August 12, 2014 Cuyahoga County Council meeting:
Statement regarding Inspector General and Voting Rights Charter Amendments
Good evening. My name is Maryann Barnes. I am president of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland (LWVGC).
We are here to urge your support for two proposed charter amendments now before council, one to protect voting rights and a second to make permanent the independent office of Inspector General. These amendments address core issues that are near and dear to the mission of the League of Women Voters: voter participation and good government.
I will speak to the Inspector General amendment first. Rather than repeat policy points League has made before, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that, five years ago in all 59 Cuyahoga County municipalities, voters supported a new county government to end the insider, patronage way of doing county business, which had led to a good deal of waste and corruption. A code of ethics and enforcement of this code by an Inspector General is an essential tool to provide voters the clean, efficient county government they deserve.
Each of you expresses support for the office of the Inspector General but some of you balk at the opportunity to make this independent ethics enforcement office permanent by guaranteeing the Inspector General’s status as a mandated charter office.
Please consider what message your NO vote on this amendment would send to citizens who support continuing county government reform. Each of you must assure them and us that recent progress in cleaning up county government will go forward into the future, by guaranteeing continued enforcement of the code of ethics through an independent Inspector General. We urge you to vote YES on this proposal.
Second, the proposed voting rights amendment should be approved in its entirety simply because it is the right thing to do. If home rule powers are later judged to be insufficient to overrule the secretary of state, at least our county will have tried and, in doing do, will have made a significant statement about the importance of both protecting and promoting the vote for all of Cuyahoga County’s citizens.
Your vote on these amendments will send a message to voters about your values regarding good government and basic rights. League urges you to vote yes to putting both of these charter amendments before the voter.
Thank you for giving us this opportunity to speak.
For more information contact Lynda Mayer, LWVGC Vice President and Program Chair: LBMayer57@gmail.com; (216) 371-5532.