Public Finance Management, We Are Ready For Your Presentation To Your Funders

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 11/11/2009 - 20:20.

Public Recreation in Cleveland in 2013?

Public Recreation in Cleveland in 2013?

PD reports: "Visitors to Cleveland's public swimming pools -- now free -- would have to pay admission if the city enacts recommendations of a consultant submitted Tuesday."

It is not surprising, the release of "Management & Efficiency Study – Cleveland, Ohio" (download as .PDF here) by Public Finance Management seems to have Northeast Ohio leadership heads spinning. At least, that is the appearance from coverage of related news - and lack thereof - in the PD.

Last night, Henry Gomez posted to his blog that a "Consultant's report suggests that Cleveland must cut jobs to remain financially sound", where he pointed out: "A quick glance reveals the significant conclusion that "Cleveland cannot address its financial challenges by maintaining the status quo with its 9,000 employees.""

Henry indicated Mayor Jackson was not informed, purposeful and forthcoming about the report:

Jackson has said that he hopes to balance next year’s budget shortfall, which his advisers have predicted will be between $30 million and $50 million, without layoffs or service cuts. He is not bound to the report’s suggestions, and his initial reaction was unclear this afternoon.

Andrea Taylor, the mayor’s press secretary, said she was preparing a cover letter for the report. The newspaper was not alerted to the document’s availability, though a reporter had been inquiring about it regularly since mid-October. At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Taylor denied that the report was available despite word that Jackson had discussed it with his administrators.

"The media will get the reports as soon as the mayor gives me the books," she said then.

"A reporter" at the PD clearly has known more about this study than has the public, for at least several months.

In this morning's print Plain Dealer, a different take on this story was reported in the metro section, with Henry bumped down the byline by James McCarty - the PD's Politics, Elections and wild Birding reporter (I'm not kidding) - who is not breaking eggs over this breaking story, that Henry first broke.

The "official" story the PD printed featured the renewed Mayor Jackson pledge NO LAYOFFS AHEAD.

For the on-line version of the story, now buried on Cleveland.com, Henry is removed from the byline completely, the headline is simply "Consultants suggest that Cleveland increase fees, eliminate freebies".

"Eliminate freebies"... in a headline about multi-hundred-million-dollar budget shortfalls for Cleveland... is this a joke?

The punchline is in the first paragraph: "Cleveland may solve its budget woes by consolidating departments, increasing fees and taxes, selling or leasing its cemeteries and golf courses, and eliminating job titles -- but not laying off employees, according to a consultant's report released Tuesday."

Read that strange wording again, aloud... ""Cleveland may solve its budget woes by (blah, blah, blah) -- but not laying off employees, according to a consultant's report released Tuesday."

Then, McCarty goes on to write:

"Cleveland cannot address its financial challenges by maintaining the status quo with its 9,000 employees," the report warns.

 

Sorry, McCarty... it sounds like heads are going to roll.

Another interesting perspective, from McCarty:

The report provides the city an assortment of options for cutting expenses and raising revenues by tens of millions of dollars -- some of the hardest of which involve reducing staff, increasing user fees, and ending some of the benefits of living in the city, such as free trash pickup and admission to pools and rec centers.

"Benefits of living in the city"?

Is this for real?

I'm guessing McCarty lives in the bird-watching county... one of those Xurban places with low taxes and no services... and burns his trash. In Cleveland, people pay taxes for public services, like to have their trash hauled away. For the taxes we pay, if the city doesn't haul our trash away directly, we expect the city to pay a hauler to do it for them. That is not free to taxpayers, and is a big deal to make an addition cost, to balance a bloated budget.

Neither are pools and rec centers free, unless police are free!?

All that is why people pay taxes in Cleveland, although you wouldn't guess people believe it.

I do not understand the reasoning nor financial analyses of this newspaper, and bird watching reporter, other than to make bad news sound palatable.

People are better serve by honest reporting of facts.

As I reported, in "Exactly one week after 77% of Clevelanders made Frank Jackson mayor of Cleveland for another four years...", some highlights of the innocuously titled "Management & Efficiency Study – Cleveland, Ohio" (download as .PDF here) include:

  • "Cleveland faces a drop of over 50 percent in its capital program funding from FY2010 to FY2011; further reductions are forecasted for FY2012 and FY2013"
  • "the City projects a significant budget deficit in 2010 if current spending is not adjusted to match the new revenue reality"
  • "the City will have to scale back services to which Clevelanders have become accustomed"

Further, as is logical and presented in the report and all coverage in the PD, "Cleveland cannot address its financial challenges by maintaining the status quo with its 9,000 employees."

