City manager and council member address CRC
How effective is the council-manager form of government in Cleveland Heights compared to governments led by a popularly elected mayor?
That was the principal question addressed by CH City Manager Tanisha Briley and CH Council Member Kahlil Seren at the Charter Review Commission (CRC) meeting on May 17.
Seren said that he favors changing the form of city government in Cleveland Heights from the current council-manager government to a mayor-council government that is led by a popularly elected mayor, and supported by a professional administrator appointed by the mayor and approved by council.
He said that the current form of government tends to be too timid and too cautious, resulting in relatively few bold ideas and innovation. “Caution can be debilitating,” he said.
As an example of this caution, Seren cited continuing delays by the city in partnering with a community development corporation, as other Cleveland suburbs have done.
Seren also spoke in support of considering a change from the current at-large city council to one that includes some members elected by ward. He said that ward-based members may connect more directly to the day-to-day experience of neighborhood residents.
Responding to questions regarding the effectiveness of a government led by a city manager versus one led by a popularly elected mayor, Briley said that either form of government can be effective but that conflicts are less likely in the council-manager form of government, where it is the job of the manager to carry out policies that come from a consensus reached by the council members.
Briley said that during her four years with the city, there has been successful consensus building on many ideas, priorities and policies, as is necessary to move the city forward.
View video of CRC meetings at https://www.clevelandheights.com/875/charter-review-commission.
The CRC’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 7, 7 p.m., at Cleveland Heights City Hall.
Robert Brown is a city planner with more than 40 years of experience, including nine years as Cleveland's city planning director. A resident of Cleveland Heights for 40-plus years, Brown serves on the board of FutureHeights.