2014 CE P Reid, Bob

2014 CE P Reid, Bob

Biographical information forthcoming.  In the meantime, the candidate's information is available on his web site.  Follow this link.  

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 Sheriff for 2009 and 2010, when it was still an elected position.  Very brief report since I had no fund raisers as the elected Sheriff (elected by the Democratic Party precinct committee in May 2009)

2. Did you attend any type of ethics training relating to holding or campaigning for public office?

Yes, attended a class given by the Buckeye state Sheriff’s Assoc. in 2009, also mandatory training given by the county in 2011 after being appointed Sheriff.

3. 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.

4. 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.

Yes, As the sitting Sheriff, I would be named in any law suit that was brought against the Sheriff’s office by prisoners.  I believe there were three cases, all being dismissed without judgment, and one present case brought by an employee who was fired.

5. 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.

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

I have an experienced campaign treasurer that has been involved in campaigns for 25 years, she’s very knowledgeable. I personally review all donations to the campaign. 

7. Do you intend to support and maintain the office of County Inspector General?

YES. When Ed FitzGerald appointed Naiela Byrd as the IG, I was one of the first appointed officials the IG reached out to.  We provided investigators to her office, as well as some initial direction.  Ms Byrd is a fast learner and the office became relatively independent before long.  We met with the IG on a weekly basis to review cases and exchange intelligence.  I would absolutely keep the IG’s office.

B.        Transparency

9. What steps do you believe can be taken at the county level to make access to public records easier? 

As a previous police chief and then city manager in the City of Bedford, I had a very open policy on public records.  Unless the record involved an ongoing criminal case, or involved union negotiations or civil suit, the documents were released.  I will continue that policy as county executive.  This administration has done a pretty good job in transparency.

10.  What steps do you believe can be taken to make campaign finance reports more transparent/easily accessible to the public? 

The reports seemed to be accessible to the public, through the board of elections and secretary of state’s office.  I would look at filed complaints with the executive’s office to further open records if those complaints deserved merit.

11.  Please identify the top three contributors to your campaign and how much each has contributed.

Ed Lozick, COB Swagelok ($2500), Tony George (entrepreneur) $1800, Sam Miller, (Forest City) $1,000.

12.  What steps do you believe can be taken to make the operation of the county government more transparent?

The administration has done a good job in the past three years with the county website and pending legislation, as well as committee reports.  Again, I would review any complaints for merit.  I firmly believe that a highly transparent government is a better one.

C.        Efficiency

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

I believe the present administration has done a good job in many areas, but much improvement in others.  The present chief of staff has met one time with the president of council in the past three years, unacceptable. Many ideas, and county executive introduced legislation is seldom reviewed with council before it’s presented, again unacceptable.  When large budget issues are in the planning stage, council should be an integral part from the beginning.  I would greatly open up the lines of communication between the executive’s office and county council.  I believe the lines of communications between the executive’s office and the 59 mayors/managers can be improved.  The executive should attend the monthly mayors/managers meeting to share issues and listen to problems in the communities.  The executive should never be too busy to attend these meetings.  Secondly, the executive should attend local council meetings when available.  As a former city manager, I don’t believe we ever has a commissioner attend a council meeting in my ten years as cm.  I think it’s important for the relationship of the county executive and the 59 communities in Cuyahoga County.

14.  Describe any specific areas where you believe it would be beneficial for local governments to consolidate services through the county government.

What they’re doing with emergency service dispatch centers is an excellent start and should have been done years ago.  I believe these centers will save money and be more efficient.  We should take the next steps in consolidating Fire Departments.  FD’s that have the same equipment and are next door to each other is a tremendous waste of tax payer’s money.  A $750,000 piece of equipment should be shared by 5-6 communities, as well as manpower.  When you look at the supervisory positions in these departments, where you have three firefights and a Lt. scheduled, it doesn’t make fiscal sense.  Most departments are “brass heavy” and could be consolidated saving resources.  Many, many areas can be consolidated without the communities losing their identities and history.  It’s important that they don’t.

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

I am very open to issues involving regionalism and believe the county should be the catalyst. 

