As the town braces for the post-traumatic return of LeBron James, a figure already receding into our past, a similar drama is taking place more quietly at the county building. Today, Jimmy Dimora will cast his last vote as an elected official. It's likely his last public appearance until his next federal court hearing and his trial.
Yes, the county commissioners are holding their last meeting today.
So it's probably also Peter Lawson Jones' last moment in public until his cameo on Detroit 187. And Tim Hagan's last, until the next party or cast photo with his wife, Capt. Janeway.
It's a severe anti-climax, what with county executive-elect Ed FitzGerald practically governing already. But the Big Three are pounding through a month's worth of stuff in one day, nailing down unfinished business before the new county council arrives and has to figure it all out for the first time.
They're casting 86 votes on an agenda twice that size: one vote will approve 86 more agreements, contracts, etc. Most are routine: an environmental agreement on a piece of the Flats East Bank project, renovations of the jail kitchen. A few catch the eye: $150,000 to design a bridge connecting Whiskey Island's Wendy Park to the Flats West Bank, $60,000 to Richard Blake for legal services related to the county corruption investigation.
After that comes the commissioners' last chance to talk before the cameras and, if Jimmy and Tim revert to old habits, scold the reporters in the room.
Will Dimora offer one last roaring self-defense? Will Hagan offer one last angry defense of the old county government's work? If cleveland.com is true to form, they'll post video of the commissioners' swan songs this afternoon. Update, 12/3: Here's the video.
Dimora will be spared the cavalcade of boos LeBron faces tonight. The commissioners' meeting room holds several dozen people, not 20,000, and a gavel can restore order. The two men have something in common: Clevelanders feel they betrayed the town. There's a difference, though: No one was rooting for LeBron to go away.
Update, 4:05 p.m.: Nope, no melodrama. "County commissioners bow out gracefully before governmental change," reads the headline on Jay Miller's Crain's story.
"I won't say that the two years have been hell," Jones said as the meeting ended. “What we had was a challenge."
"I resent very much Dimora and Russo," Hagan said in a press conference afterward. "I believe public service is an honorable profession." Hagan called the aides who worked for the commissioners "good and honorable people."
Dimora kept silent except to vote. As the meeting ended, he left through a side door.