After last week’s hubbub about secret meetings by the Cuyahoga County transition team, the first open forum on Issue 6-mandated government restructuring takes place tonight: a “public engagement” session at Cleveland State University’s Levin College of Public Affairs.
Transition leader Jim McCafferty will be asking for ideas on how to keep people involved during the transition. The restructuring process got off to a rocky start after McCafferty and transition co-chair Marty Zanotti, on a local radio show, said that many transition meetings would take place behind closed doors. Their announcement caused public outcry and a threat from the ACLU of Ohio (ironic, considering nobody seemed too outraged last year when Zanotti and his mystery crew drafted the county’s now-adopted charter in ... private meetings).
Our first suggestion for McCafferty and friends: How about holding work group meetings exclusively in public venues? A run-down of the rest of this month’s transition schedule shows early-afternoon work sessions (sorry, working people) in Forest City Enterprises’ offices and Key Tower. Then again, those venues are probably fitting, considering the corporate fingerprints all over this process (Forest City and its board chairman, Sam Miller, gave a total of $50,000 to the charter campaign; KeyCorp dished out $30,000).
The public will likely get to meet some intriguing players in the county transition on Wednesday night, when the “public engagement” committee faces the community for the first time. The group already held one secret meeting earlier this month, in the Key Center offices of Thompson Hine (which gave $20,000 to the charter campaign).
McShepard’s employer also gave $10,000 to the Issue 6 campaign. RPM gained another foothold in local government this month when Mayor Frank Jackson appointed RPM exectuive Paul Hoogenboom to the Cuyahoga-Cleveland Port Authority board of directors. — Damian Guevara