Group Wants 'Strong Mayor' Government In Cleveland Heights

City of Cleveland Heights sign illuminated.
[Annie Wu / ideastream]
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A citizens group in Cleveland Heights plans a public meeting Thursday on its campaign to replace the city manager form of government there.

Citizens for an Elected Mayor wants Cleveland Heights to have a full-time chief executive who’s elected by the voters. Currently, council hires a city manager to run things, and “mayor” is another title for the council president.

Tony Cuda, who’s leading the citizens campaign, argues that a so-called “strong mayor” would be more accountable to the electorate and more decisive in areas of economic development.

“We need someone who’s going to make decisions, and obviously get council to go along with them,” Cuda said. “And I think Cleveland Heights is a full-time job.”

He says the group wants to gather public input before writing possible ballot language and gathering petition signatures. The goal, Cuda says, is to put the issue on the ballot this November.

The city’s current mayor, Carol Roe, says she isn’t convinced such a change is necessary.

“I don’t know how having something called a ‘strong mayor’ is really going to make that much of a difference,” Roe said.

Cleveland Heights is in the process of revising its charter, the governing document for the city. The charter review commission, which was appointed by city council, voted against a strong-mayor proposal last year.

The commission recommended removing the title “mayor” altogether and making more clear that the city manager is Cleveland Heights’ chief executive officer.

Roe says that the commission will present its recommendations to council on Monday.

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