HARDY ON PUBLIC COMMENT AND TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT
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Original Date: August 17, 2021 Submitted by: Friends of Michael Hardy
Cleveland, OH- - - Clevelanders for Public Comment is gaining support; Will Public Comment ever become an Ordinance or will it just achieve Rule status?
The more residents learn about the benefits of Public Comment, the more they prefer it. Despite this, questions remain. How much power will it have? Will its Rule status keep it sandbagged, moved to the side, or even voted out, eventually? Does it have a chance of ever becoming an Ordinance, which would give it real teeth?
Ward 11 City Council Candidate Michael Hardy says the city must take a bold step and fully embrace Clevelanders for Public Comment proposed ordinance, which regulates public comment. Since he announced his Candidacy, Hardy has stood firmly behind the Clevelanders for Public Comment proposed ordinance regulating Public Comment. Hardy thinks the Rule now proposed by Council does not go far enough to ensure meaningful public participation. However, Hardy believes that the spirit of Public Comment must extend beyond that ordinance and impact other ways in which the city does business.
In interviews, Hardy has emphasized his belief that residents often have a clearer insight into addressing problems than public officials. “There is a value in engaging with residents on problems. Their view is often insightful and can point public officials in the right direction. Public Comment should be looked at as an asset, not a burden.” Hardy’s steadfast support for Transparent Government has led to his proposal to create a Ward 11 specific newsletter. “My goal,” notes Hardy, “is to have a newsletter that will keep residents informed and will become a vehicle for more resident participation.”
Open Government is a particular concern for Hardy because of what recently transpired in his Ward. When former Council Member Dona Brady retired in January of 2020, she caused the appointment of now Council Member Brian Mooney. Mooney had just moved into the Ward about a year before his appointment and had run for public office in Lakewood just five months before moving to Cleveland late in 2018. The residents of Ward 11 had no say in Mr. Mooney’s appointment.
“When Council Member Mooney introduced himself, he said he worked in the County Prosecutor’s Office and had his own law practice,” says Michael Hardy. “I find it curious that in addition to running for office in Lakewood in 2018, he failed to mention that he served as a Council Member in Brook Park in the early 2000s or his other attempts to be elected for public office before 2018. That information does not appear in his literature, on his Ballotpedia page or anywhere. If Public Comment had existed, the residents would have been able to ask questions of Mr. Mooney.”
Hardy says he became more curious about Mr. Mooney’s prior experience because Mooney seemed so evasive about it when he was questioned about his background during The Plain Dealer endorsement interview. Hardy explains, “I want to be clear about this. I like to keep things positive, but I think the public should know about a Candidate that seems to move from place to place in an attempt to be elected.”
City Council Members will vote Wednesday, Aug. 18, on whether to allow public comment at regular city council meetings.
Posted on 23 Aug 2021, 22:45 - Category: Transparent Government