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Ohio House Paves Way for Cuyahoga Restructuring

Friday, May 23, 2008 at 10:13 AM

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The Ohio House last night approved an amendment authorizing a restructuring of Cuyahoga County government. This could put a reform plan by Commissioner Tim Hagan on the November ballot, but many democrats are crying foul. ideastream’s Dan Bobkoff reports.

Hagan’s proposal would reduce the number of top elected jobs in county government and replace them with appointed positions. Republican Speaker of the Ohio House Jon Husted liked the idea and rushed an amendment into a capital appropriations bill.

Several democratic lawmakers objected to the amendment because it targets only Cuyahoga County, a Democratic stronghold, when other Republican-dominated counties might also be ripe for reform.

That was Commissioner Jimmy Dimora’s objection Tuesday, when he lashed out at Republican lawmakers and The Plain Dealer, accusing them of colluding to tear down his party.

But Commissioner Hagan, also a democrat, believes reform is necessary and says he can live with the amendment as written.

HAGAN: I think we’re all for reform. The question is how do you do it rationally, and how do you make it work? This is not an intellectual exercise. The voters have to vote on it and you have to convince them it’s the right direction to go in.

If the amendment becomes law, the commissioners will hold a vote on whether to put the reform proposal on the ballot.

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