Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cleveland Council approves proposal for Charter Amendment aimed at increasing diversity of workforce, changes required by DOJ agreement

Cleveland City Council passed on Wednesday an ordinance that proposes changes to the City's hiring practices. Ordinance Number 842-15 passed as an emergency ordinance -

"Authorizing the submission to the electors of the City of Cleveland of a proposal to amend Sections 131 and 133 of the Charter of the City of Cleveland relating to civil service appointments and promotions wherever practicable."

A copy of the ordinance is provided below.

In discussion in a Committee of the Whole council President Kelley offered an amendment that was passed that limited the proposed changes to the hiring of new employees and not that of promotions.

The initial Ordinance would of required the certification of ten of the top ranked applicants for both hiring and promotions.  The Charter currently requires that the top three applicants for both hires and promotions be certified and used for selection of awards.  If accepted by Cleveland voters, the new Charter amendment would increase the number of top candidates for hire from three to ten but would retain the top number of candidates for promotions at three.

Several Council members (Cummins, Polensek & J. Johnson) questioned the need for the amendment that would maintain the rule of three for promotions  Council members Polensek and Cummins voted no on the amendment that then passed.  In the vote in Chambers later in the afternoon, the measure passed 16 to 1 with Cummins casting the Nay vote.

Between the Committee of the Whole and the council meeting in Chambers, Councilman Cummins shared with colleagues an alternative for selecting top ranked candidates for hiring or promotion, by using a category rating instead of a purely numerical ranking of individuals.  Category ratings are used by federal agencies and qualify candidates in categories such as:
  • Superior = 98 - 100
  • Best Qualified =  90 - 97
  • Well Qualified - 85 - 89
  • Qualified = 70 – 84
In Committee Cummins argued that if the City truly wants to be more inclusive and ensure greater diversity that the rule of three should be replaced for both hiring and promotions and that a category rating system would be useful in certifying the most qualified list of candidates from which a hiring officer could make a decision for an award.

Although it was argued by some Council members that by increasing the pool of qualified candidates to select from in the initial hiring would have an affect on increasing diversity, Cummins pointed out that it would take on average 7 to 12 years before the City could anticipate seeing more diversity in higher ranking supervisory positions and in effect the ordinance that passed will likely maintain the status quo for at least that period of time if accepted by voters.

Diversity numbers for Cleveland's Division of Police, as reported by ideastream®

The changes are driven by a requirement within the City of Cleveland and Department of Justice Consent Decree Agreement that states (pages 70):
  • (300) "To maintain high-level, quality service, ensure officer safety and accountability, and promote constitutional, effective policing, CDP will review and revise as necessary its recruitment and hiring program to ensure that CDP successfully attracts and hires diverse group of qualified individuals.  [ands]
  • (301) The Mayor will work with the City Council to develop an ordinance to place a Charter Amendment on the ballot that would give the appointing authority greater flexibility in the selection of candidates from the certified eligibility list for the CDP."

In addition to the specific language in the Consent decree regarding providing greater flexibility for hiring, the agreement also sets forth criteria that will need to be used in annual performance evaluations for police (pages 72-73):

The annual performance evaluation will be augmented to
include an assessment of:
  1. community engagement and communication with the public as appropriate to assignment;
  2. use of communi ty and problem-oriented policing and problem-solving strategies as appropriate to assignment;
  3. de-escalation strategies;
  4. techniques for dealing with individuals in crisis;
  5. civilian commendations and complaints;
  6. disciplinary actions;
  7. compliance with policy;
  8. safety (e.g., officer safety standards and vehicle operations);
  9. training;
  10. report writing; and
  11. decision-making skills.

And, for promotions -

In determining whether the officer is likely to be effective and appropriate for the
position to which he or she is being considered for promotion, the appointing authority
will consider the following factors, where relevant:
  1. effective use of community and problem-oriented policing strategics;
  2. the number and circumstances of uses of force;
  3. an officer's service as an FTO or Field Training Sergeant;
  4. disciplinary record;
  5. problem-solving skill s;
  6. interpersonal skills;
  7. support for departmental integrity measures; and
  8. pending disciplinary process.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Cleveland Police Commission - Application Process and Notice of August 3rd Public Meeting

The Selection Panel for the Community Police Commission appointed by Mayor Frank G. Jackson will hold its second public meeting, Monday, August 3, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the offices of Hispanic Alliance, 3110 w. 25th St. Cleveland, OH 44109.

