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Council President New Year's letter to citizens of Cuyahoga County
To the Citizens of Cuyahoga County
December 29, 2011
As the first year of the Cuyahoga County Charter government nears completion, I want to express my gratitude to all of our residents. You chose a new form of government – and entrusted that government to the County Executive and the County Council. As President of Council, I am proud of what we have accomplished this year as a Council while working together with the County Executive.
Allow me to list a few of our achievements as your inaugural County Council:
- enacted a comprehensive ethics ordinance, the first of its kind in an Ohio county government, requiring all County employees and vendors to adhere to strict ethical guidelines.
- adopted new contracting rules, requiring that all contracts be approved in open meetings, and that contract details be posted publicly.
- approved the Economic Development Plan, a hallmark of the new charter.
- adopted the County’s first biennial budget, a balanced budget that addresses community needs, but retains healthy reserves in our general fund and health and human services fund.
- revamped Cuyahoga County’s Boards of Revision with qualified individuals to hear all complaints regarding the assessed value of property within the County.
- processes for the confirmation of Charter officers and other appointees;
- the independent agency of the Inspector General, charged with overseeing ethics compliance;
- the Department of Regional Collaboration, an office dedicated to supporting effective and mutually beneficial relationships among the many Cuyahoga County municipalities and public offices.
As a separate branch of government, Council has taken its charge seriously to serve as a check and balance on the Executive branch; and we have worked hard to ensure that we are an open and accessible government for all. Highlights of this year’s efforts to fully and openly debate the County’s business include:
- 35 regular and special meetings of the entire County Council
- Over 200 Council committee meetings
- All meetings open to the public, made available via live-stream video on our website, and archived for future reference by interested citizens.
- Opportunities for public comment at every meeting
- Free parking for all regularly scheduled Council meetings so there is no expense to attend the meetings
- Agendas and minutes are posted on our website.
- County Council Facebook page and a Twitter account, both places where citizens may offer comments or suggestions on our work.
Every Councilmember has learned a great deal about county government in this past year. And, each of us continues to learn about the needs of our respective districts and the County as a whole. In the coming year, we hope to provide more opportunities for citizen input and accessibility. We will be acting on the charter mandated scholarship initiative and further refining aspects of the Executive’s Economic Development Plan and Fund. We intend to continue working diligently in 2012 to earn and maintain your trust. May you and your families enjoy a wonderful holiday season.
C. Ellen Connally
President of Council