Nor should Clevelanders want Cleveland to.

Remember... shrinking city!?!?

Lots fewer residents... fewer facilities.... fewer wards... fewer neighborhoods... all mean fewer (fill in the blank with some type of City of Cleveland employee).

I assume Mayor Jackson hired Public Finance Management to find out how many fewer employees the City of Cleveland may possibly have, ASAP, within the nest five years...

Although, it is still unclear who hired PFM, and paid the bills. In the PD McCarty coverage, we read:

Jackson asked for the consultant's study in hopes of balancing next year's budget shortfall, which his advisers have predicted will be between $30 million and $50 million, without layoffs or service cuts. He is not bound to any of the report's suggestions.

As a consultant, I see two red flags, here.

That is is reported Jackson "asked" for the consultant's study suggests Cleveland did not sponsor or pay for the study, and senior management may not buy-in. Was this another Cleveland Foundation or GCP gift to the community, or paid for from our pockets... at what cost, either way?

That it is reported Jackson asked for the study to balance next year's budget shortfall, "without layoffs or service cuts", raises the question was that a specification he imposed upon the consultants' initiative, which may compromise the value of the report and recommendations.

Having conducted very similar consulting engagements for senior management of enterprises larger and more complex than Cleveland, I expect this consulting effort cost $100K+, involved considerable face-time, workshops and meetings with executive leadership and key stakeholders, and included periodic progress reports to the sponsors, over a period of 6-12 months.

If not, it should have.

I know the fear and uncertainty even the hint of such disruptive reconstructive master planning may bring to all internal stakeholders of an organization, from senior management down through the rank and file - even vendors and strategic partners - especially when reorganization, process reengineering, downsizing, outsourcing, privatizing and workforce reductions will likely come into play.

When reorganization is going to have significant impacts on end users and customers - like the citizens of Cleveland - market studies and public relations are used to prevent harm and loss of loyalty.

Lies are not part of good public relations.

Usually, the consultants preparing such a report present their honest best-effort findings to as many stakeholder groups as possible, in person, to explain data and recommendations and address any concerns. The consultants are usually looking for follow-on work, conducting further analyses, broadening investigations and implementing recommendations, so face-time at the reporting stage is critical.

The final reporting starts with the lead sponsors and funders of the consulting initiative...

Yet, the Plain Dealer reports:

Jackson said he would review the consultants' report to determine which of the recommendations he will ask City Council to implement.

City Council President Martin J. Sweeney said he had yet to read the report and that few details were shared at the meeting. He said the mayor could introduce legislation reflecting his plans as soon as Monday.

"Possibly - that's the key word," Sweeney said.

Asked if he was concerned about the prospect of job cuts or privatization of some city services, Sweeney said: "None of those terms have even been discussed."

If Cleveland sponsored and funded this consulting effort and report, there should now be deep subject matter experts on the process and findings, in Cleveland city government, and the chief executives of the city should already be very familiar with all recommendations, as they share them with other stakeholders they lead.

Unless this was a far less serious, significant and purposeful effort than it seems, and is presented to be.

From looking at PFM's website, I doubt that is the case... they seem rock solid.

While consultants and outside intellectuals may love the idea of putting Cleveland through a perfect storm of rightsizing, process reengineering and reorganization, to see what still floats when the waters calm, they don't do that for free, and the survivors are left to pick up the pieces and move on.

PD coverage of the consulting work and reporting of PFM raises more questions than provides answers, at this point.

Let's hope PFM does a better job explaining their value to our community, and exactly what or who brought them here to save our world, in the first place.

And, let's hope the PD reporters may read the report from PFM with open eyes to the real news contained within, which includes:

"Cleveland faces a drop of over 50 percent in its capital program funding from FY2010 to FY2011; further reductions are forecasted for FY2012 and FY2013"

"the City projects a significant budget deficit in 2010 if current spending is not adjusted to match the new revenue reality"

"the City will have to scale back services to which Clevelanders have become accustomed"

"Cleveland cannot address its financial challenges by maintaining the status quo with its 9,000 employees"

Now, let's be real about the value of "Management & Efficiency Study – Cleveland, Ohio" (download as .PDF here), as it may offer significant insight, for the right sponsors.... the citizens of Cleveland.

We are ready for our consultants to make their presentation to their funder.