For more information about the Commission Selection Panel and Community Police Commission (CPC), see the CPC website.  Application for the 10-member positions being appointed are due by August 6th, 2015.

English and Spanish Public Notices
for the meeting being held August 3rd, 2015.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cleveland City Council passes Ordinance 928-15 repealing and enacting new Sec. 411.05 regarding Parades

The following legislation was heard and passed today by Cleveland City Council under a Committee of the Whole, and then under an emergency passage with a suspension of the rules.  The vote passed 12 yeas, 4 nays (B Cummins, TJ Dow, J Johnson, Z Reed), 1 absent (B Kazy).

The Mayor's Administration in committee gave testimony that the Department of Law sought to improve on the clarity of the laws concerning parades, as "parade" was not sufficiently defined in Section 411.05.  There were statements that since December as related to protests, there have been questions by attorneys and other interested parties about the laws pertaining parades, and that for the last month the Administrations has worked to improve and introduce this legislation.

Although the intentions as stated seem legitimate and the end result of the ordinance appears balanced, in particular the exceptions made for not requiring permits for use of sidewalks, crosswalks.. as well as impromptu demonstrations, providing at least an 8-hour prior notice of a parade.

Nonetheless, I voted no on the Ordinance due to the process by which the Administration did not include Council in any deliberations on the amendment prior to introduction, and that the committee process was not utilized in the Ordinance being introduced in a summer session and passed under emergency.

As I stated in Committee and in Council Chambers: Passage of such an ordinance, although intended to help clarify the laws regarding permits and regulations for "parades", when passed without substantive debate and discourse with Cleveland City Council, or members of the public and organizations that have shown active interest in participating in police reform, has an impact of increasing the divide between the City and residents and organizations working for reform.  It injurs and widens the gap in communications, relations, and trust.  And, from this point forward there must be a proactive stance from the Administration for inclusion, participation and transparency when seeking to amend the City's charter and ordinances.

In a discussion with Safety Director McGrath after the Committee he indicated a willingness to engage in direct dialogue with activists and members of organizations working towards police reform as well as a willingness to participate in future Council Committee meetings to further amend and improve ordinances such as 411.05.

The new Section 411.05 establishes definitions as well as exemptions (411.05.f.) in requirements for obtaining a permit for the following two types of parades or activities:

The full text of Ordinance 928-15 is as follows, in addition to the executive summary utilized in the Committee hearing.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Dream Neighborhood initiative presented to City Planning Commission

Following a series of neighborhood meetings over the last six months, Cleveland City Councilmen Joe Cimperman and Brian Cummins led a presentation to the City Planning Commission on the Dream Neighborhood initiative.  The Councilmen were joined by Samantha Peddicord, Executive Assistant for Ward 3 and Tony Bango,  Housing Development Coordinator, Stockyard, Clark Fulton & Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office who have both been instrumental in developing the project.

Classroom. Teacher and Students at Thomas Jefferson International
Newcomers Academy, CMSD News Bureau, 3/10/2015.

The Dream Neighborhood project seeks to build off of existing community assets and strengthen a portion of the Stockyard neighborhood with a general boundary area of Fulton Road to the east, W. 58th Street to the west, I-90 to the north and Storer Avenue to the south.  The neighborhood area is centered around Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy (TJ).

