About

Please follow this link if you would like to read the history of the League, as summarized in an excellent article authored by Marian Morton for Teaching Cleveland.

And, the following is from the press release announcing the return of The Citizens League in April 2010.

With a goal to promote greater efficiency, transparency, and integrity in county government through public education initiatives and candidate evaluations and endorsements, new leadership has stepped forward to reboot The Citizens League of Greater Cleveland. 

Jay Carson, a member of the Executive Committee, explained: “The fact that the citizens of Cuyahoga County overwhelming demanded change last November and that hundreds of citizens have since then committed their time to assisting with the transition is a testament to the frustration with how county government has operated and the desire to have a government that works efficiently, honestly, and openly.  The time is right to bring The Citizens League back.”

The original Citizens League, founded in 1886, was a non-partisan organization composed of concerned citizens. At the time of its founding, machine politics flourished and the culture was one of corruption, patronage, and bitter partisanship. The Citizens League reviewed and endorsed candidates and served as a clearinghouse for information on public policy issues until it disbanded several years ago. 

“For nearly a century, The Citizens League served as both the civic conscience of the region and a source of new ideas on how to make government more efficient and accountable to its citizens,” Carson said.  “We chose to revive the old organization because we wanted to honor that legacy.”

The Citizens League’s first priority is to create a non-partisan system for evaluating candidates for the new county offices, similar to the Judge4Yourself program created by the Cleveland Municipal Bar Association and other bar and civic organizations.  “Judge4Yourself has done a great community service in improving the integrity of judicial races by helping to replace the political ‘name-game’ with objective evaluations of competence,” Carson said.  “We want to do the same thing for other county races.”

Future initiatives will involve creating proposals to make county public records easily available online, providing ethics training for elected and appointed officials, and reviewing how the new county government can achieve cost savings by eliminating redundancies and promoting regional cooperation. 

Membership in The Citizens League of Greater Cleveland is open to anyone of voting age who supports the group’s non-partisan mission.

“Our goal is to take the energy we’ve seen from across the political spectrum and from all demographic groups, and to focus it on ensuring that our new county government is open, efficient, and honest, and that the best ideas for county government are heard.” Carson said. “We’d like people who share that goal to get involved.”