Cleveland Heights residents deserve good governance
From the moment I got involved with Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM) in 2019, I have been thinking about what makes a good city council, a productive municipal government, an efficient city hall.
I know there are educated professionals who spend their professional time contemplating and learning about these things; people who seek Master of Public Administration degrees, study municipal government, and generally do actual professional work in this area.
I am a Cleveland Heights resident with none of those specific professional degrees or concentrated studies—but I’m a resident who thinks our city government can strive to meet best practices for good governance.
When thinking about good and effective governance, I came upon a definition from medical consultant Don L. Arnwine, who studied the topic. He determined that effective governance is efficient, allows respectful conflict of ideas, is simple, is focused, produces good outcomes, preserves community assets, and leads to enjoyment and personal rewards for stakeholders (residents).
I agree with his definition of effective governance. I would add that, at the municipal level, effective governance is also open and transparent.
There is a palpable desire among CH residents for effective governance in this city. It was felt and heard when the amendment to the city charter to provide for an elected mayor overwhelmingly passed. It is evident today with citizens attending council meetings wanting to be included in discussions about development initiatives such as Noble Station.
I believe Cleveland Heights government should continuously work to provide good governance for its citizens. To that end, I believe that council should engage in best practices with regard to open meetings and Sunshine Laws, provide for equitable access to council meetings, require a budget process and financial reporting that allows for department-level detail on expenditures and revenues, and limit the use of emergency legislation.
This interest in effective, open and transparent governance is what drove me to join CEM in 2019. It is what made me decide to apply for the open council seat earlier this year. And, ultimately, it is what made me decide to run for council this year.
I don’t think the work is done—I don’t know if striving for efficient governance is work that is ever completed or done. I am not certain that one person or one council can ensure that. But I sure would like to try to deliver to Cleveland Heights residents the good governance they deserve.
Jeanne Gordon is a candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council. A 21-year resident of Scarborough Road, Gordon is a tax attorney who has served on the boards of Citizens for an Elected Mayor, Friends of Build CLM, Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, and more.