I'm sad to say goodbye to Josie Moore
Those serving in public office sacrifice a lot. Many qualified people decline to seek election for that reason. Others decide after their election that the sacrifice is too great. One of those others is Josie Moore, who recently resigned from Cleveland Heights City Council.
Moore had ideas about how CH City Hall should operate under a new system. She thought the mayor and council members need to be “willing to reach out, discuss ideas and concerns, and be responsive to each other in a spirit of collaboration and problem-solving.” She called for leadership that sees civil disagreement as “an opportunity to find pathways for improvement.” She considered “open, ongoing, and respectful communication as the key to an effective working relationship that enables the achievement of our city’s goals.”
Politics can be a nasty business. Moore was perhaps too optimistic. Given the cast of characters, she perhaps was even a little naïve.
I disagreed with Moore’s more “progressive” goals. But watching her perform, I admired her energy, intelligence, and organizational skills. Moore did occasional virtue signaling. But she did much more. As chair of the Municipal Services Committee, Moore tackled mundane but important subjects, like street lighting and snow removal. She set agendas, managed meetings, and worked hard with others to achieve results. Moore was productive. Our city council needs members like her.
Over time, things went wrong for Moore. As she stated in her own words, she felt she was “in the dark, the ground was continually shifting under my feet, the goalposts kept moving, while my intentions and actions were repeatedly and unkindly mischaracterized.” Moore says she quit to protect her “mental health” and “physical well-being.” Hopefully she will find other ways to stay involved with our community.
Council members and the mayor should accept that Moore resigned because of an unnecessarily hostile environment they helped foster. Moving forward they should remedy that situation.
I am sad that Moore is leaving. And many experienced city employees left this past year for other opportunities. This is a bad sign. Making government service attractive to people with talent must be a prime objective. But it is not enough merely to attract and hire such people. It also is important to help them want to stay.
Alan Rapoport, a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights, served on CH City Council (1980–87) and as council president/mayor (1982–87).