Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman, the man who can give a three-hour interview in 30 minutes, has announced that he is resigning from City Council to take over as president of Global Cleveland, the nonprofit geared toward attracting "newcomers" to the region.
The Global Cleveland board unanimously elected Cimperman after a "lengthy and thorough executive search." He'll begin work there this spring, just as soon as he finishes up 2016 budget meetings with the city.
In March, City Council will appoint a candidate to replace Cimperman. That appointee will serve the remainder of his current term, which ends Dec. 31, 2017.
It's a lot like the Brian Kazy situation — Kazy took over for Marty Sweeney in January of 2015 when Sweeney was elected to the state legislature, and was re-elected for a full term later in 2015. Cimperman's replacement, however, will serve for nearly two years before he/she will face the nuisance of a campaign.
Kazy's election was a special election to serve the remainder of Sweeney’s term, not a full term. The person who takes over for Cimperman won’t have to run in a special election because it will be less than 2 years remaining.)
Meantime, Cimperman will join an organization that has been without a permanent president since April, when Joy Roller "resigned."
In a letter to friends and supporters of Global Cleveland, board chair David Fleshler, (Case Western's international provost) called Cimperman the "visionary leader with the background, capabilities and passion to take our organization to the next level."
Cimperman served on City Council for seven terms, representing constituents in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood, the Flats, downtown, Tremont and Ohio City. He is currently the Ward 3 councilman
; it's a ward that encompasses the hottest areas of Cleveland's recent economic and cultural resurgence. (His replacement, presumably, will have deep ties to the neighborhood development sector.)
Cimperman is also, as he regularly points out, the son of a Slovenian immigrant.
“It has been a deep honor to serve the constituents of Ward 3 and the City of Cleveland these past 18 years on
Cleveland City Council,” Cimperman said in a Global Cleveland release. “With this experience and a heart of service I am truly excited to join the Global Cleveland team and to continue its critical economic, community, and human development work of making our city and region ever stronger."
Council President Kevin Kelley, who has often praised Cimperman's work as the Health and Human Services chair, was effusive in his comments.
“There is no one with a bigger heart for the less fortunate in our community than Joe Cimperman,” Kelley said in a statement released by the city. “Joe’s energy, passion and grassroots work has consistently brought about positive changes.”
Mayor Jackson, too, bid the fast-talking councilman farewell.
“I congratulate Global Cleveland for a very good choice in selecting Joe Cimperman,” he said. "Joe has always shown great passion and compassion in standing with both the immigrant and refugee populations here in Cleveland. His work ethic and leadership speak volumes to his capabilities."
Stay tuned for updates. Maybe under Cimperman's watch, the word "immigrant" might actually appear in Global Cleveland's mission statement, or in their "vision," or in their "goals."