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New Developments Move Transition Effort Forward

Committee chairmanships assigned; Transition team announces plans to recommend 15 percent in government spending cuts

January 28, 2010 – Cleveland – A newly announced goal for reforming Cuyahoga County government is to cut spending by 15 percent and invest $50 million of the resulting annual savings into local job creation efforts.  

The group leading the County Transition effort continues to gain momentum and participants (view the organizational chart at the bottom of this page). And while the team is focused upon bringing well-researched, intelligent change to county government, there is also continued support for passage in May of an existing, county-wide health and human services levy that will result in no new taxes.             

“From day one, this much-needed movement to reform our county government has emphasized inclusion and diversity,” said Martin Zanotti, Chairman of New Cuyahoga Now and Co-Chair of the transition group.  “We need to fairly but systematically reduce duplication and cut excess, tax dollars are too precious to waste.  We want a well-run but leaner government. Economic development has been a central theme of this reform movement from day one, and we want to intelligently help smart, hard-working companies succeed here so they retain and create good jobs for our residents.”  

In addition to an executive committee, multiple workgroups have been formed to carefully review all aspects of county government and thereafter put forth recommendations for the County Executive and County Council about how those operations can be done better.   

Newly-named chairs and co-chairs of those workgroups include representatives of organized labor, the private sector and public officials.  Former opponents of Issue 6 – which county voters passed last November to authorize a new, county executive form of Cuyahoga County government – have also been added to the process.  

Citizens who have expressed a desire to participate in the process are also getting involved.   

“If someone has a good idea that helps us reach our goal of a more efficient system that emphasizes economic development and supports health and human services, we will listen,” says James McCafferty, County Administrator and transition group co-chair.    “We are not fighting battles from yesterday or last year, we are looking toward tomorrow and next year.  This is too important for our residents. We really want to get it right.”  

New Cuyahoga Now, the group that led the successful county reform campaign, will be providing the recommendations for Campaign Finance Reform and a Code of Ethics. They will provide these to the Transition Team to be included in the final report.  

Proponents of the reform movement have also long said that they have no interest in overhauling segments of county government that work well.   That is why the transition team strongly endorses passage in May of a levy renewal for health and human services.  The levy campaign will be co-chaired by Henry Meyer, chairman of The Greater Cleveland Partnership board and County Commissioner Tim Hagan.  

The renewal will not result in any increase in taxes. The levy generates money for a wide array of services including assistance for abused children, the elderly and needy families.  These services are vital to many Cuyahoga County residents.