D.        Competence

16.  Have you ever run for public office? If so, please identify the office and the date of the election.

I was a police officer in the City of Bedford for 25 years, serving in many capacities, the last 11 as Chief of Police.  I was invited to attend the FBI National Academy in 1992, a prestigious school that only 1% of law enforcement in the country attends.  I was appointed city manager in the City of Bedford in 2000, one of only two communities in Cuyahoga County to have a city manager form of government.  A 32 million dollar operation, with 150 full time employees and another 150 part-time.  I remained City Manager for 9 ½ years when asked to become the county sheriff by the Democratic Party.  The Sheriff’s Office has over a thousand employees, and the largest budget (92m) in the county general fund.  I restored honesty and integrity to an office that had lost direction and saved the county taxpayers 19 million dollars in the operation of the corrections center alone.  It was a tremendous challenge, but firmly believe I left the office much better than I found it.

17.  What public offices have you held? When?

Police officer/chief of Police 1975 to 2000, city manager 2000-2009, and county sheriff from 2009-2013.

18.  Describe your experience in administering or managing an organization, and provide details relating to the size and nature of the organization.

Answered in question D, also see my resume.

19.  Have you participated in preparing a budget for a business, government organization, or non-profit organization?  If so, please generally describe that experience.

As chief of police in Bedford, I was responsible for the 3 ½ million dollar budget for the police department, then the 32 million dollar budget as the city manager in Bedford.  As the county sheriff, 2009 thru 2013, I, along with our fiscal staff were responsible for the 92 million dollar budget.  Creating the budget is a real challenge, but staying within that budget is equally challenging.  I was always austerity minded in all my positions and built up a 7 million dollar “rainy day” fund in Bedford, working as a team with city council.

20.  Have you dealt with public finance issues (i.e.  predicting tax revenues, bond issuance, etc.) in any prior position?  Describe your experience in public finance. If such experience is limited, please describe related experience.

As city manager in the City of Bedford, I worked very closely with the appointed Finance Director.  We worked on the budget for 12 weeks before presentation, with predicting tax revenues as an integral part.  I was involved in two occasions in the issuance of bonds, once in 2002 for 12 million to build the new municipal complex and 2006 when we refinanced those bonds.  As city manager, I worked monthly with the finance director and department heads in the balancing of the budget.

21.  Do you have any experience relating to accounting; if yes, please describe.

As a Business Management graduate (BBA) from Cleveland State University, I took many accounting classes, but had little hands on as city manager or sheriff, except in the reading of a balance sheet.

22.  Have you ever held a public position in which you held public meetings? If so, describe that position and your role.

YES.  As city manager, we held six public meetings (each ward) a year, as well as the state of the city address every year.  I would organize and coordinate all these issues along with council president and each council member for that ward.  I attended most of the County Executives town hall meetings and answered questions relevant to the sheriff’s office. 

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

NO.

24.  In any prior position, have you developed, implemented or been in charge of enforcing an ethics policy for employees? If so, please describe.

When I first became sheriff, I changed many standing practices and put all in writing as an ethics policy.  When the new government came in (2011), the ethics policy was standardized for the whole county.

25.  Have you ever held a public position where you managed employees who were subject to civil service laws.  When?  Where?

YES.  As chief of police, city manager and county sheriff.  As chief of police and city manager I met with the civil service commission every quarter to review testing and policy.  In the sheriff’s office, we had 13 union bargaining units, which outlined issues historically done by civil service.  Well versed in all civil service issues.

26.  Have you ever held a public or private position where you managed employees who were subject to a collective bargaining agreement?  When, Where?

YES.  In the early 1980’s I was president of the Union (FOP/Police) and negotiated many contracts for unions members.  As city manager in the City of Bedford, I was the hands on negotiator for the city for all four unions.  As county sheriff, we had 13 union bargaining units, and a full time lawyer that negotiated these contracts.  As the elected sheriff (2009-2010) I made all final decisions on union contracts and grievances.  Having been on both sides of the table, I had the respect of the unions and the knowledge of management to negotiate fair and equitable contracts.

