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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Next Step for Treasurer Jim Rokakis

Posted By on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Hell lose the Treasurer title, but not the stache.
  • He'll lose the Treasurer title, but not the 'stache.

The arrival of the new county government will scatter pieces of the old one all over Northeast Ohio, but at least one former star may land on a larger stage.

Treasurer Jim Rokakis is in conversation with Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs about his future at the helm of an urban land institute that will probably be housed there. That would give Rokakis research support that could extend his influence to the national policy level.

As treasurer, Rokakis was responsible for collecting tax money and distributing it to school systems and city governments. But as he watched foreclosure and abandonment eat into the tax base, he pushed the bounds of the job much further than that. Among his most ambitious efforts was birthing the Cuyahoga County Land Bank to take over properties abandoned after foreclosure.

“Jim is in conversation with the university,” confirms Levin College dean Ned Hill. “If this comes to pass, we want to do nothing to change the basic character of his activities, but help him play in a national field. We foresee coupling him with faculty so his work becomes more analytic, and so he can play a stronger role at the national policy level.”

As for when the relationship becomes official, that depends on what the verbally gifted Hill calls the “nasty” problem of finding money.

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