June 20, 2016 •

New Ethics Rules Take Effect in Cuyahoga County

The Cuyahoga County Council recently updated the county’s code of ethics to clarify the ethical rights, responsibilities, and prohibitions applicable to elected officials, employees, board members, contractors, and lobbyists. New provisions include, but are not limited to, a new lobbyist […]

Cuyahoga County SealThe Cuyahoga County Council recently updated the county’s code of ethics to clarify the ethical rights, responsibilities, and prohibitions applicable to elected officials, employees, board members, contractors, and lobbyists.

New provisions include, but are not limited to, a new lobbyist registration threshold, a new lobbyist reporting requirement, updated gift rules with a presumption of influence standard, and a lower monetary contract threshold for contractor registration and ethics training.

A summary of the changes to the ethics laws and a copy of the ordinance are available for review on the county inspector general’s website. The ordinance became effective May 27.

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October 15, 2014 •

FitzGerald Proposes Amendment Clarifying County Contracting Ban

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald proposed an amendment at Tuesday’s County Council meeting seeking to clarify the county’s code in light of an independent county board ruling. The Debarment Review Board, a panel largely made up of FitzGerald appointees, effectively […]

Cuyahoga County SealCuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald proposed an amendment at Tuesday’s County Council meeting seeking to clarify the county’s code in light of an independent county board ruling. The Debarment Review Board, a panel largely made up of FitzGerald appointees, effectively shortened the county contracting ban for a former contractor convicted of corruption.

The board ruled William Neiheiser’s ban should have begun the day he was convicted of bribery in July 2011 and run through July 2016. County Inspector General Nailah Byrd imposed the ban from June 2014 to June 2019.

FitzGerald’s proposed amendment stipulates contracting bans are to begin the day they are publicly handed down by the county inspector general enforcing the policy.

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July 3, 2013 •

Contribution Limits Could Be Coming for Cuyahoga County, Ohio Candidates

Voters could decide this November

Cuyahoga County OhioCuyahoga County voters may decide to enact campaign finance limits for county candidates if the issue appears on the ballot this November.

A charter review commission presented 15 proposed charter amendments to the County Council, including a requirement for the council to enact campaign finance limits and donor disclosure requirements for elected officials.

The proposed amendments must receive eight council votes to make it on the ballot.

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March 27, 2012 •

Cuyahoga County Advisory Opinion Clarifies Ethics Ordinance

Charitable event tickets subject to the gift law limits.

Map of Ohio highlighting Cuyahoga CountyThe Cuyahoga County Inspector General, Nailah Byrd, has issued an advisory opinion (IGADV-0005) regarding whether a public official or employee’s acceptance of a ticket to a charitable fundraising event violates any provision of the ethics ordinance.

The opinion states that while the ethics ordinance does not explicitly prohibit the acceptance of a ticket, it does require certain conditions to be met.

A charitable event ticket given by a lobbyist or contractor must not include an extravagant or lavish meal, entertainment of significant value, or a fair market value price exceeding $75.

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July 26, 2011 •

Social Media Now Employed by Cuyahoga County Council

New tools for engagement, transparency, and public access

Cuyahoga County, OhioAmid declining web traffic and engagement, Cuyahoga County Council has turned to social media as a way to better engage its constituents.

Today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer features “Cuyahoga County Council streams meetings, turns to social media” by Harlan Spector. The article reveals that the Cuyahoga County Council is now on Facebook, has a Twitter account, and offers live video streaming of council meetings.

I also found a county government YouTube channel and separate Facebook.

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July 19, 2011 •

Cuyahoga County to Hold Additional Vendor Ethics Training Sessions

Will be offered for various service providers

map of Ohio with Cuyahoga County highlightedThe Cuyahoga County Executive and Inspector General, in collaboration with the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio have announced plans to offer additional vendor ethics training courses.

The first vendor ethics course was offered for construction vendors only. Training sessions will soon be scheduled for health and human services providers, professional services providers, and miscellaneous service providers.

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September 2, 2010 •

Proposed Cuyahoga County Ethics Code to Be Debated

A draft ethics code for the new Cuyahoga County government will be the subject of a public meeting later this month.

The proposed Cuyahoga County ethics code is the product of a review conducted by a working group of volunteers who reviewed the ethics practices of 13 similar counties. The proposed code includes provisions for lobbyist registration and reporting, campaign finance disclosure, and “pay-to-play” provisions for public contracts.

The code calls for a new five person entity called the Cuyahoga County Ethics Board which will oversee ethics education and enforcement as well as a County Ethics Officer who would be empowered to render advisory opinions, process and initiate ethics complaints, and conduct investigations.

Finally, the new code provides for whistleblower protection for county employees who report suspected illegal or unethical conduct.

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July 16, 2010 •

Proposed Campaign Finance Reform in Cuyahoga County

Mason submits campaign finance and lobbying recommendations for new Cuyahoga County Government.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason and the Campaign Finance Reform Committee, which convened in March 2010 to study campaign finance reform issues in Cuyahoga County, have announced four recommendations that will be forwarded to the new Cuyahoga County government due to take office on January 1, 2011. The recommendations include the establishment of an electronic filing system for campaign finance reports, the establishment of a lobbyist registry for Cuyahoga County, and the establishment of campaign contribution limits for county-wide offices. Finally, the committee recommends the new county government adopt a Clean Elections Act which would implement a voluntary, publicly funded campaign financing option for candidates for Cuyahoga County offices. Mason hopes the new county government will take up the recommendations quickly once it takes office next year.

Here are some resources for further reading:

Cuyahoga County Charter Transition Advisory Group Web site

New campaign finance rules proposed for Cuyahoga County, by Kevin Niedermier at WKSU

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason announces campaign finance reforms, by Laura Johnston at the Cleveland Plain Dealer

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