Vote No to changing CH's form of government
I want to urge people to vote No on the issue of changing the Cleveland Heights system, [in which] the voted-in city council choose a qualified city manager to run the government, to that of a “strong mayor” who appoints his/her people to run the government.
I worked for the Cleveland Heights Division of Parks and Recreation for 33 years, and was head of the division for the final 17. During my tenure I was selected following an interview process, always worked hard, and had the best interests of our city at the forefront at all times. I was always supported by a qualified city manager and a strong, elected city council, and I always felt that they allowed me to promote our great city, and improve and build our second-to-none programs and facilities.
The selection process and support of myself and other city staff by the city manager allowed us to do what was best for the city, feel safe in our positions as long as we worked for the good of the city, and continue on with our employment by the city.
Changing to a new strong-mayor system would undermine the current system and jeopardize our at-will positions, causing us to look elsewhere for employment. Changing the city to a strong-mayor system would inject politics into our system and allow one person to appoint his/her relatives, supporters, or other cronies, at the expense of the current professionally selected, qualified, and upstanding staff. This would lead Cleveland Heights down a slippery slope that would lead to the problems and issues dealt with by other nearby communities.
Finally, changing our system of government would destabilize our city by slowing down or eliminating our many current projects or plans (e.g., Top of the Hill, Meadowbrook-Lee-Cedar, Noble Road Corridor, etc.). Companies planning to invest in the growth of Cleveland Heights will have second thoughts concerning their investments and will have second thoughts about a volatile time in our city.
In short, I am a lifelong resident (since age 3), attended Cleveland Heights public schools, and was a long-term employee of the city of Cleveland Heights. The city-manager form of government has worked well, continues to work well, and does not need to be changed. Vote No to changing the system and allowing politics to enter our system.
Larry Shaw has lived in Cleveland Heights for 68 years, and is a Heights High graduate. He retired in 2014, after working for the CH Division of Parks and Recreation for 33 years.