In a surprise announcement, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason said today that he will resign. For Ohio Public Radio, Nick Castele reports.
Bill Mason says that when he ran for reelection as Cuyahoga County prosecutor in 2008, he knew it would be his last term. But that meant he could keep his job until the end of this year. Instead, he's chosen to leave office Oct. 1.
Mason: "As a lame duck guy sitting in office, it's really hard to accomplish things while you're sitting waiting to leave."
Mason was appointed prosecutor in 1999 after his predecessor, the late Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, was elected to Congress. He won three bids for reelection. Early in his tenure, Mason defeated a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit from the estate of Sam Sheppard. More recently, Mason's office -- but not Mason himself -- prosecuted serial killer Anthony Sowell, winning a death sentence.
Mason has long maintained that he didn’t know that there was corruption in Cuyahoga County government before the federal government’s extensive investigation became public.
Mason: "There have been days when I’ve sat back and tried to think was there something that was missing. And there was just not."
Mason pushed to reform county government and helped write the new county charter. Voters approved that charter in Nov. 2009, and Democrat Ed FitzGerald became the first Cuyahoga County Executive.
Mason will join law firm Bricker and Eckler's Cleveland office. As part of his work, he says, he'll work with local government agencies to combine public services.
The Democratic Party must appoint a replacement within 45 days of his resignation.