Bibb Nominates Two Riders for RTA Board of Trustees

Bibb has appointed two riders to the RTA board. - Clevelanders for Public Transit
Clevelanders for Public Transit
Bibb has appointed two riders to the RTA board.

Making good on one of his many campaign promises, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb has nominated two riders for appointment to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) board of trustees.

*A previous version of this story reported that Bibb had appointed the riders. But according to the city charter, Bibb's nominations must be approved by City Council.

Bibb, a former RTA board member himself, said he understood the unique perspective of transit users who interact with the system on a daily basis but whose complaints and suggestions are often overlooked by the lawyers, functionaries and suburban mayors who typically make up the board.

Bibb has nominated marketing and communications professional Lauren Welch and tech executive Jeff Sleasman to the posts. Both are residents of the City of Cleveland and regular riders of the RTA system. (Sleasman has been a vocal advocate for the economic advantages of going car-free for years.)

“Today’s appointments reflect my administration’s commitment to elevating the lived experience of residents and a diversity of voices to key boards and commissions,” Bibb said, in a statement.

Welch and Sleasman will assume their posts next month. Welch will step into an unfinished three-year term that concludes on March 3, 2023. Sleasman will begin a three-year term that runs through March, 2025.

Both Welch and Sleasman had been previously recommended by the grassroots transit advocacy organization Clevelanders for Public Transit, (see photo above). In fact, City Hall issued its press release announcing the appointments less than an hour after CPT called on the Bibb administration—as it has on prior administrations—to appoint riders to the RTA board.

"GCRTA’s Board of Trustees would benefit from greater diversity, and is in dire need of members with expertise in transit policy and advocacy and with lived experience riding GCRTA fixed-route service regularly," the statement from CPT read. "We request better representation of the diversity of people who use transit in Cleveland."

As Mayor, Bibb is responsible for appointing four of the RTA board's 10 seats. The Cuyahoga County Executive and county mayors and city managers association each get three. When Bibb was a trustee, he served at the pleasure of Armond Budish. 

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Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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