2014 CC9 P Ruffner, Lynn

2014 CC9 Ruffner, Lynn

Video Interview

Follow this link to review The Citizens League's interview with Ms. Ruffner.  We will post the entire thirty minute interview after we resolve a technical issue.

Biographical Information.

I.          Personal Information

Name:   Lynn Ruffner

Date of Birth and Age on Election Day:01/1/8/56  58 years old

Political Party Affiliation: Democrat 

Home Address:  Shaker Heights, Ohio

Spouse/Significant Other:

Children: One son.

Social/Civic/Club Affiliations:

                                 President, Suburban Black Elected Officials

1987 to present            Cuyahoga County Committee for Persons with Disabilities.  Included service as Chairperson.

                                    Chair, Fair Housing Review Board, City of Shaker Heights

Present                         Member, Shaker Heights League of Women Voters

                                    First Vice President Shaker Democratic Club

Present                         Member, Shaker Heights Development Corporation

                                    President, Parent Teacher Organization, Shaker Heights School District, at Fernway, Woodbury and Middle Schools, and District-wide in 2002-2003.

                                    Founding Board Member, Shaker Family Center

1997 to 1998               Consultant, Mid America Consulting (training Dept. of Human Svc. staff)

II.        Educational History

Cleveland State University, BA, Communications, 1980

Cleveland State University, M.Ed., 1991

Coach University, graduate, 2002

Walden University, doctoral studies

Utah State University, Rehabilitation Counselor Education, (four courses completed since 1998)

III.       Professional Background

2013 to present            Clerk of Council, Village of Highland Hills

2007 to present            Adjust Professor, Ashford University

1994 to present            Owner, Access*Ability Consultants

1992 to present            Training Consultant, Foster Parenting, Cuyahoga County Dept. of                                                          Human Svc.

1991 to present            Instructor, Lakeland Community College

1981 to 2009               Employer Services Specialist, Rehabilitation Services Commission

IV.       Criminal Record and Court Involvement

Criminal Record: None found in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas.

Civil Litigation:

State of Ohio Department of Taxation v Lynn M. Ruffner, Case No. JL-2014-669592 ($223.29 lien.  Ms. Ruffner reports that she has paid this lien.)

Lynn Ruffner et al. v. Sondra Hardis et al, Case No. CV-1998- 323952 (plaintiff in motor vehicle case)

Lynn Ruffner et al. v. American Building Maintenance, Case No. CV-1999- 379936 (plaintiff in misc. tort case)

Bankruptcies: Research in progress.

Ethical Issues: Research in progress.

V.        Campaign Information

Campaign Address: 3715 Warrensville Center Road, Shaker Heights, Ohio

Campaign Officers/Participants:Bonnie Williams, Treasurer

Prior Campaigns: 2005 (won), 2009 (won) and 2013 (lost) Shaker Council

Prior Elected Offices:

2006 to 2013               City Council, Shaker Heights.  Included service as Vice-Mayor (2012-2013)

Campaign Endorsements/Affiliations

Earl Leiken, Mayor, Shaker Heights, Former Mayor Judy Rawson, Shaker Heights, Mayor Robert Nash Village of Highland Hills, Mayor Charles Smith Village of Woodmere, Shaker Heights Democratic Club , City Leader Shaker Heights Lisa Jones, City Leader Bedford Heights Clyde Carter, Highland Hills Council President Lillian Moore, Highland Hills Councilwoman Patricia DeBerry, Shaker Heights Council members Earl Williams and Nancy Moore, Shaker Heights School Board member Annette Sutherland

 

Response to Questionnaire

A.        Integrity

1 Have you ever held a position, public or private, where you were required to report gifts made to you or expenditures made on your behalf?  When, where?

Yes, as Councilperson and Vice Mayor for the City of Shaker Heights.

2 In the last five years, have you been a party to any civil law suit?  If yes, please provide the case name and nature of the suit.

No.

3 Have you ever been convicted of a crime, other than a minor misdemeanor?  If yes, please provide the year and jurisdiction of the conviction.

No.

4 What steps have you taken to ensure that your campaign is complying with Ohio Campaign Finance law?

I have hired a political consultant and treasurer who has monitored my campaign every step of the way to ensure I am complying with Ohio Campaign Finance law.

5 Has a complaint ever been filed against you, or any campaign committee acting on your behalf, in the Ohio Elections Commission, or Federal Elections Commission?

No.

6 Prior to this campaign, have you campaigned for elected office?  If so, please identify the date, the office, and the outcome. 

City Council of Shaker Heights in 2005- Won

City Council of Shaker Heights 2009- Won

City Council of Shaker Heights 2013- Lost

7 Please identify the top three contributors to your campaign, how much you have raised thus far, how much you intend to raise, and how much you have spent thus far on your campaign.

To this point, major fundraising has not begun. However, I intend to raise $15,000-$20,000 for this race.

B.        Transparency

8 What steps can be taken at the county level to make access to public records easier?

In addition to what the current County Council and the County Executive have initiated, I would post any legislation that I am sponsoring and co-sponsoring on my own website that way my constituents can clearly see how I am representing them.

9 What steps can be taken to make the operations of county government more transparent?

In my role as a County Councilwoman, I can make more of an effort to go to my community about the operations that occur at the county. By having direct contact with constituents by emails, newsletters, web site and social media etc., I will be able to increase the transparency.  Also, I would encourage community members to attend the meetings and offer a “Know Your County Government workshop”.