E.         Policy

27.  What philosophy will you follow in appointing leadership positions within county government?

My philosophy as chief of police, city manager, and county sheriff as always been to promote from within whenever possible.  I’ve found that staff/employees work harder and more efficient if they believe hard work will pay off with a promotion.  I’ve always been empathetic in these areas.  I would not want to work hard for a position, and have someone brought in from the outside, less qualified, to fill that position.  I demonstrated that as city manager and most recently as sheriff.  Most of the leadership positions in the sheriff’s office were filled from within the organization.  This not only helped in expertise, but morale.  There are times however that some positions must be filled from the outside when certain management technique is needed or technical qualifications.

As county executive I would continue this philosophy.  I know it’s difficult in a political environment, but I would give county staff every opportunity to succeed.

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

I met with Mayor Jackson in July of 2013 and spoke to him about the lakefront development and the plan he and planning director Chris Warren had for the 90 acres north of First Energy Stadium.  I think it’s an excellent plan and would support it.  I think it’s important to remember that the county should work with, not dictate to, mayors and councils in these communities for the development within their cities.  I believe that’s where my experience as a city manager comes in.  I wouldn’t want the county to come into my community and tell me what they’re going to do, but better say what can we do to facilitate your goals and objectives.  That’s where this municipal experience plays a vital role.

29.  What steps do you believe county government can take to promote business development?

Again, working with the mayors/managers and council of the 59 communities is vitally important. What resources do these communities need to attract business and industry.  The county has an excellent brownfield redevelopment division that works closely with communities in our county.  I firmly believe that foreign manufacturing insourcing is vitally important to our county.  We should be working harder to attract foreign manufactures to our area, that has and  will have cheaper energy (natural gas), water, and experienced work force.  Look at the investment of companies like Siemans, Rolls Royce, BI Roxanne, and many others have done for the State of Ohio, we should be doing better and as county executive it will be top priority.   

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

Educate the work force.  We have ten thousand jobs in Cuyahoga county TODAY that are going unfilled for lack of experienced labor.  We have outstanding academic institutions that we should be working closer.  As county executive we will have a liaison between government and our institutions to promote better coordination.

31.  Do you believe that the County Charter provides an appropriate balance of power between the County Executive and the County Council?  Please explain your response.

Not in many areas.  I believe the county sheriff should have further protection.  The county executive should not be able to fire the county sheriff without explanation as in my case.  A majority of county council should have to concur with the county executive’s decision to fire, just as they have to confirm to hire.  The sheriff’s position is much different than a chief of police position in a large city.  The sheriff is responsible for investigations county wide, involving corrupt politicians, contracts, and many other delicate areas.  The county executive should not have the power to fire without agreement from council.  This is only one area, where a balance of power should be reviewed.

32.  Did you support Issue 3 on last November’s ballot?  Please explain why you did or did not support that issue.

Yes, I supported issue 3.  For the most part, those appointed to serve on these boards do an outstanding job and work hard to be impartial, BUT I believed Issue 3 added another level of the balance of power between the executive and council.  The executive is responsible for all terminations and suspensions.  Having he or her appoint the members of the Human Resource Board (Personnel Review) sends a negative message to those appealing these actions, that they will not get a fair review.  The charter is still a work in progress, I think this was right move on the part of the voters. 

33.  Do you support the renewal of the Sin Tax? Please explain your position.

YES.  They’re our facilities, i.e. the tax payers own these arenas.  If the voters decide not to support the sin tax, it comes out of city and county treasury, which we shouldn’t do at the present time.  In the future, if things get better and surplus grows, maybe we should explore other ways to reduce taxes in Cuyahoga County.  We are the highest taxed county in the state and should research ways to reduce this disincentive to locate in Cuyahoga County.  Pass the tax in May, look at other ways to reduce taxes in the years to come.

34.  Please identify and generally explain your top three public policy goals

  1.  Continue the transparency and integrity building that we’ve experienced in the last three years.  The last thing Cuyahoga County needs is another scandal to disrupt the momentum.
  2. Education:  Work with our school systems and early childhood development must be a top priority.
  3. Economic development and job creation is a must if we’re going to reduce the population loss we’ve experience over the past ten years.