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Cuyahoga County Executive

Term: 4 yearsSalary: $175,000Current County Executive Armond Budish, a Democrat, is not running for a third term. Democrat Chris Ronayne, of Cleveland, won his party s primary in May and will face Republican Lee Weingart, of Shaker Heights, in November. Weingart ran unopposed in his party s May primary. Also running for County Executive are two write-in candidates: Mckenzie Levindofske of Lakewood and Christopher Michael Litwinowicz of Euclid. To vote for either write-in candidate, a voter must write the candidate s name on the ballot.

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    Mckenzie Levindofske (write-in)

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    Christopher Michael Litwinowicz (write-in)

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    Chris Ronayne

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    Lee Weingart

Biographical Information

Should county officials across the state lobby Ohio legislators to increase the state's Local Government Fund to help pay for county services and programs?

Can you envision new regional initiatives to help struggling municipalities in the county, municipalities that are unable to raise the funding they need to provide city services?

Discuss the best methods of making sure old patterns of corruption don’t seep into county government. What measures do you support to make sure that doesn't happen?

Do you consider spending for a new jail or for a repurposed Global Health Center to be warranted or not--and why?

What is your opinion of a previously proposed charter amendment to switch from partisan to nonpartisan elections of county council members and the county executive?

Education BA University at Buffalo
Current employer private contractor
Residence municipality Lakewood
Campaign HQ address 14811 Hilliard Rd.
Campaign email address
Campaign phone 2163875447
No, it's not appropriate to charge state residents from other counties for things that are specific to this county. I would prefer paying less state tax since based on this question, it seems like tax money is already being sent to counties which have paid officials lobbying for it.
Yes, I would set up a consulting team which would meet with municipal leaders in struggling communities to educate them on how they can better manage their municipalities in regards to finances, public safety, and city services.
1. Establish a voting records database that can be accessed by voters to make certain votes were registered correctly. 2. Remove ballot requirements for candidates which favor wealthy political insiders such as signature requirements. 3. Remove elected officials ability to invest, do business, or make money based on the policies they implement. 4. Implement term limits for all elected officials. 5. There is no "seeping of old ways". The government is permanently corrupt. Even the election process is like a trick game at a carnival that makes you believe you can win. Even if elections were authentic, the elected people in power have all been implementing the same illogical policies so what is the difference?
If somehow I am elected, I'll review the county finances to see if we can afford those things. Currently we have a jail and the health center seems like an expensive medical museum but I will consider it. There are numerous other issues that deserve consideration for financing from the county which I will also consider in making these decisions.
I am an independent so I prefer non-partisan elections as long as this isn't some trick to give an edge to establishment candidates.
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Age 54
Education Masters of Urban Planning and Development, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University; Bachelors of Science, Miami University
Current employer I was most recently the President of University Circle Inc. (UCI), a non-profit community service corporation. I stepped down from the position in 2021 to launch my campaign for County Executive.
Residence municipality Cleveland
Campaign HQ address PO Box 602425, Cleveland, OH 44102
Campaign email address
Campaign phone 440-253-9431
Campaign Twitter Handle @@chrisronayne
Ohio’s Local Government Fund provides critical funding for Cuyahoga County’s communities. Cuts to that Fund have devastated local budgets over the last decade, and local governments are operating with about $1 billion less, adjusted for inflation, compared to 2011. I believe that county officials across Ohio need to lobby state legislators to increase the state’s Local Government Fund to support critical services and programs for Cuyahoga County residents. As County Executive, I will advocate for the restoration of Local Government Funds.
I have proposed several initiatives that will help support struggling municipalities. First, I announced a Payment in Lieu of Taxes proposal to fund a new Community Health Impact Fund to address health disparities across the county. Nonprofit entities that own more than $750 million in property in Cuyahoga County would be asked to contribute to the fund which could generate up to $39 million each year to support Cuyahoga County communities.

I'm also proposing an aggressive shared services agenda to reduce costs for our communities. I will pursue shared purchasing across municipalities to reduce costs, I will create a commercial land bank to assemble land across municipal borders to support economic and community development and I will broker tax sharing agreements between communities to avoid a race to the bottom on tax incentives to retain and grow jobs.

Finally, I will work to open up data and resources from County government to our 59 communities to reduce municipal costs.
Cuyahoga County residents have lost faith in County government. It’s time to deliver the better county government the voters demanded over a decade ago. We deserve an honest, effective, accountable government for a change. As County Executive, I will restore confidence in County government by hiring an effective management team and making County government work smarter, better, and more efficiently. I will clean up lingering scandals, hire people based on qualifications, end contracting problems, and make sure everyone in county government plays by the rules. I will conduct an audit, verified by an external team, that will report on County spending, outcomes, and service gaps. I will institute a “CountyStat” system that will map and collect data on all government functions. CountyStat will include targets for agency performance and will indicate whether a performance indicator is trending in the right or wrong direction. All this information will be available as a public-facing dashboard. I will make all public spending, including contracts and procurement, available to the public in an easily searchable database. Finally, I will establish a robust Ombudsman’s Office to make county services more accessible to seniors, children, and families; expand outreach and referrals so residents can get help finding county services; and engage with appropriate community-based partners. The sooner we can deliver the right services the better for both clients and taxpayers.

