Cleveland Heights voters to decide whether to change system of government

Cleveland Heights City Hall.
Posted at 10:34 AM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 18:29:14-04

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — In 1921 the Cleveland Indians were the reigning World Series Champs, the City of Cleveland was the 5th largest in the country and the Village of Cleveland Heights became the City of Cleveland Heights and adopted a council—manager form of government. But after nearly a century Cleveland Heights residents will decide this fall by way of a referendum whether to change that.

Council-manager is the most common form of government in communities with more than 2,500 residents, according to the International City/County Management Association. In Cleveland Heights there are seven council members elected to four year terms who then approve the hiring of a city manager, a full-time administrator to carry out the councils directives and oversee the day to day operations of the city. The mayor is simply one of the council members who is elected among the seven as council president.

What voters will decide in November is whether to replace the council-manager system with a strong mayor format with the mayor then carrying out the role of the city's chief executive both in title and in duties.

Supporters of the council-manager system argue the city manager is a non-partisan professional who is free to carry out day to day operations insulated from politics. Those in favor of a strong mayor form of government argue insulated equals unaccountable to the people, only to council.

This is the question as it will appear before Cleveland Heights voters this November:

Shall various Articles of the Charter of the City of Cleveland Heights be amended to change the form of government from its current elected Council and appointed Manager form, to an elected Mayor and Council form, and to provide for the powers, duties, four-year term, qualifications, and removal process for the office of the Mayor, and to create the position of the City Administrator appointed by the Mayor and subject to Council approval who shall be responsible for assisting the Mayor in overseeing the administrative functions of the City, commencing with the initial election of the Mayor to occur at the regular municipal election occurring in the year 2021; and to eliminate the City Manager position?