These Cleveland-Area Officials Scored Spots on a 'Parks and Recreation'-Themed Good Government Ranking

click to enlarge These Cleveland-Area Officials Scored Spots on a 'Parks and Recreation'-Themed Good Government Ranking
Parks and Recreation Film Still
Two area leaders got top honors on a new good-government ranking, and it is, literally, blowing our minds.

But let’s back up for just a minute and talk about the best part of all of this first.

The 100-spot ranking is released every year by good government group Engaging Local Government Leaders, and it’s named after Parks and Recreation character Chris Traeger.

The popular show ran from 2009 to 2015 and captured a somewhat more optimistic view of government than we’re probably used to these days via a fictional parks department in Pawnee, Ind.

Rob Lowe plays Traeger, a fitness-obsessed government administrator and the only character even more sunny and uhm, sliiiightly Type-A than lead character Leslie Knope.

We’re sure all our local officials won their awards fair and square and that Lowe’s background growing up in Dayton didn’t influence the rankings. But it probably didn’t hurt.

So why pick a fictional character to honor real-life public servants?

“Our perfect Traeger List award winner is someone who has a jammed packed daily schedule, but makes time for an informational interview or to present a webinar to a nationwide audience. Our list is full of individuals quiver at the phrase ‘I’m too busy,’ ” ELGL said back in 2016 about the list.

This year, the Cleveland area landed two public officials on ranking, which is voted on by ELGL membership. They are:

No. 40: John Gonzalez, Communications Manager, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District

Here's what ELGL had to say: "12 Clogs of Christmas. Plumbers on the day after Thanksgiving. John is responsible for these gems. The NE OH Regional Sewer Twitter account is the darling on the internet. A connection between seemingly every sporting event, breaking news item, or pop culture news and the work of NEOHSW is highlighted on their social media feed."

No. 55: James Hardy, Deputy Mayor for Integrated Development & Chief of Staff, City of Akron, Ohio

Here's what ELGL had to say: "James’s GSD (Get Shit Done) mantra is helping transform the City of Akron. In recent years, James has been a key player in the Akron Civic Commons project, a partnership with eBay called the “Retail Revival” initiative and the development of a joint strategic plan across three entities."

As good as this list is, we're also eagerly waiting for someone to make a Ron Swanson list, which will feature public servants who eat the most bacon, cut the most budgets to zero and wrestle the most bears in the course of their civic duties
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