TOWN CRIER RINGS IN CUYAHOGA COUNTY BICENTENIAL - BUT NOT ON AGENDA

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 01/16/2008 - 17:46.

The January 14, 2008 Cuyahoga County Commissioner's meeting started sounding much like a New England Town Meeting.  

Coming down the hall towards the fourth floor Commissioner’s public meeting room, the Town Crier's sharply ringing hand bell competed with his yells of  Hear Yea! Hear Yea!

 

According to the proclamation read by the Town Crier (guess who the Crier is in the photo above?), Cuyahoga achieved County-hood 200 years ago this February. 

 

This upbeat message of Cuyahoga becoming a bi-centigenarian wasn’t an item listed on  the Commission’s agenda for January 14, 2008

 

Also not listed on the agenda with adequate specificity to satisfy the requirements of Ohio Public Meeting Laws was an addendum to the Ameritrust (Breuer) Tower sales document.   It is my interpretation of the Open Meeting Laws (OML) that, to be acted on legally,  each and every non-emergency action of a public body must be listed on a agenda available publicly (at least 48 hours? - ) before the meeting, and the description of the action must be specific enough so that the public is informed of what the intended action is. 

 

 

 

In the case of the Breuer “amendment” (item No 11 on the agenda), there was no specificity – the agenda only indicated that the anticipated action involved the Breuer procurement (sales) request.    The amendment was the inclusion of parking structure income figures – which must have been requested by one or more of the prospective bidders.

 

 

 

First off,  it would have been wise for the County to include any income numbers with the original bid package, as parking structure  income from the mostly vacant property would clearly be a important factor in determining the commercial value of the property.

 

The fact that this info was not in the original bid package demonstrates a lack of effort on the part of the County in trying to obtain the highest value for the property.

 

Secondly, it would have been easy for the County to put a specific description in the Agenda; by not doing this, and by the fact that the sales contract and it’s amendments are not available on line, the public is precluded from being adequately informed. 

 

 

In this case the addendum info was not detrimentally  provided at the last moment, but this basically blind-to-the-public procedure (not having specifics of agenda items on the agenda) is clearly wide open to abuse.

All procurement and sales documents must be made available on the internet, and all agenda items must be listed with adequate specificity so the public is fairly and conveniently informed of the doings of their government.

When the Cuyahoga County Commissioners go OPEN, young people will stay in NEO.

A county worker in the audience told the crowd that the first purchase  the  county made was for a  canoe - in exchange for wolf skins.  Maybe the beaver on  Whiskey  Island  are deja  vu!

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Joke's on us!

 What a difference hind sight makes, eh?

How about today with the Cuyahoga County Council and Mr. FitzGerald?  

Still a joke on us?