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Our story

Just to clear up a few things -- the report was released late Tuesday afternoon. Jim McCarty was working the evening shift, and that allowed me to read through the summary pages quick, post the blog item you mention and turn what I knew over to Jim, who scanned the document for other significant recommendations. He helped a great deal and graciously decided to give me a byline on the print story he put to bed.

I have been covering the city's budget issues for months, so maybe I can add some context here. The mayor hired the consultant, whom I believe is being compensated out of the general fund. We reported on this initially back in January or February. The mayor had said all along that he had been able to use earlier savings to balance the budget in 2009 but that 2010 would be much tougher because of the economic climate. That is why he asked an independent group to evaluate the city's operations. We knew months ago that the suggestions here might help close a budget gap that Jackson himself has acknowledged could be as high as $50 million. We never hid that fact in our coverage.

The report offers so much to take in at once. Jackson does not have to accept all recommendations (realistically he could not). It is meant as a road map, though my gut tells me the mayor has an idea of where he would like to trim, and I believe we will be hearing more on this in the coming days. It is important to note that whatever plan the mayor and council create from this will be discussed in public meetings.

One thing that I wish I would have made clearer in today's story, which is as much mine as it is Jim's, is that consolidating certain services or getting out of certain businesses such as golf or parking would mean fewer jobs on the public payroll.

Sorry if this came off as rambling, but I wanted to clear up some things. I will do my best to keep the public aware of what's next in all of this.

Thanks Henry - let's surface more details

Henry, thanks for the details.

From the Introduction of the Report:

Over the past three years, the City of Cleveland has embarked on an ambitious and extensive self-
evaluation to make its government more efficient and effective.  Beginning with two rounds of
departmental and divisional reviews – the Operations Efficiency Task Force (OETF) – and continuing
through the Mayor’s recent Sustainability Summit, the City has challenged its managers and workforce to
find new ways to do business, and has asked local leaders and citizens to help provide ideas, too.
 
To build on this process of improvement, the City retained a team of local government professionals to
provide an independent look at its progress and provide recommendations on where to focus next to
meet the tremendous financial challenges it faces in 2009, 2010 and beyond.  The team, led by Public
Financial Management and including experts from RNR Consulting, TechSolve and Enterprising Results,
has met with senior managers in all City departments, reviewed progress on recommendations from the
OETF, and analyzed the City’s budget and operations.  This report contains the team’s initial
recommendations on how the City of Cleveland can further improve the management of public resources
and the delivery of services to citizens.

Can you link us to any public information on this consulting engagement, including your previous coverage, RFPs, bid documents, contracts, etc... I'm interested in details of how this firm was chosen, what the work cost, how long was the engagement, who were the principals, who locally was interviewed, who are the internal champions, etc... this is not the type of study you undertake without proper positioning, and the output is considerably more than a roadmap... it is a recommendation for complete restructuring of city government, in well over 175 different ways.

This offers very exciting opportunity for the region.

Disrupt IT

Henry

I read you on a regular basis, even if a few days late. I had heard that there would be announcements of budget shortfalls after the election, but $50 million is so huge, that even if reported earlier, this should have been made a topic reported on throughout the mayoral campaigns. It is not a question of the Plain Dealer hiding this, but more the lack of what the PD did with that information. 

More to the report than meets the glancing eye

This largely truthful and independent seeming analysis of how bad things are here is a truly refreshing breath of fresh air - I'm just wondering how competent consultants were able to infiltrate Cleveland, and what regional leaders will do to smother their boldest recommendations.

The consulting report surfaces many issues that make the $50 million 2010 figure seem minor... look to 2011 and beyond for the crisis to worsen.

We are spending $100s millions more a year on capital projects now than we will have available in the coming years, yet the report points out we cannot fund the infrastructure and facilities maintenance projects that will be needed by the city in the future, mentioning the needs of the Fire Department being likely to be unmet, as an example.

The report points out we must board up and hope to sell many unused facilities, if the market ever improves... much like is beginning to happen with the Cleveland schools.

The report recommends significantly restructuring city government, and relocating major departments across facilities.

These are costly, disruptive, probably necessary changes ahead, and the report does not go far enough.

Such disruption damn well better lead to staff cost reductions, as they all represent shrinking the city and so needs for employees to service the city - staffing requirements should go down.

Now, we need a good CEO to lead Cleveland through these major changes... a $1.2 billion a year level CEO. Hopefully, the voters of Cleveland have elected a good one, as the road ahead will be very tough, the next four years.