Target area for the Dream Neighborhood, centered around Thomas Jefferson
International Newcomers Academy located at 3145 West 46th Street

The main neighborhood assets the project draws from are:
  1. Thomas Jefferson International Newcomers Academy & Students (over 500 plus), along with their families. TJ is a unique Pre-K to 12th-Grade Cleveland municipal school that serves as an English Immersion program for Limited English Proficiency Students.
  2. Refugee and Immigrant families already located in the area - 33 refugees settled in this area in 2014.
  3. Affordable housing and commercial space opportunities
  4. Clark Recreation Center and The Salvation Army 
  5. The presence of 850 manufacturing jobs
  6. A presence of community organizations and history of neighborhood involvement from residents.
  7. Exciting new projects in adjacent areas - La Villa, Hildebrandt Building and Gypsy Brewery
  8. Public Services - Second District police and good Public Transportation

  1. Social Services and Community Inclusion
    • Refugee Related Organizations
    • Medical Organization
    • Social Services
    • Residents
  2. Housing
    • Create housing opportunities for refugees
    • Reduce vacancy of existing housing stock
  3. Economic Development

    • Low interest loans for new small businesses
    • Directly addressing vacant commercial space
(See presentation document below for more details)


The initiative represents an unprecedented collaboration between government, non-profit, for-profit and faith-based organizations that include:

A visit to the International Newcomers Academy.  By Lynn Ischay, The Plain Dealer, 12/9/2010.
Housed in Thomas Jefferson School on West 46th Street, the International Newcomers Academy is one of Cleveland's newest schools, and perhaps its most unusual. Its 200 students are all new to this country, and come from countries across the globe. From pre-K through 12th grade, they learn English through total immersion. The goal is to acclimate the students as quickly as possible, then transfer them to a mainstream school.

The following is the presentation provided today at he Cleveland Planning Commission.  The presentation was an advisory and informative presentation that did not seek an official approval or endorsement of the plan,  Community meetings and project partnership meetings will continue and progress will reported on as the initiative develops.

Related articles and information:

Housing Stabilization by the numbers - foreclosed, rehab and demolition in the Stockyard, Clark Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Neighborhoods

Four of ten housing structures were foreclosed on between 2011 and 2015 in three near west side neighborhoods in Cleveland.  The Stockyard, Clark Fulton and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods were collectively the hardest hit neighborhoods on the west side of Cleveland in terms of the foreclosure crisis.  Although the crisis nationally is said to have been concentrated from 2010 to 2013 foreclosures in Cleveland began having serious impacts as early as 2005 and have only recently subsided.

SCFBC Rehabs from 2010-2015

In 2010 after more than six months of community meetings, Councilmen Jay Westbrook, Matt Zone and Brian Cummins collaborated to create a new community development office to serve the neighborhoods of Stockyard, Clark Fulton and Brooklyn Centre.  The Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization (DSCDO) was responsible for creating essentially a branch office that was established with and oversight provided by an Advisory Council of residents representing the distinct communities.

 The Stockyard, Clark Fulton and Brooklyn Centre Community Development Office (SCFBC) was created in July of 2010 and in collaboration with the council offices began immediately in tracking and inventorying vacant and abandoned houses.  A resident driven Housing Committee took the lead in highlighting the fact the neighborhoods were under served in previous years in terms of funding for demolition.  By 2014 Ward 14, which represented the core of SCFBC service area was ranked in the top three wards for amount of demolitions and funding being provided to remove the worst rated structures.

From the decade of January 2005 through March 2015 these three neighborhoods had 3,075 foreclosures.  This represents four out of every ten housing structures.  In that time there have been a total of 397 demolitions, with the majority occurring from 2010 - 2014.  

In addition to the focus on demolitions, SCFBC through the experience of staff at DSCDO was able to quickly initiate a housing rehabilitation initiaitve and successfully assisted in rehabbing an estimated 90 homes in this same period, 2011 - 2015.  The rehab initiative first focused on volume and worked primarily with investors who were required to go through a rigorous screening process and contract requirements to ensure quality.  By late 2012 the pool of investors began to expand to include more and more smaller investors and homeowners within these neighborhoods and over the last 12 months approximately 40% of sales of vacant properties through SCFBC have been to local residents.

Below are maps reflecting the foreclosed and rehabbed properties for the Stockyard, Clark Fulton and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods - Foreclosures are represented from January 2005 through March 2015 and rehabs from January 1, 2011 through March, 2015.

Other supportive and related information

The following are links to specific housing projects that are related to the work being done in tracking and inventorying foreclosed and vacant properties; promoting re-investment and developing resources for home repair; and focusing on code enforcement for properties owned by absentee landlords.