CH mayor's micromanaging impedes progress

While I do not present myself as an expert in city management, I do find it my civic duty to keep well informed on local issues.

Viewing the Committee of the Whole meetings of Cleveland Heights City Council on YouTube is an excellent method to educate oneself as regards the interactions between our current elected officials.

The meeting of Oct. 3 displayed the discord that obviously exists within council, as well as between council and the administration. At the heart of this conflict is council's direct access to information from administration department heads. 

Article III, Section 6, of the Cleveland Heights City Charter states in part, "Except for the purposes of inquiry, the Council and its members shall deal with the administrative service solely through the Mayor or the City Administrator . . . " [Emphasis added by the writer of this opinion.]

While council members have the charter-granted right to make inquiries, any answers seem to be blocked by the mayor's apparent instruction to his department heads to not reply to those inquiries.

At the Oct. 3 meeting, responding to a frustrated council member, Mayor Seren said that, as mayor, he's "got eyes on things that maybe an individual director may not know." In regard to inquiries, he said he wants to be certain that "information we are providing is both consistent and complete."

While the mayor's position is both understandable and commendable, his attempt to micromanage the flow of information to council members (and city residents) is crippling any forward movement on issues critical to the citizens of Cleveland Heights.

I would remind Mayor Seren that individual department heads may have eyes on things about which the mayor may not be aware. The current Memorandum of Understanding (see the YouTube stream for information on that!) appears to be just another tool of micromanagement. 

I would urge the mayor to loosen the reins a bit and let the city's department heads do their jobs—part of which is answering inquiries from citizens and council members. This deadlock cannot continue.

Steven Rowsey

Steve Rowsey, a former Cleveland Typewriter employee, is learning to enjoy retirement in Cleveland Heights, where he has been a very happy resident for 30 years.

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Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 10:01 AM, 11.01.2022