Elected mayor proposal lacks critical element
Elected mayor proponents want you to believe that a mayor with all administrative power in our city is the fix we need for what they claim is a “vacuum of administrative responsiveness.” Yet their proposal omits a critical element of good government that protects citizens from the Achilles heel that so often hinders the responsiveness and effectiveness of mayor-led governments.
Their proposal doesn’t forbid the mayor from appointing relatives or any individuals who contributed financially to the mayor’s election. It also fails to prohibit the mayor from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions from employees of the city, before, during, or after the campaign.
The potential negative effects of this omission, compounded by the general lack of professional qualifications that often accompanies these kinds of hires and this kind of cronyism and corruption, is well known. We have wisely kept Cleveland Heights free of this pay-to -lay nonsense for almost 100 years with our council-manager system.
Lacking this critical element in the elected mayor proposal reminds me of the old adage, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” That is neither panacea nor pipe dream.
Robert Rink, a Cleveland Heights resident, has worked under the council-manager form of city government (as Cleveland Heights finance director, 1982 to 1986), and as an elected official of Cuyahoga County (as chief deputy auditor and director of the county budget commission, 1977 to 1982). His work experience with both forms of government has led him to support the council-manager form of government for Cleveland Heights as the more efficient and professional of the two.