Disrupt IT

report needs a through read

Definitely more than a glancing read, though their have already been some impacts on cuts prior to this announcement. An example is that the Cleveland Health Department just ended a service that they extended to public health agencies of processing syphillis test. This comes on the heels of the CDC reporting an increase in syphillis in Cuyahoga County and the need for more testing. The City Health Department provided this much needed service for many years, and it is a forewarning of just how tight things are within the City that they are forced to just process these tests for clients seen only at the City of Cleveland Health Centers.  

Revenues are dropping more than projected

The report indicates unemployment in Cleveland has increased in the past year by about 3%, to 12.1%.

Also, in the past year, many Cleveland businesses have shut down, reduced workforces and moved out of town.

57% of city general operating funds come from income taxes from people who work in Cleveland and businesses in Cleveland, and all those taxpayers are in decline, with no rebound in sight.

Further, the second largest contributor to the General Fund - property taxes - will likely come in below budget expectations for 2009.

I don't know if that is all taken into account in Mayor Jackson's final budget projections for 2009, and his planning to address a $30-50 million shortfall in 2010... is the city using worst case numbers here, as we are looking at a worst case scenario.

The more I read this report, the more I like it and the work of these consultants... it does an excellent job of breaking down and presenting our city finances, organization, departments, services... to the headcount level... and even provides a list of city facilities, many of which will need to be unloaded.

The report does not tell exactly what heads to cut, and facilities to unload - Phase II

Disrupt IT

Roldo, you may agree: Add PILOT & Avoid Tax Favors

To improve city revenues, here's one high level recommendation of the report that most REALNEO members would probably support:

  • Avoid Tax Favors that significantly interfere with the market.  A well articulated plan that details
    when and how tax incentives are used is critical

And, the report offers a specific revenue growth recommendation that will not be popular with the most powerful people in Northeast Ohio... we'll see if this goes anywhere (it hasn't, when recommended for here in the past):

RE03. Consider the Adoption of a PILOT Program for Select Tax-Exempt Institutions
  FY2010 Impact: $0       Five-year impact: $10.0 million
   
Another form of PILOTs are payments to a local government from entities that are normally
exempt from other taxes, particularly property taxes.  They are most commonly made by
nonprofit organizations, such as universities, hospitals, and foundations.  A significant portion
of Cleveland’s land area is occupied by tax-exempt organizations, including universities, large
health systems, and local, county, state, and federal government agencies.  
 
Comparison of Tax Exempt Property Value – FY2008
  Tax Exempt
Property Value Total Property
Value
Tax Exempt %
of Total
Property Value
Cleveland1 $6,114,332,281
St. Louis3 $1,283,851,000 $5,841,034,000 22.0%
Baltimore $9,818,578,020 $36,451,265,431 26.9%
Knoxville $213,839,000 $9,844,269,000 2.2%
Minneapolis2,3 $8,465,785,000 $45,562,351,000 18.6%
Pittsburgh $7,777,749,000 $21,032,626,000 37.0%
Average $6,568,987,755 $28,222,627,858 21.2%
 
As large property owners and major regional employers, tax-exempt organizations have a
significant stake in the current and future operations of the City.  For nationally prominent
universities and hospitals to attract quality faculty, staff, and students, the City has to be
considered an attractive place to live and work.  At the same time, these facilities and their
faculty, staff, and students consume significant City services.  Many cities around the country
have partnered with their local non-profit organizations to create some type of program that
provides annual payments to the City.  The cities of Boston and Cambridge in Massachusetts;
Madison, Wisconsin; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Providence, Rhode Island all have PILOT
agreements. 
 
The revenue generation potential from individually negotiated PILOT agreements with the
City’s tax-exempt entities would be a function of the number and size of the tax-exempt entities
within Cleveland, how many of those entities would be willing to enter into a PILOT agreement
with the City, and the size and structure of each entity’s payment obligation to the City.  The
following table is a survey of what some national cities have been able to generate through
similar PILOT agreements with large tax-exempt organizations.  
 

Comparable PILOT Agreements
  % of GF
Revenues Total
PILOTs
Baltimore 0.43% $5,606,000
Boston 0.60% $14,400,000
Madison 8.90% $6,200,000
Minneapolis 0.12% $427,229
Norfolk 0.43% $3,476,967
Omaha 2.23% $5,988,700
Providence 0.90% $3,800,000
Pittsburgh 0.99% $4,316,000
AVERAGE 1.83% $5,526,862
Notes: 1) All data is from FY2008 except Madison which is
FY2009.  2) In cases where these cities receive PILOT
payments from city-owned utility enterprises those funds are
not included above.
 
