Council members dispute Serenís comments on potential charter amendment votes
At the May 22 meeting of Cleveland Heights City Council, four council members, Mary Dunbar, Carol Roe, Michael Ungar and Melissa Yasinow, presented a letter in which they rebutted comments that Council Member Kahlil Seren had made at the May 17 meeting of the Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC).
Speaking at that meeting, Seren stated that he believes it is unlikely that “a four-member majority of council” will choose to place on the ballot any charter amendment that proposes to replace the city’s’ current council-manager government with one that includes a popularly elected mayor, and any charter amendment that would propose to replace the current at-large council with one that would include some members elected by ward or district.
He based his conclusion, Seren said, on the fact that four of the seven current council members have publicly stated their opposition to a Cleveland Heights government headed by a popularly elected mayor.
In their letter, which was read by Roe at the May 22 council meeting, the four council members characterized Seren’s statement as “reckless, irresponsible and false,” and stated that that he had “never bothered to ask any of us for our views on this process or our intentions.”
They also wrote, “We look forward to hearing the Commission's recommendations, and we will review them with an open mind. Indeed, such open-mindedness was an important consideration for membership on the Commission.”
Seren, in turn, responded by saying that, while he recognized that his comments might be distressing for some, “I think that honesty is more important than comfort in this case.”
The next meeting of the CRC will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, 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.