Submitted by Roldo on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 19:37.

The Commission on Cuyahoga County Government reform’s final report is not worth the paper it was printed. No surprise there.

My reading of the skimpy 10-page report – that includes acknowledgements and structure charts – is that it was a big waste of time.

The committee, set up by the state legislature, was headed by David Abbott, the $305,000 a year director of the Gund Foundation.

The “reform” seeks a county government dominated by one of three elected County Commissioners. This person could only be described as the Boss of Cuyahoga County. The County Commission would remain a three-person body with one running for the chief. Other major elective offices are eliminated.

Nearly all other elected officers – treasurer, auditor, recorder, engineer and others – become departments under the Boss of Cuyahoga County. This takes choices out of the hands of the electorate. I could see combining some of these offices under an elected official.

However, as a single power, the Boss of Cuyahoga County would be the mayor of Cuyahoga County. But unlike the mayor of Cleveland this mayor would have NO legislative body – as poor as City Council may be at times – to watchdog or act as a monitor or countervailing force.

It would be a model dear to Vice President Dick Cheney who doesn’t believe the Senate and House should be anything more than a rubber stamp to President George Bush. You do see what that does.

He or she Boss wouldn’t have to propose. He or she would simply impose.

Now maybe Abbott, who served as Hagan’s County Administrator, thinks his buddy Tim would be a good choice as the Boss. It’s the type of power position that would attract such an egotistical character.

The Plain Dealer earlier this year, indeed, tried to push a reform study headed by Hagan. That didn’t materialize but this one with his buddy in charge has amounted to about the same thing.

Unfortunately, I don’t trust Abbott or Hagan, Abbott was one of the original Gateway Economic Development Board members. As such he sat silent as Gateway had significant overruns and put the County into deep debt. He remained silent as his buddy Hagan helped push through Gateway bond issues that will cost the County over the years some $300 million. (This in addition to the $240 million plus raised via the sin tax). Hagan - despite specific claims he would not - also help lobby state legislation that makes the Cleveland baseball and football stadiums, the basketball arena and every other such facility thereafter constructed in Ohio fully tax exempt. Tax free forever!

Hagan, of course, has helped steer the quarter-percent sales tax increase for 20 years that will raise more than $800 million for the dreamed about medical mart and convention center.
This report doesn’t reform. It merely changes some things.
The members of the committee in addition to Abbott were former Congressman Lou Stokes, vice chair, now with Squire Sanders & Dempsey; Mayors Bruce Akers and Jerry Hruby, both Republicans who voted against the plan; Judy Rawson former mayor of Shaker Heights; former state rep Sally Conway Kilbane; Stanley Miller, head of the NAACP; and Ernest Wilkerson of Wilkerson & Associates, a favored lawyer of Mayor Frank Jackson, and finally Kathleen Barber, former head of the political science department at John Carroll University and the leader of a prior reform plan committee.

Barber presumably was put on the heavily politically ladened body to give it some semblance of legitimacy. She headed a similar reform attempt in the early 1990s, a $241,196, 14-month review of the county government structure that was ignored by county officials.

Indeed, when Barber personally presented her reform report to Hagan, he immediately turned around and put it on the shelf, where it remained. Hagan’s arrogance, it is clear, has few bounds.

I suggest that the voters do the same with this plan.
A link to the Commission and its report can be found here.

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Cuyahoga County REFORM?

It's a done deal ?

What top positions will be assigned to Martin Sweeney and Emily Lipovan??

Did Brent Larkin retire?