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Cuyahoga County Reform Leaders Pledge to Have Open Meeings

When county reform official Martin Zanotti suggested earlier this week that some of his group's planning meetings wouldn't be open to the public, some politicians, members of the media and others charged that the reformers were backing off of their earlier claims that the change process would be totally transparent. The ACLU even suggested it might sue. Upon reflection, Zanotti reversed course.

He and County Administrator Jim McCafferty met with the reform group's Public Engagement Committee to discuss the logistics of opening all meetings to the public.

MARTIN ZANOTTI: After meeting with the group it was clear that, if we're going to err, we're going to err on the side of openness, so we've instructed all the co-chairs that any full committee meetings that they have should be scheduled in advance and open to the public.

Zanotti says the legal threats didn't factor into the decision.

MARTIN ZANOTTI: This just got rushed, we're still trying to get organized. There's no playbook for how to do all these things.

David C. Barnett was a senior arts & culture reporter for Ideastream Public Media. He retired in October 2022.