homes built on-site. He further noted the NFPA study demonstrated manufactured homes experience 38 percent fewer fires and lower civilian fire injury rates (per 100,000 people) when compared to site-built homes.

“As a businessman I know only too well that most government bureaucracies are typically slow to react, lean toward over regulation and ever escalating costs,” Atkinson said.

“There is no good reason to meddle with a process that has been doing its job for the past ten years,” added Williams.

 

The Ohio Manufactured Homes Association is a not for profit organization, comprised of 500 manufactured home businesses. OMHA’s strategic vision strives to make manufactured homes a standard way of life in Ohio.

 

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