Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 6-27-22

JUNE 27, 2022, special meeting and executive session


  • Mayor’s report
  • Staff presentations
  • Council actions


Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., Josie Moore, and Davida Russell. Council President Melody Joy Hart and Council Member Tony Cuda participated remotely. Also present was Law Director William Hanna. The meeting ran two and one half hours. An executive session was convened to consider the terms of a sale or lease of city-owned property.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren spoke about the U.S. Supreme Court Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that reversed Roe v. Wade. Mr. Seren asserted his belief that abortion is healthcare and the right to an abortion is a matter of bodily autonomy and a fundamental human right. He further criticized Ohio’s six-week abortion ban. He offered his support for those choosing abortion and described resolutions previously passed by Cleveland Heights City Council supporting abortion rights. He called on city council to provide substantive assistance via funding to assist those who must travel to have an abortion. He also asked that reproductive health decisions be added to the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

Staff presentations

Directors Anna Smith, Ryan Prosser, Amy Himmelein, William Hanna, Mike Thomas, and Eric Zamft presented “Department 101,” overviews of the departments of human resources, information technology, finance, law, community services, and planning and development. Detailed slides from each presentation are incorporated in the YouTube recording.

Anna Smith, director of the human resources department, described staffing levels; functions and responsibilities related to recruitment, hiring, benefits, and compensation; Workers’ Compensation claims; drug testing; annual performance appraisals; grievances; civil service testing; and policy and procedure development. Ms. Smith responded to council members’ questions about civil service testing and preventative training to reduce Workers’ Compensation claims.

Ryan Prosser, director of the information technology department, described staffing levels, software used by the city, and departmental functions and responsibilities. Mayor Seren and Mr. Prosser responded to council members’ questions about software, training, and support for the clerk of council and city council, software integration, and facilities.

Amy Himmelein, director of the finance department, described staffing, an organizational chart, responsibilities and functions related to financial reporting, budget, accounts payable, payroll, and treasury. Ms. Himmelein responded to council members’ questions about R.I.T.A., timelines for audits and closing the books, the city’s investment policy, and safeguards to prevent theft.

William Hanna, director of the law department, described the role and duties of the department related to litigation and claims, advice to mayor and council, legislation, contracts, public records requests and subpoenas, and prosecutions. Mr. Hanna responded to council members’ questions about public records requests, workload and staffing, the law department’s role in preparing city council meeting agendas, nuisance abatement case load, and Mr. Hanna’s other professional responsibilities.

Mike Thomas, director of the community services department, described the staffing and responsibilities of his department related to communications, public engagement, and community services programs. Mr. Thomas and Mayor Seren responded to council members’ questions about procedures for responding to residents’ questions and complaints, the role of the open public relations position, welcome packets for new homeowners and renters, experiments with varied communication channels to reach more residents, and sign posting on public property to publicize city events.

Eric Zamft, director of the planning and development department, described the department’s organizational chart, staffing and responsibilities related to zoning administration, master planning, community and neighborhood development, economic development, park planning and sustainability, and community engagement. Mr. Zamft and Mayor Seren responded to council members’ questions about the department’s support for boards and commissions, overall approach to economic development, affordable and senior housing strategy, Taylor-Tudor project community engagement plan, simplifying access to information about specific development projects, and differences between developments on private and city property.

Council actions

On first reading as emergency measures, council:

  • Authorized an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for federal funding for the Lee Road Resurfacing Project.
  • Acknowledged receipt from the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District of a plan for public services and improvements and returned the plan without comments or recommendations for changes.

LWV Observer: Jill Tatem.

Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: 

Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of Cleveland Heights, OH” YouTube channel:

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 9:33 AM, 07.13.2022