Cuyahoga County Government Reform Initiative (2009)
Issue 5 was defeated.
Issue 6 was approved.
This issue differed from 6 in that it sought to create a 15 member council that would recommend a new government structure for the people to vote on in the next election year. Council members were more in favor of this because it would save their jobs at least in the near term and would also save their salary cuts that would occur if 5 passes.
Shall a County Charter Commission be chosen?
Issue 6 will change the three-commissioner system to an elected county executive and 11 area representatives. The elected executive would have the power to appoint department heads.
A petition was circulated by Cuyahoga County residents in order to place the issue in front of the commissioners for public vote. Residents had until July 13 to submit 45,000 signatures from area registered voters. The initiative followed an FBI investigation alleging contract steering and nepotism in the county government, focusing on Commissioner Jimmy Dimora.
Shall a county charter be adopted providing for an elected county executive, an elected county prosecutor, eleven county council members elected by district, and all other county officers appointed by the county executive whose appointments are subject to the confirmation by council and who shall serve at the pleasure of the county executive?
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones, U.S. Representatives Marcia Fudge and Dennis Kucinich have all spoken out against the reform proposal.
East Cleveland Mayor Eric Brewer said proposal would only lead to corruption because of the high level of power ascertained to the proposed executive position: "You will see a level of political thuggery the likes you have never seen."
A prominent black state senator, Nina Turner, won big with Issue 6 passing. She was almost alone in being the only black Democrat to support this issue. Due to its passing, she has been elevated in the ranks of prominent Democrats in Ohio. What she will do next after her term is expired, run for the new seat she created possibly, is still unclear. What is clear is that those that stand by what they think to be fair and right garner more support from residents after the fact.
- Cuyahoga County residents push for government reform
- Cuyahoga County Commissioners approve ballot measure
- Cleveland.com, "Issues 5 and 6: Experts sort out competing proposals for Cuyahoga County government reform, October 24, 2009
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