Sean Ward is not eligible to campaign for East Cleveland mayor, but he can seek a seat on council

Ward appears to have something to offer East Cleveland, so it's best he start off within the law so he can actually do some good if that's his desire

CLEVELAND, OH – Sean Ward announced his intent to seek a seat as East Cleveland’s mayor in a video he posted on YouTube from an event he organized outside the city.  While I thought his choice of a location outside the city was odd;  I chalked up the decision to political naivety.

Ward’s presentation sounded hopeful and I’ve been cynical of the city’s candidates.  I visited his social media page and read his news releases.  I was impressed that he was in real time offering insights on some of the matters of public concern involving the city.

The only problem I see with Ward’s candidacy is he fails to meet the two year “qualified elector” requirement East Cleveland voters determined they wanted for the mayor and added to the Charter on November 7, 2000.

Section 112(A) of the East Cleveland Charter a mayor must obey and enforce as written reads as follows:

“Qualifications:  The mayor shall have been,  for at least two (2) consecutive years immediately prior to his election or appointment, a resident and qualified elector of the City East Cleveland.  During his or her term, the mayor shall remain a resident and qualified elector of the City and shall carry out his duties on a full-time basis.”

A voter registration report from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections shows Ward changing his address on May 15, 2020 online from 624 Dade Lane in Richmond Heights to 15411 Oakhill Road in East Cleveland, Ohio.  The relocation to the home he’s renting from Attorney Darryl Fields and his wife, Helen Forbes-Fields, today makes Ward a current resident and qualified elector of East Cleveland.  Unlike “current” Richmond Heights resident Brandon King, Ward actually relocated to the city.  For me that’s a brownie point.

To have been qualified to seek the job of mayor in East Cleveland, however, Ward should have voted from a residence in the city as a qualified elector on November 5, 2019 instead of in Richmond Heights.

By May 14, 2022 Ward will meet the “at least two consecutive years immediately prior” requirements to seek the mayor’s job in the next election in November 2025.  Should he seek to appear on the ballot for East Cleveland mayor in November 2021, Ward will not meet the “resident and qualified elector” requirements of the Charter “at least two consecutive years immediately prior” to his election.

The use of the word “and” in between the words “resident” and term “qualified elector” means both conditions must be met together.  Ward as of today has only been a “qualified elector” since May 15, 2020.  That’s nine months today.  By November 2021 he’ll have been a resident and qualified elector for 17 months when he needs 24.

East Cleveland politics is “gut bucket dirty.”  Going into a campaign in the city, Ward’s name right now is very good as he seeks to compete against the criminal holding office illegally as a Richmond Heights resident.  This is the best job Brandon King and the “named in an indictment” bitch who serves as his henchman, Michael Smedley, have ever held.  The stealing has been delicious to these thieves and they want to keep their criminal enterprise going.  They’ll be pulling out all stops to return.

One of Ward’s landlords served as the city’s law director and she’s good people.  He should ask Helen for her advice.

I’ve been hearing about Ward’s residency since his name first surfaced as a potential candidate, so I know his opponents are discussing it.  Under this state’s “Home Rule” authorizations pursuant to Article 18.7 of the Constitution of Ohio, local voters determine how candidates gain ballot access.

In East Cleveland voters want candidates for mayor to reside and vote out of the city for two years or 24 months before an election or an appointment. When presented with these facts, should he proceed to collect and deliver signatures to the board of elections for mayor this year, they’ll have no authority to interpret the charter in Ward’s favor just because his intentions are good.  They risk exposure of criminal prosecution for “misconduct” in office and “dereliction of duty” just as a beginning if they do.

I can see him being thrown off the ballot.  His effort will be wasted.  His supporters will be frustrated.  I’d actually like to see him eventually serve.  He seems like a solid man.  Right now, for mayor, is just not the right time; and there’s no sense in dirtying up a good name this early in the political game.  Besides, I have close “Ward” relatives and an interest in not seeing the name dirtied up by the type of smear politics engaged in by King and Smedley.

As there is absolutely no wiggle room in the dates of Ward’s voter registration, online change of address and voting record, he is faced with the decision of doing what he wants or obeying East Cleveland’s charter.  Residents of the city have already suffered from elected officials doing what they wanted instead of living within the limits of laws.  The office of mayor pursuant to Section 113(A) of East Cleveland’s Charter is as the municipal corporation’s “chief law enforcement officer” or “chief conservator of the peace.”

SECTION 113. POWERS OF THE MAYOR.  A. General Powers and Duties: The Mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the City, responsible for carrying out and fulfilling the intent and purpose of any and all legislation duly passed by the Council. The Mayor shall supervise the administration of all the affairs of the City and the conduct and administration of all departments and divisions thereof, except the Council and as otherwise provided by this Charter, and the Mayor shall have all such powers as are conferred upon Mayors by the laws of the State of Ohio. The Mayor shall be the chief conservator of the peace within the City and shall see that all laws, resolutions, and ordinances are enforced therein.

