by Kyle Swenson
So the brand spankin’ new Cuyahoga County Council has already been smeared with BS, causing critics to say it's business as usual among local politicians.
Before the county’s legislative body could even mouth an oath of office and table up for their inaugural official sit down, a group of Democrats got all Machiavelli and held a backroom meeting to decide to support C. Ellen Connally as council president, according to the Plain Dealer. They, for some reason, don’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with that.
A lot of other people, however, are pretty pissed.
On paper the contest for who gets to wear the prez hat — and take home $55,000 a year salary — was a three horse race between Connally, Dale Miller and Chuck Germana. Six members — Connally, Miller, Pernell Jones, Dan Brady, Sunny Simon, and Julian Rogers — met on Friday at Rogers’ Cleveland Heights home. Cut through the blah blah blah and excuses, what they did was brokered a deal between Connally and Miller: the former would get the top spot, the latter would be vice president. Everyone goes home happy.
But not really. The cabal meeting was a possible violation of the state’s sunshine laws. If not a violation, it at least goes against the entire reform spirit the new government was meant to represent, especially from this group of pols who got elected after jawing on about transparency. Even more alarming is this choice response from Connally to the PD’s Pete Krouse when pressed about the meeting:
“We were not discussing the public’s business. Leadership is not the public’s business,” she told the reporter, thus putting Connally at the head of the class of Bad Local Politicians: The Next Generation.
The reaction has been intense. On Sunday, a group of 11 reform architects including Parma Heights Mayor Martin Zanotti and Shaker Heights Mayer Judy Rawson sent a letter to the council blasting members for actions that “fail to uphold the core principles of reform.”
While “selective” caucusing may have been business as usual in the past, such a process fails to uphold the standards of our new government and most importantly, the expectations of the voters who supported the reform. We urge you to review your collective responsibility to restore trust in government.
The PD also came out strong with an editorial Sunday calling Connally into question.
Leadership is not the public's business?
In those six words, Connally has summed up the case for why she should not be president. She has also revealed that even after 24 years as a judge, she doesn't understand the difference between what is legal and what is right.
On Monday morning the council met and decided to delay the leadership vote until Jan 3. Miller has already backtracked and publicly apologized for the backroom dealings. Connally — the big winner here — hasn’t said jack in way of apology.