CH might now have a good city administrator

Mayor Seren is making his second attempt to fill the position of Cleveland Heights city administrator. And he offered an excellent candidate—he nominated Danny Williams.

Mayor Seren allowed this position to remain vacant for much too long. Daily tasks of local government require supervision by a talented professional.

The mayor previously hired Joe Sinnott as city administrator. But because Mayor Seren used him poorly, his talents were wasted. Sinnott resigned in April. Since then, the new form of government has not operated as designed.

Mayor Seren had kept Sinnott away from contact with city council and the public. The mayor proved unable to use, motivate, and retain a highly qualified person. I wrote last month that I hoped his next hire would be more visible and more effective. That now may be the case.

I am a big fan of Williams. He is a gentleman. He has executive and government experience. He has the right skill set. Most importantly, he works well with others. I cannot imagine a better choice for city administrator. As critical as I have been about Mayor Seren in the past, I believe he got something right this time.

At least I hope he got it right. Much will depend on whether the mayor uses this second city administrator better than he used the first one. Rumor has it that Williams extracted some promises from the mayor. These promises might allow Williams to have reasonable interactions with department heads, council members, and the public. If that proves to be so, government in Cleveland Heights will work much better—provided Seren does not mess the situation up again by becoming a control freak.

At times, Williams may be ordered by the mayor to implement unpopular agendas. That could happen in a political system. The response to what is unpopular is called an “election.” There will be one in November for some members of city council. Controversy about the mayor’s management style probably will become an issue then. And eventually there will be another election for mayor. Hopefully, Williams will remain in his job despite any noise or drama.

In the meantime, we may see real improvements at City Hall. This is because Mayor Seren finally found a good man to do an important job there.

Alan Rapoport

Alan Rapoport, a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights, served on CH City Council (1980–87) and as council president/mayor (1982–87).

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:56 AM, 09.02.2023