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Cuyahoga County, Ohio

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Budget
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Administrative Officials Y
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Transparency grading process

Cuyahoga County, Ohio is one of eighty-eight counties in Ohio. It is the most populous county in Ohio, the 2010 census reported the population at 1,280,122. The county seat is Cleveland, Ohio and covers the metropolitan area and portions of northeast Ohio. The county is named after the Native American word (possibly Algonquian), which means “crooked river.”[1]

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of Ohio county websites

This site was evaluated in Feb. 2012.

The good

  • Council meetings and agendas are published. Additionally, meetings are available for viewing online.[2]
  • Elected Councilmembers information is published, including contact phone numbers and email addresses.[3]
  • Administrative officials are published, including election information.[4]
  • Audits and Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports are available.[5]
  • Extensive budget information is available.[6]
  • Permits and Licensing information is available and includes vendor applications.[7]
  • Contracts and purchase receipts are published.[8]
  • Journal of the Board of Control monitors contracts and agreements made by the County Executive staff and Council Members. All meetings are open to the public.[9]
  • News and press release archives is published and up-to-date.[10]
  • Ethics ordinance is published.[11]
  • Online services easy to use, relevant, and complete.
  • Complete listing of departments and who is in charge of them.[12]
  • The names and contact information for all county commissioners is provided.[13]
  • County commissioner meeting agendas and minutes are published.[14]
  • Information on public records policy is provided.[15] No forms or contact information is provided.
  • Tax rate information is provided.[16]

The bad

  • No FOIA information.
  • No disclosure of if they do or do not belong to a lobbying association.

Elected Officials: Council Members

One councilmember is elected for every district (11 districts total). Six members are elected to four-year terms and five members to two-year terms. Beginning with the 2012 election, all councilmembers will serve four-year terms. Terms begin January 1 following their election.[17]

Name District
Ellen Connally President, District 9
Sunny Simon Vice President, District 11
Dave Greenspan Member, District 1
Dale Miller Member, District 2
Dan Brady Member, District 3
Chuck Germana Member, District 4
Michael Gallagher Member, District 5
Jack Schron Member, District 6
Yvonne Conwell Member, District 7
Pernel Jones, Jr. Member, District 8
Julian Rogers Member, District 10

Note that District 9 is unlisted.

Administrative Officials

The County Executive appoints officers, subject to confirmation by Council.[18]

Name Title
Ed Fitzgerald County Executive
Mark Parks (Interim) Fiscal Officer
Dr. Thomas Gilson Deputy Chief Medical Examiner
Gerald Fuerst Clerk of Courts
Bonita G. Teeuwen Director of Public Works
Gregory Clifford Law Director
Richard Sensenbrenner Treasurer
Bob Reid Sheriff

Budget

The total operating budget for Cuyahoga County in 2011 is $1.280 billion. Primary revenue comes from intergovernmental sources (32 percent), property taxes (26 percent), and sales and use taxes (16 percent). Primary expenditures include social services (41 percent) and judicial expenses (25 percent).[19] Total budget reductions in 2011 total $32, 440, 891 as a result of anticipated revenue loss from property taxes and uncertainty regarding economic recovery. Additionally, Quarterly reports are available.

Local taxes

A thorough resource is available with information regarding county taxes, including hotel/motel taxes, estate taxes, and property taxes. These resources include FAQs, forms, and collections information.[20]

Cuyahoga County In the News

  • On September 1, 2011 the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner ruled that the death of Howard Hammon, tased by the police during a physical altercation, is a homicide. The ME did also report that Hammon’s obesity and cardiac hypertrophy also contributed to his death. Middleburg Police Chief John Maddox said it appeared that officers followed departmental policy during the incident.[21]
  • Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald plans to seek a Department of Justice review of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted regarding the use of absentee ballots. Husted said that he planned to ban county officials from mailing unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters leading up to elections.[22]
  • FBI released to the public the recordings used by federal prosecutors to convict former Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty of 10 counts of lying to the FBI during their corruption investigation.[23]

Government transparency

Shortly after pledging greater government transparency, six members-elect of the Cuyahog County Council has a closed meeting to decide who will serve at the council president.[24]

Medical Mart records

In April of 2009 the local newspaper, The Plain Dealer, and resident Brian Bardwell filed FOIA requests to obtain drafts for a development called Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. The county refused and the newspaper and Bardwell then threatened a lawsuit if the drats were not handed over.[25]

The proposed property would be a taxpayer-funded medical mart project which has been discussed by the county commissioners for the past year. The development agreement would push $425 million of taxpayer money into the construction of the medical mart and an accompanying convention center, though the deal was never presented to residents.[25]

Audit findings

State Auditor Mary Taylor and her office released their performance audit of the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Office in August of 2010. The audit was 80 pages long and made 12 recommendations, which would save the county $2.298 million dollars annually.[26] The audit looked at staff, salaries, structure, productivity and management practices, etc., and found annual cost savings of $1,885,000 and annual cost avoidances of $404,000.[26]

Lobbying

Main article: Ohio government sector lobbying

Cuyahoga County spent $170,000 on lobbying the federal government the first two quarters of 2010.[27]


References


External links

References