The renovation of the Cuyahoga County Justice Center or construction of a new County Jail will be one of the most significant and costly decisions made in our county’s history. I believe that before any additional dollars are spent on a new jail we need to initiate a transparent community planning process with comprehensive public engagement, complete the renovation study of the current facility, and pair any new spending on the County Jail with an increase in spending on diversion programs including mental health treatment, bail reform and other reforms to reduce total costs and re-envision the size of the County Jail. We owe it to the citizens and taxpayers of Cuyahoga County to get this right. I believe this is not the right time to spend public money on the Global Center for Health Innovation, nor is it the best use for ARPA dollars. There are far more pressing needs, like the finding safe housing for children who are under the care of the DCFS.
I believe that political parties matter. As County Executive, I will represent all residents regardless of party affiliation, and I plan to work with Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between to move our county forward. When it comes to making a decision at the ballot, I believe that party affiliation provides important information about a candidate’s values to the voters and citizens of the county. That is why I am proud to run as the endorsed Democrat.
Age 56
Education DePauw University (1988, B.A. cum laude), George Washington Law School (1991, J.D. with honors)
Current employer LNE Group (Founder & President)
Residence municipality Shaker Heights
Campaign HQ address 4450 Lee Road, Cleveland, OH
Campaign email address
Campaign phone 2164963416
Facebook @weingart2022
Campaign Twitter Handle @@weingart2022
Yes, the county should lobby for increases in the LGF for Cuyahoga County, and I am better positioned than my opponent to do so. First, I am a Republican, and state government is likely to remain under Republican control in 2023 and beyond. My party affiliation will make me a more persuasive advocate for the county. Second, I am an advocate by experience, having founded and managed one of the most successful advocacy firms in Ohio. We have worked closely with the state government for more than 150 clients, including representing Cuyahoga County, over the last 20 years. For example, we successfully lobbied the state government to create the first land bank in Ohio (Cuyahoga County), and now there are more than 50. We also lobbied to secure the county the authority to construct and manage the convention center. We have secured hundreds of millions of dollars in state operating and capital bill funding for non-profits, municipalities & companies in Cuyahoga County and around the state.
I am doing more than envisioning regional initiatives. I have proposed the most far-reaching regional initiative in a generation – a proposal to centralize local income tax collection under Cuyahoga County. This proposal will simplify local income taxes and eliminate double local income taxes under RITA and CCA. It will protect municipalities from revenue loss caused by remote work and ensure the long-term financial stability of our struggling municipalities like Cleveland, East Cleveland, Warrensville Heights, and Bedford to name a few. All taxes collected by the county will be remitted to the municipalities based on 2019 (pre-pandemic) collections, with the county keeping nothing for itself. This will ensure that struggling municipalities have sufficient resources for their critical public safety and other services and will further ensure that the benefits of economic growth in the county will be shared by all municipalities in the county. We will be a more unified county.
We have seen the old patterns of corruption seep back into county government with the illegal distribution of $66 million in ARPA funds. I was the only candidate for County Executive to publicly oppose this illegal spending. We can end corruption in the following ways. First, I will mandate competitive bidding with full transparency, accountability, and objective review standards for public funds. Second, I will end the practice of steering county contracts to insiders and will mandate that a minimum of 10% (to start) and 20% (ultimately) of county contract spending be done with minority-owned firms by refusing to sign any county contracts not meeting the standards of minority contractor participation. Third, I will ensure hiring is based on experience, education, and skills, not through political connections and will also eliminate hiring requirements (like college degrees) where they are unnecessary. Lastly, I will eliminate personal conflicts of interest in my decision-making.
I was the first and have been the most vocal opponent of the proposed new jail and spending at the Global Center. I do not support a new $750 million jail with a capacity exceeding 2,000 defendants on a contaminated site. Rather, I favor renovation of Jail II for dangerous arrestees, the construction of a smaller new jail on a different site than the proposed one (together with a renovated Jail II, total capacity of 1,250 defendants) for less dangerous arrestees, and increased investment in diversion & treatment for non-violent arrestees. I do not support additional spending on the Global Center, which has proven a failure after multiple iterations. I would sell the Global Center (and the Hilton Hotel) to free up $50 million in the county budget annually for investment in urban neighborhoods and first ring suburbs and to support targeted property tax relief for seniors on fixed incomes. We need to stop investing in buildings and government and start investing in communities and people.
I favor removing party labels for candidates running for County Executive and County Council because county government is largely administrative in nature and does not address divisive partisan social issues like our state and federal governments do. To demonstrate this, I served as county commissioner alongside two Democrats from 1995-1997. During this time, we had 3,000 votes on issues. All but six of those votes were 3-0. Of the six that were 2-1, five found me teamed with one of the Democrats against the other Democrat. In removing party labels, candidates would be forced to run on their policies, not their parties, and we would likely get platforms built on ideas, not on ideologies. Some have said the new form of county government has failed because of same party control of the Executive and Council, an argument I find persuasive and one supporting my candidacy. We need more qualified people in county government and eliminating party labels would be a big step toward getting them.