The “qualified elector” language in East Cleveland’s Charter mirrors, in pertinent part, the language of Article 15.4 of the Constitution of Ohio.

Officers to be qualified electors. §4 No person shall be elected or appointed to any office in this state unless possessed of the qualifications of an elector. (1851, am. 1913, 1953)

There’s a level of knowledge candidates for elected offices should possess prior to becoming a candidate.  The easiest place to obtain it is in the governing documents a candidate will swear to uphold and obey in their “oath” prior to entering the office.

The Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution of Ohio.  The United States Code.  The United States Code of Federal Regulations.  The Revised Code of Ohio (Title 7 specifically). The Ohio Administrative Code.  I know for a fact that literally every individual who enters an elected office has not read and mastered these “mandatory” governing authorities.  It’s why so many are ending up with dirtied names and convictions behind them.

Ward, professionally, speaks the language of IT or “information technology.”  What he should take the time to now learn are the federal, state and local laws governing “municipal corporations.”

Qualifications for council require at least one year of being a resident and a qualified elector.  What Ward is currently qualified to seek is the at-large seat on city council in 2021.  He should.

You start wrong and you end wrong.  You start right and you end right.  From personal experiences its better to start right than wrong in politics no matter the outcome.  You avoid jail.

Ward should also be mindful that any new mayor or member of council in East Cleveland will be walking into ongoing federal and state criminal investigations.  There’s no sense in stepping into a job with a bullseye on your back by signalling before you even get a job that you’re willing to disregard a law.

Eric Jonathan Brewer

Cleveland's most influential journalist and East Cleveland's most successful mayor is an East Saint Louis, Illinois native whose father led the city's petition drive in 1969 to elect the first black mayor in 1971. Eric is an old-school investigative reporter whose 40-year body of editorial work has been demonstrably effective. No local journalist is feared or respected more.

Trained in newspaper publishing by the legendary Call & Post Publisher William Otis Walker in 1978 when it was the nation's 5th largest Black-owned publication, Eric has published and edited 13 local, regional and statewide publications across Ohio. Adding to his publishing and reporting resume is Eric's career in government. Eric served as the city's highest paid part-time Special Assistant to ex-Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. He served as Chief of Staff to ex-East Cleveland Mayor Emmanuel Onunwor; and Chief of Communications to the late George James in his capacity as the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority's first Black executive director. Eric was appointed to serve as a member of the state's Financial Planning & Supervision Commission to guide the East Cleveland school district out of fiscal emergency and $20 million deficit. Former U.S. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson told Eric in his D.C. office he was the only mayor in the nation simultaneously-managing a municipal block grant program. Eric wrote the city's $2.2 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant application. A HUD Inspector General audit of his management of the block grant program resulted in "zero" audit findings.

As a newspaper publisher, Eric has used his insider's detailed knowledge of government and his publications to lead the FBI and state prosecutors to investigations that resulted in criminal prosecutions of well-known elected officials in Ohio; and have helped realign Cleveland's political landscape with the defeat of candidates and issues he's exposed. Eric's stories led to the indictments of the late Governor George Voinovich's brother, Paul Voinovich of the V Group, and four associates. He asked the FBI to investigate the mayor he'd served as chief of staff for public corruption; and testified in three federal trials for the prosecution. He forced former Cuyahoga County Coroner Dr. Elizabeth Balraj to admit her investigations of police killings were fraudulent; and to issue notices to local police that her investigators would control police killing investigations. Eric's current work has resulted in Cuyahoga County Judge John Russo accepting the criminal complaint he guided an activist to file against 24 civil rights-violating police officers in the city he once led for operating without valid peace officer credentials. USA Today reporters picked up on Eric's police credentials reporting from his social media page and made it national.

Eric is the author of of his first book, "Fight Police License Plate Spying," which examines the FBI and local police misuse of the National Crime Information Center criminal records history database. An accomplished trumpet player and singer whose friendship with Duke Fakir of the Four Tops resulted in his singing the show's closing song, "Can't Help Myself": Curtis Sliwa of New York's Guardian Angels counts Eric among his founding chapter leaders from the early 1980's role as an Ohio organizer of over 300 volunteer crime fighters in Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown, Ohio. For his work as a young man Eric was recognized by Cleveland's Urban League as it's 1983 Young Man of the Year.

Known in Cleveland for his encyclopedic knowledge of government and history, and intimately-connected with the region's players, every local major media outlet in Cleveland has picked up on one of Eric's stories since 1979. There is no mainstream newspaper, television or radio outlet in Cleveland that does not include an interview with Eric Jonathan Brewer in its archives over the past 40 years.


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