In instances where these agreements are negotiated, the amount of the annual payments can
be determined by various methods including flat annual payments, payments based on the
estimated property value and the current millage rates, or adjusted property valuation, which is
the most common structure for agreements.  Many of these agreements also provide an annual
increase for inflation during the PILOT agreement’s term.  While each agreement is structured
differently, the final settlement is the result of negotiations between the City and the
organizations.  
 
To minimize further erosion of the property tax base from the growth and expansion of nonprofit
institutions, the City should consider special agreements with new or expanding nonprofits to
gradually phase out tax payments on properties transferred from taxable entities to these
institutions.  Continued tax payments by these institutions could be considered as part of any
PILOT agreement.  This can reduce the immediate loss of revenue from these property
transfers, which often has a negative effect on annual property tax revenues. 
 
Based on the number of nonprofit institutions in the City and revenue yields from comparable
cities, a reasonable target for PILOT agreements with non-profit entities in the City of
Cleveland, after creation of a city-wide program, would be one percent of General Fund
revenues, approximately $5.0 million per year.  This initiative assumes that the program will
require agreements with several institutions and be phased in over four years.    
 
Fiscal Impact
 FY2010 FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 FY2014 Total
Fiscal Impact $0 $500,000 $1,500,000 $3,000,000 $5,000,000 $10,000,000
 

Disrupt IT

25% - 35% is the real unemploment in cleveland - usa

25% - 35% is the  real unemploment  in cleveland - usa-

always at least triple the numbers that are given the piublic-

yogi and guy http://www.nationalwardogsmonument.org/

When you factor in those who give up

I didn't look at the source data for the 12.1% but I'm sure that is the percentage of those actively seeking work and does not include those who have given up - we probably are looking at over 20% unemployment in Cleveland.

Disrupt IT

also correlate this study

 also correlate this study with the push for and successful election of a county executive et al.

Actually, we should correlate cities and counties together

We have in hand a pretty in-depth and thorough analysis of city of Cleveland finances, with recommendations for dramatic changes that include restructugin government, sharing services with other cities and the county, and regionalism in general... seemingly without executive support.

We also have a movement underway to reorganize Cuyahoga County, that is a public mandate that will de facto have executvie support, but this movement is without the type of analytics we have for the City of Cleveland... we still need a reorganization plan for Cuyahoga.

Assuming PFM is the right analyst for the region, we should expand their analysis to include the other cities in the region, and analyses at the county level, for Cuyahoga and the other counties considered to be in the region.

This would be a multi-million-dollar study and consulting initiative but well worth the money, and the right way to restructure government at the regional level for greatest benefit for all individuals.

I'm going to investigate this prospect further - Jackson may have hit on a goldmine here and put the region well on the way to making some real progress for a change.

But heads will roll...

Disrupt IT

To get any information

You have to file a public records request.  The Plain Dealer is as stymied by Cleveland City Hall as the average citizen.  Try it sometime.  Have fun.

I had my own run-around with the Law Department, when I asked for material on the NRP project in my neighborhood. 

Is the Plain Dealer complicit?  Yes--but, in my opinion, their reporters are not the problem.  This is the payola game.

See also:
http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2002/10/07/021007ta_talk_surowiecki

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/10/cuyahoga_county_government_ove.html

Henry G.

  You are a great guy, doing great things for us.  Your secret admirer :) 

Call Norm--and if you want the five year reports.. I have them.  

Also, from a reliable source, Tremont West Development Corporation did not have quorum tonight, so the by-laws revision has been postponed. 

Councilman Cummins, this might be a good time for you to let your constituents know how much money you have allocated to TWDC for the next year as we won't know unless we file a public records request with the City. 

Can you save us all a lot of grief by just ending the mystery and posting here???  If you can throw in Joe Santiago's allotments, too, the effort is much appreciated.  

santiago

 was reportedly (believe this is reliable) subsidizing TWDC to the tune of +$100K  (annually? or maybe just in 2009? or for the four years which would seem more reasonable)

while failing to fund or underfunding agencies that actually reside in and serve all of ward 14.

observed santiago's anti-graffiti staff painting over graffiti in ward 13 tremont . . . hope they got their $100K worth. 

 

santiago twdc

 

Santiago gave TWDC $450,000 in his 4 years from his ward allocation. This is the exact number.

wow

 that's allot of graffiti

 

   

 

 

dwebb - some links

Below are a few of the stories I wrote this year on the pending budget challenges. I apologize that some of the links take you to incomplete stories because they are months old.

