We sympathize. Although the ballot proposal, written by some Democratic politicians and Republican businessmen, would give Cuyahoga County a brand-new government, it’s 28 pages long, and it reads kind of stiff. So we figured it needed an editor and a ghost writer. We've cut its 11,700 words to an easily understandable 500, with our improvements in red.
CHARTER OF CUYAHOGA COUNTY
We, the people of Cuyahoga County, Ohio (wow! just like the Constitution!), desire a county government that provides for the separation of administrative and legislative powers, instead of three guys deciding everything in closed meetings, and for a more representative and accountable form of governance that will notice if someone allegedly steals $1.2 million in cash. We, the people, adopt this Charter of Cuyahoga County.
SECTION 2.01 COUNTY EXECUTIVE.
The County Executive shall be the chief executive officer of the County, like a mayor, with the power to appoint, suspend, discipline and remove all County personnel, propose budgets and veto anything the county council passes, which will either give us a better government or improve efficiency by replacing several political machines with one huge, all-powerful one.
SECTION 2.02 COMPENSATION.
The initial salary of the County Executive shall be $175,000 per year, or $30,000 more than the governor, because obviously, only losers would want this job if it paid $110K.
SECTION 3.04 COUNCIL DISTRICTS.
(1) Initial Districts. The eleven districts from which the members of the Council shall be elected at the November 2, 2010 general election are gerrymandered to elect four white Democrats, four black Democrats, and three Republicans. Everybody happy?
SECTION 3.09 POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE COUNCIL.
(12) To establish by ordinance a code of ethics, which shall guide and inform County officers and employees in a manner that will avoid conflicts of interest, self-dealing, casino chips, really good deals on home improvements, and other violations of the public trust.
SECTION 5.02 FISCAL OFFICER: POWERS, DUTIES AND QUALIFICATIONS.
(3) Qualifications. The Fiscal Officer shall be a certified public accountant and shall have had at least five years’ experience in the management of financial matters of political subdivisions, instead of being Frank Russo.
SECTION 9.01 HUMAN RESOURCE COMMISSION.
The Human Resource Commission shall be responsible for administering an efficient and economical system for the employment of persons in the public service of the County according to merit and fitness. Employment according to campaign contributions, clambake ticket sales, limo rides to Caesar's Windsor and cash bribes will be phased out over a 12-month period.
SECTION 12.03 FORFEITURE OF OFFICE.
A County elected official shall forfeit that office if the officer knowingly violates any express prohibition of this Charter, including Section 12.04 hereof;
SECTION 12.04 REPORTING OF OFFERS TO INFLUENCE OFFICIAL ACTION.
Any elected or appointed County officer who receives or who has specific and personal knowledge of any offer by any person of anything of value to be given to a County officer or employee for the purpose of influencing such officer or employee in the performance of such officer’s or employee’s official duties shall promptly report the matter or lose their job, whether they take the bait or not. Pretty badass, huh?
OFFICES ABOLISHED. THE TIM HAGAN AND PETER LAWSON JONES RETIREMENT ACT.
Officials elected to terms ending in 2012 go home two years early.