Edward Fitzgerald candidate for County Executive, Democrat
If elected County Executive, what would top the list of things that you'd hope to accomplish during your term in office?
I plan to clean up the corruption and restore confidence in county government—the FBI can and will only take care of a piece of this—the highest ethical standards must be set and met among all county employees and departments. Second, I will work to build on the strengths of our county to retain and attract jobs; third, as we redesign county government, I will ensure that the stellar health and human services currently provided through the county continue, even as government systems and departments consolidate; finally, it is clear that safety and security are a paramount concern and the county can and should player a larger role in ensuring the safety of all of our neighborhoods.
What approach would you take to working with the new County Council to keep lines of communication open in order to achieve consensus on major county wide objectives?
I will use the same approach I have used in Lakewood; I will work with the council members, share information in a transparent fashion and share credit for accomplishments.
How will Cuyahoga County voters know if the new government structure is working as envisioned?
This is a complicated question due to the fact that many voters do not fully understand the new structure—I speak with voters constantly whose primary questions surround the mechanics of the new structure. Fundamentally, though, I believe the mandate was for an ethical, efficient system. Voters will be able to judge that based on the high quality of human services being maintained while the government operates with a high level of transparency and seizes opportunities for job growth.
Do you believe the new structure has the potential to spark economic growth and job creation in Northeast Ohio?
The new structure can spark economic growth by being able to articulate a clear strategy which can be embraced in the region. I have long been a proponent of a county executive form of government in order for those interested in economic development to have one person and place to speak with when looking to invest or grow. While there will still be others involved—municipalities, the state, etc.—this will greatly enhance the role the county can and will play in such efforts.
Do you see a need for further "tinkering" with the County Charter to improve prospects for a successful transition?
The strongest points were in [the charter amendment’s] consolidation of much of county government into a more functional structure. I disagreed with the process in which the charter was developed because it lacked transparency; I believe it was a mistake to consolidate all of the budgeting and financial authority.
I believe we need to address these items. I also think it is likely we will discover other items to be improved once the system is in place and that it might be helpful to have some at-large members of the county council.
To learn more about this candidate visit www.edfitzgerald.org .