10 If elected, what steps would you take to improve citizen engagement and to communicate critical information to your constituents?

I think the most important thing is to continue to go to community events and meetings as I did when I was on city council and campaigning for this position. The face to face interaction with your constituents is essential.  Offer regional town hall meetings for the citizens in addition to maintaining a presence in the social media.

C.        Efficiency

11 What steps do you believe could be taken to improve cooperation and between county government and other local governments?

I think an understanding of the local issues is the most critical step of improvement that is needed. By continuing constant contact with local Mayors and City Councils, I will gain a greater understanding of what their needs are as well as be able to articulate those needs to the County Executive and my colleagues on County Council.  Also, I want to form a regional quarterly “think tank” of local Mayors and city representatives to discuss the issues they are facing and offer the assistance of county government.

12 Please generally describe your position on the issue of regionalism.

I believe regionalism should be in place where it fits. Comprehensive studies and a detailed understanding of consolidated services should take place before any municipality chooses to make that move. Local municipalities can begin by taking part in more of the regional efforts the county government has established.  Also, we can continue to support more joint efforts of communities in purchasing, services and other areas.  I am in favor of the joint dispatch services and even joint core services when it is feasible.

13 After four years of the new county government, can you identify any areas or programs that you believe could be run more efficiently?

I think that getting legislation passed and getting dollars back to the communities faster is an area where county government struggles. I have talked to many administrations in district 9 and their biggest issue is their grant money is stuck at the county level.  Also, there is a need for a public awareness campaign regarding this new form of government.  I have talked with many residents who do not know or understand the function of County Council.

14 In what way(s) would you improve that relationship between the Executive and Council?

I think a general understanding of the roles is essential. The Executive is in place to execute the laws passed by the County Council. In my role as a County Councilwoman, I plan to help pass laws that the executive can execute and be mindful of the constituency I represent. The more that we try not to blur those lines, the more efficient the government can operate.

D.        Competence

15 Aside from your campaigns for County Council, have you ever run for public office? If so, please identify the office and the date of the election. 

City Council of Shaker Heights in 2005- Won

City Council of Shaker Heights 2009- Won

City Council of Shaker Heights 2013- Lost

16 Aside from your current position, what public offices have you held? When?

Vice Mayor for the City of Shaker Heights (2012-2013) and two four year terms (2006-2013) councilwoman for the City of Shaker Heights.

17Have you, or any business in which you held more than a 50% interest, ever filed for bankruptcy.  When, where?

No.

18 In your opinion, which aspects of your education and experience prepared you to serve on County Council?

My qualifications for the office include 8 years on City Council in the Shaker Heights (2 years spent as Vice Mayor), 12 years prior to City Council in leadership roles in the Shaker Community ie. Parent Teacher Organization, Leadership and Citizen’s Police Academy, 26 years of (non paid position) chairing a County Executive’s Council for Persons with Disabilities, a 2013 Fellow of the Democratic Leadership Institute (where I was formally trained as a public administrator), President of the Suburban Black Elected Officials organization, the 1st Vice President of the Shaker Heights Democratic Club, and member of the Executive committee of the Cuyahoga County Democrats.  Member of the League of Women Voters and the Cuyahoga County Women’s Democratic Caucus.

Currently, I have a Master’s Degree from Cleveland State University, Doctoral Studies from Walden University in Human Services Administration.  I worked 30 years for the State of Ohio as a Licensed Professional Counselor.

E.         Policy

19 What steps do you believe county government can take to take advantage of Cuyahoga County’s lake front?

I think the County government should continue to support the City of Cleveland in their development plans. The City of Cleveland has been the leader on this project since it started so I believe we should continue to support Cleveland and continue to follow the recommendations of Economic Development Director Larry Benders.

20 In your opinion, what is the single most important thing county government can do to promote economic development?

The single most important thing county government can do is to ensure that the federal and state funds do not get tied down at the county level. The county should do what it can to approve contracts and legislation to get the funds to local municipalities as fast and efficient as possible. The ground work for economic development is done at the municipal level so it’s important the county does everything it can to get that money to the municipalities.

21 Do you believe that the powers of County Council should be expanded to enhance its ability to check and balance the authority of the County Executive?

To be honest, that is tough question to answer until I sit in the seat of a County Council person. I learned from my experience as a councilwoman in Shaker Heights the platform is not always feasible once you are in the council seat. Enhancements of understanding can often times make you realize that certain things aren’t possible. With that said, I think I need to gain experience in the seat before answering this question.

22 Did you support Issue 3 on the November 2013 ballot? Why or why not?

Issue 3 did a fine job in clarifying the language of the charter.  The part of the issue changing the appointing role to the Legislative body seems unnecessary since County Council must confirm those appointments.

23 Do you support the renewal of the sin tax? Why or why not?

Yes, I do. When we talk about improving economic development, the three professional sports franchises are at the heart of that development. The local restaurants and stores in downtown Cleveland will take a tremendous hit without these sporting franchises. Therefore, I think it’s essential as an elected official to protect these people and ensure they are prosperous. Also, it is known that if the sin tax is not renewed the money will have to come from the County’s operating fund.