Cleveland Public Utilities Director Robert Davis to Resign


Robert Davis, Cleveland's Director of Public Utilities (2017-2021) - COURTESY CITY OF CLEVELAND
  • Courtesy City of Cleveland
  • Robert Davis, Cleveland's Director of Public Utilities (2017-2021)
Cleveland's Director of Public Utilities, Robert Davis, will resign from his cabinet-level position next week, the city has announced.

The tidbit was included in Cleveland's daily coronavirus press briefing Wednesday evening and provided no context or explanation for the sudden departure. A generic statement from Mayor Frank Jackson accompanied the news.

“I want to thank Robert for his service to the City of Cleveland,” Jackson said. “His work has helped advance our efforts to provide reliable and affordable utility services to residents and business.”

Davis chimed in with a personal farewell, too.

“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to have provided essential and critical utility services to our customers at an affordable cost,” he said. “I was able to help do this while focusing on good quality customer service to make the city of Cleveland a great place to live work and raise a family. The City of Cleveland is truly a great city.”

Davis was appointed by Jackson in 2015 after serving as the city of Warren's director of utility services. In fact, Davis has been a resident of Warren for the duration of his tenure in Cleveland. In a minor 2017 scandal, News Channel 5 documented his daily 120-mile round-trip commute, (in a vehicle paid for by CPP ratepayers.) He still owns his home in Warren, according to Trumbull county property records.

The focus on "good quality customer service" is an odd one for Davis to highlight on his way out. Last year,'s Leila Atassi reported that CPP had no standing board of review — as required by city ordinance — to hear appeals from customers disputing charges and payments. And last month, Frank Jackson lifted a moratorium on utilities shutoffs as Covid-19's spread was at its most severe, when roughly 90,000 Cleveland Water customers and 28,5000 CPP customers were behind on their payments. 

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Public Power, when reached for comment, said that CPP staff had not yet been formally made aware of Davis' pending resignation. His last day will be next Friday.

The city of Cleveland was unable to furnish additional information beyond the press release, though they did provide a copy of Davis' resignation memo, dated Jan. 4. In it, he listed recent achievements at the Division of Water, Cleveland Public Power and Water Pollution Control. He gave no reasons for his departure, but noted that 2020 had been a "unique year with numerous challenges" due to Covid-19.

"I just want to make it known that throughout this unprecedented year," he wrote, "[Utilities] employees have shown strength of spirit during this time. They have all demonstrated what teamwork truly is." 

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