Here is a story that ran on a Sunday in the midst of campaign season that explored the budget and $50 million shortfall projections through a political lens:

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/10/cleveland_finances_paramount_i.html

Here is a September update on Cleveland's 2009 budget:

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/09/cleveland_tax_collections_fall.html

May story on the $50 million projection:

http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/124315399867310.xml&coll=2

Bed tax story; the first report of a possible $50 million shortfall

http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1242117047312680.xml&coll=2

protection from murder is THE MINIMUM service we expect

I appreciate your good coverage of these issues.

In your third article - http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/124315399867310.xml&coll=2 - it looks like Jackson planned to hire a consultant in May - hard to believe this was bid out and comleted with reporting in November (expected in early to mid October... why was it late) - I'd love more details about everything related to that engagement, including who paid and the cost.

There seems to be some macho thing Jackson and perhaps Sweeney have going on about getting through the year without cutting staffing and services - like proving they didn't lie or something.

Fact is, as you point out in a quote in your last article about the bed tax, Jackson's budget is full of voodoo economics snd there have already been service cuts.... and more are planned:

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson hopes to use the city's bed tax proceeds to help plug anticipated holes in next year's budget, officials said Monday.

The bed tax, which generates about $4.8 million a year and supports the city's old convention center, would be redirected to the general fund under Jackson's plan. That would help counter a potential 2010 budget deficit that city Finance Director Sharon Dumas estimates might be as high as $50 million.

But Steve Groppe, general manager of the Crowne Plaza Cleveland City Centre hotel and chairman of the Greater Cleveland Lodging Council, said that the bed tax money is supposed to promote tourism, not address the city's budget shortfall.

"Obviously, I'm not very fond of that," Groppe said. "Nor would I think many of my hotelier friends would be in favor of that."

Now, Groppe seems to have a serious concern about this "service cut".

Considering the MMCO deal seems to be going down the toilet, there seem to be new issues related to this bed tax, and continuing to fund the Convention Center (still not providing tourism promotion services)...

And, is the money from the sale of the Convention Center to the County part of the 2009 budget - was that a bail out and are we about to lose that $20 million or part thereof?

I'm getting the impression the $29 million rainy day funds will not cover shortfalls in 2009, and the $50 million is about 50% short, for 2010, assuming dramatic ongoing service cuts and new staff reductions.

Your first article seems to best reflect the situation, when you quote Patmon. I believe he will have some I told you so opportunities over the next 4 years. http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/10/cleveland_finances_paramount_i.html

"I don't call that being well-positioned for the future."

If he were mayor this year, Patmon said he would have approached labor leaders about shorter work weeks and other givebacks.

"That's just the nature of managing a city," he said.

Jackson and the councilmembers talk about providing the same level of services but that is not defined in any maningful way and measured by anything, to back them up.

I'll give you a measure proving otherwise - murders are up from last year - protection from murder is THE MINIMUM service we expect from the City of Cleveland and the Mayor and that service has been cut significantly in Cleveland this year.

What are the services of the city of Cleveland and how well are they provided, relative to the past and other cities - that set of issues hasn't been addressed in the consultants' report, your journalism or any analyses of Cleveland anywhere I have seen, and that is the next step to saving this region.

And, as Patmon clearly knew and warned, heads must roll.

Disrupt IT

heads will roll, Norm

 heads will roll, Norm, but it probably will be in housing code enforcement, police, senior programs, services needed by those in the City. The report is just a report and there isn't any impetus on Jackson to accept the recommendations. Those small parts of the city that have the more stable areas and higher income residents will carry more weight about what gets cut than the rest of the city collectively. 

The report is not just a report

I don't think what is is or that the report should be allowed to be treated as just a report - especially as it appears to have been funded by taxpayers, and be quite insightful. I have many questions, but want to go to the next level!

We have 175 recommendation from world class consultants that include restructuring government signficiantly, with real organizational change far more significant than has been planned for Cuyahoga County, despite having already gone through an election over that.

Cleveland has nearly as big a budget as Cuyahoga County - we need to take this seriously and drive forward next steps, including determining what recommendations to follow - these are not matters to be determined by Jackson alone, if at all.

Disrupt IT

Thanks, Henry Gomez

You did an admirable job with your coverage. I still think that the PD should have made this repeated front page coverage and deserved an editorial or two. Were there editorials that I missed?  I will not put you in the position of defending editorial content or decisions, so do not take it personally when I say that the daily (and only) Cleveland newspaper should have taken this and run with it.