There is no 'magic mayor'
The strong mayor advocates want you to believe that the mayor-council style of government is the elixir that will cure the supposed ills of our city. That is simply not true.
What will work and is working today in Cleveland Heights is hard work by our city council, our city manager and our citizens, collaboratively, professionally and passionately. We are proud of and greatly encouraged by the work that all of us, together, are doing.
All of us, council, city manager and staff, and residents alike, are working mightily to support good economic development and services in our community. Look around you: We have more current commercial projects than we have had in years. Redevelopment of the College Club is underway, and Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook and Top of the Hill are both on the verge of actual construction starts. The study for Noble has been completed, and future commercial projects there and elsewhere are being pursued through proactive planning. Residential redevelopment is being accelerated through FutureHeights as our CDC and through our Heights Preservation Office. Road resurfacing, park upgrades, and other infrastructure projects have been completed. Crime was reduced 28 percent in 2018! And what about those firefighters during our severe microburst storm in September?
Why is this happening? The answer is simple: Strong consensus among our city council, city manager and you. So, what is wrong: The answer is nothing we cannot fix with what we have in place.
So, to our citizens who are considering the mayor-council system: Watch out what you wish for. An elected mayor will not have the credentials of our current city manager to accomplish what is in your best interest. If we vest power in one person, the system of accountable government that we have so carefully built and maintained over the years will be lost. We will simply devolve to a system rampant with political favoritism.
A change to a mayor-council form of government will unquestionably inject politics into our city, something we have not had in all our years. We are proud of the consensus decision-making approach required of city council. We do not want to see our services and economic development be guided by the non-professional, political decision-making of a single career politician. This council has taken us from the brink of true financial difficulties in 2015 to the realization of meaningful economic development and improved city services today. What more do we need to say, we have a unique, successful, accountable form of government—keep it! Vote No on Issue 26!
Lee Chilcote and Mike Gaynier
Lee Chilcote is a former council member, vice mayor, and a 47-year resident of Cleveland Heights. Mike Gaynier is a leadership consultant who served on the Charter Review Commission. The two are co-chairs of Cleveland Heights Citizens for Good Government.