University Heights City Council meeting highlights 1-16-2018

JANUARY 16, 2018

  • Cuyahoga County council member
  • Swenson’s
  • IT improvements
  • City Hall improvements
  • Housing ordinance review
  • GPD Group agreement renewal
  • Street sweeper replaced
  • Law director re-appointed
  • New prosecutor sworn in
  • Interim fire chief’s civil service rank restored
  • City receives energy-saving grant
  • Police Department receives award
  • Water main and valve leaks
  • YouTube page
  • Bellefaire renovations

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and council members Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, Pamela Cameron, Philip Ertel, Steven Sims, and Mark Wiseman. Council members John Rach and Michele Weiss were absent. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director William Sheehan, and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 9:06 p.m.

Cuyahoga County council member

Mayor Brennan introduced newly appointed Cuyahoga Councilman Michael Houser. Mr. Houser looks forward to continuing the relationship former Councilman Anthony Hairston had with the UH council, and is interested in learning about the city’s plans for University Square.


The mayor reported that while Swenson’s is thriving, nearby residents have lingering concerns about traffic and noise. The city will host a meeting with Beachwood’s mayor on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. to address [those concerns]. Building Commissioner James McReynolds noted that the drive-in, which had its grand opening on January 18, is operating under a temporary occupancy until its landscaping is completed in early spring.

IT improvements

In late December, the city lost e-mail capacity and had to remove and replace a firewall. Most departments are without designated servers, and the phone system is more than 20 years old. The mayor is working with the finance department to solicit bids so that the city can purchase servers and update its phone system.

University Heights City Hall improvements

The mayor expressed concern that, without improvements, the city is ill-equipped to attract female firefighters, police officers, and people with disabilities. He noted that the fire department doesn’t have a locker room for women, and the locker room in the police department is in the police garage. Because University Heights City Hall lacks an elevator, people with disabilities must use an antiquated chair lift. The city is creating a citizen committee that will address the best ways to improve city hall.

Housing ordinance review

Council approved a moratorium on an ordinance, effective through May 31, that prohibits three or more unrelated people from living together. The moratorium will allow the city to consult residents and landlords about how to best enforce the ordinance. McConville noted that any existing violations will be unaffected by the moratorium, and conduct that violates the ordinance will be enforced after the moratorium is over. Prosecutor and Assistant Law Director Michael Astrab suggested that landlords be notified by mail as soon as possible.

GPD Group agreement renewal

Council authorized the renewal of its annual agreement with City Engineer Joseph Ciuni’s GPD Group, on first reading. The group’s agreement has been renewed on a yearly basis since 1976.

Street sweeper replaced

Council approved the purchase of a $185,936 street sweeper through the Ohio Department of Transportation Cooperative Purchase Program, which will be reimbursed through the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Stormwater Cost Share Program.

McConville reappointed

Council approved reappointment of Luke F. McConville as Law Director, effective February 1, on emergency.

Astrab sworn in

Council approved appointment of Michael Astrab as Prosecutor and Assistant Law Director, and authorized a contract for compensation, on emergency. After swearing in Prosecutor Astrab, Mayor Brennan expressed his gratitude that Astrab will be representing the city in Shaker Heights Municipal Court. The mayor noted that crime is up in the city, and residents are calling for additional enforcement in housing court.

Interim fire chief’s civil service rank restored

Council approved restoring interim Fire Chief Robert Perko to the civil service rank of captain, on emergency. Mayor Brennan said this will allow Chief Perko to return to the role of captain if he is not made fire chief.

Police Department receives award

The police department has received a AAA traffic safety award for its leadership in educational programming and advancing safety. The department has reduced traffic accidents by about 40 percent since 2014 by installing traffic control devices, and identifying and enforcing high-traffic areas.

Water main and valve leaks

Service Director Jeff Pokorny reported that there have been two valve leaks and three water main breaks. The water main breaks are on Saybrook, Traymore and Milton roads, and the valve leaks are on Laurelhurst and Summerfield roads. Pokorny said repairs will occur within the next two weeks.

YouTube page

Community Development Coordinator Patrick Grogan-Myers announced that the city now has a YouTube page. Citizens can find it, and recordings of city council meetings, on the “How Do I…” page of the city’s website,

Bellefaire JCB renovations

Bellefaire Jewish Children’s Bureau, located on Fairmount Boulevard, is contemplating major renovations to one of its buildings. Building Inspector McReynolds will keep the city apprised of Bellefaire’s plans. In the meantime, the organization’s exterior maintenance program will continue.

Executive session

Council held an executive session to discuss personnel matters.

The next meeting will be Monday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m.

LWV Observer: Siobhan Leftwich.

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These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports. 

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 11:59 AM, 02.20.2018