2016 County Council Races Review

2016 County Council Races Review

While 2016 will be remembered as an unusual election year at the national level, it will also be remembered at the local level as a year with few competitive races.  When races were held in 2010 to fill the newly formed County Council's seats, more than 100 candidates competed in the specially-scheduled September primary.  This year there were no competitive races during the primary or general elections.  In 2014, when the six odd-numbered seats were on the ballot, there were only two competitive races (Districts 9 and 11).  

Since 2010, there has been little turn-over on County Council.  A review of the original members from that time shows that only three new faces will be in place next January.  District 4 is changing hands (non-competitively) due to a retirement.  District 9 changed hands in 2014 for the same reason, though the Democratic primary was extremely competitive.  District 10 changed hands three years ago due to a mid-term resignation. The Democratic Party filled the spot through the appointment process.  The appointee, Anthony Hairston, has not faced a challenger.

In Districts 6, 8 and 10, incumbents Jack Schron, Pernel Jones, and Anthony Hairston, as indicated, respectively, face no challengers.  Our dossiers on Mr. Schron and Mr. Jones from prior races are available here and here.  

In District 4 (Middleburg Heights, Parma, Parma Heights), the retirement of Charles Germana created an open seat. Scott Tuma (D), a member of Parma City Council, initially drew opposition from Mary Galinas (R).  Ms. Galinas later withdrew her candidacy.  As of this writing, Mr. Tuma has not responded to the Citizens League's request, by email and regular mail, that he complete a Candidate Questionnaire.  His dossier is available here.  

In District 2 (Brook Park, Lakewood, Cleveland Wards 16 and 17), incumbent Dale Smith (D) faces a challenge from Tim Corrigan (R).  Mr. Smith has responded to our questionnaire.  His dossier is available here.   Mr. Corrigan did not respond to our questionnaire. What we were able to learn of him is posted in his dossier, here.  Our review of Mr. Miller when he faced a challenge in a prior race and received a three-star rating is available here.

The Citizens League has since 2010 directed its efforts toward County Government, which was at the epicenter of the corruption investigations and convictions that resulted in the voter's approval of a new charter and a new form of government.  It has done so in three ways: (1) by serving a "gate keeper" function in its evaluations of candidates for County Council, County Executive, and County Prosecutor; (2) by monitoring the operations of county government to advocate for efficiency, transparency, and integrity; and (3) by providing educational opportunities for government officials directed toward ethics and best practices.  The lack of competitiveness in the races for County Council has led to little turn over, a lack of information about those individuals who seek to fill vacant seats, and a lack of renewed scrutiny of incumbents.  While our three-pronged effort allows The Citizens League to work to better county governance beyond candidate evaluations, the lack of competitiveness has become a problem before the new structure has celebrated its sixth anniversary.