CLEVELAND — Still riding the high off a win he called a mandate for change, Justin Bibb started off his first day as mayor-elect on Good Morning Cleveland acknowledging he got a “couple of hours” sleep.
Sleep indeed will come later for the 34-year-old non-profit executive who reached Cleveland's highest elective office in his very first run for public office, defeating Council President Kevin Kelley. Bibb said he plans to make the most of the 59 days he has between his victory and the raising of his right hand.
"We're going to hit the ground running in terms of identifying a group of community leaders and residents and business leaders who support our transition process,” Bibb said. “And we have to continue to listen, listening to the voters about what our priorities should be and how we set the right tone for the first 100 days of our administration."
A major issue in the campaign was Issue 24, which creates a civilian review board to deal with police discipline. While it passed by a near 60-40 margin, Bibb says this is the beginning of this process, not the end.
"We need to have more honest conversations about how we get policing right, working with law enforcement, the police union, clergy and residents and victims of police brutality and setting the right conversation to make sure we can come together and unify our city around this issue for the future."
The man Bibb replaces in City Hall, Frank Jackson, is a former city council president who had in Marty Sweeney and Kevin Kelley successors who he worked well with. With five new members joining the council and a new president to be picked, who might Bibb like to see in the post? He's not publicly putting his thumb on the scale.
"Listen, I'm looking forward to working with every member of city council to execute our agenda in partnership with them and I look forward to working with whoever the next council president going to be in the future,” said Bibb.
Bibb said he plans to take with him to city hall what he heard from voters on the campaign trail, a dialogue that won’t end on January 1.
“Voters are really smart and sometimes we as elected officials take listening for granted. At the end of the day, voters want a mayor that’s going to fight for more safety, a more modern response to city hall," Bibb said. "Voters want a mayor that’s going to improve public education, but the biggest thing they want is a fighter and a mayor that's going to give them a sense of pride in their city once again."