CLEVELAND, OH – There’s statutory language in Cleveland’s charter that’s similar to language found in the East Cleveland charter as it pertains to the “term and qualifications” of winning candidates for mayor. It explains why after defeating Ralph Perk, Sr. for mayor of Cleveland on November 8, 1977, Dennis Kucinich was administered his first oath of office to “succeed” him on November 14, 1977.
Cleveland voters exercised the power of local self-government in 1980 with modifications to Chapter 11, Section 68 of the Charter that expanded the term of the mayor’s office from two to four years. Changes were made to Chapter 5, Section 24 of the Charter also giving council terms of four instead of two years. The remaining instructions in each section remained intact.
For the purposes of this story the reference is to the mayor’s term in office under the heading “Term and Qualifications of Mayor.” The words I’ve underscored are “and serve until his successor is elected and qualified.”
“The Mayor shall be the chief executive officer of the City. Except as otherwise in this Charter provided, he shall be elected for a term of four years, assume office on the first Monday in January next after his election, and serve until his successor is elected and qualified. The Mayor holding office when this amendment is adopted shall continue to hold such office until the day next preceding the first Monday in January of the year 1982 and shall serve until his successor is elected and qualified. The Mayor shall be an elector of the City and shall not hold any other public office or employment, except that of notary public or member of the State Militia, and shall not be interested in the profits or emoluments of any contract job, work or service for the Municipality. (Effective November 4, 1980)”
Mayor Frank G. Jackson has succeeded himself since his first re-election in 2009. So the use of Chapter 11, Section 68 of the city’s charter has not been seen in practice for the past 16 years. The fact there’s only been a single mayor for the past 16 years – and no one’s said anything – does not negate the charter’s instructions.
When Mayor-elect Justin Bibb is “elected and qualified” Jackson is mandated to step down. If Bibb fails to meet the “qualifications” to enter the office then Jackson remains until his “successor is elected and qualified.”
Council President-elect Blaine Griffin on or after January 1st would have to lead council to “void” the office of mayor and replace Bibb in the manner spelled out by law. The instructions for this are found in Section 731.49 of the Ohio Revised Code under the heading “Failure to take oathor give bond.” Bibb has 10 days to qualify and be administered an oath of office after being notified of his election.
“The legislative authority of a municipal corporation may declare vacant the office of any person elected or appointed to such office who, within ten days after he has been notified of his appointment or election, or obligation to give a new or additional bond, fails to take the required official oath or to give any bond required of him.”
Bibb will be “elected” and “qualified” when the Board of Elections certifies the results of the November 2 general election and affirms he’s complied with Section 3517.10 of the Ohio Revised Code. His campaign committee and treasurer are required to disclose no less than 90 percent of his contributions and expenditures no later than 38 days past the November 2, 2021 general election. That’s December 10, 2021.
The 90 percent threshold grants his campaign treasurer, Scott Hruby, a 21-day extension on a “conditional basis” to deliver the remaining 10 percent of unreported contributions up to and after the 38 day mandate. The extra 21 days takes him up to December 31st.
Missing the 38 day deadline prohibits the board from issuing a certificate of election to Bibb for his general election victory. Bibb cannot “enter” the office of mayor if he misses the filing deadline. It’s his duty to deliver the certificate of election to the Clerk of the Council with his oath of office.
“For purposes of division (C)(1) of this section, a statement or an addendum, amendment, or other correction to a statement or an amended statement required to be filed under sections 3517.081 to 3517.14 of the Revised Code is incomplete or inaccurate under this section if the statement, addendum, amendment, other correction, or amended statement fails to disclose substantially all contributions, gifts, or donations that are received or deposits that are made that are required to be reported under sections 3517.10, 3517.107, 3517.108, 3517.1011, 3517.1012, 3517.1013, and 3517.1014 of the Revised Code or if the statement, addendum, amendment, other correction, or amended statement fails to disclose at least ninety per cent of the total contributions, gifts, or donations received or deposits made or of the total expenditures or disbursements made during the reporting period.”
The 21-day language is found in Section 3517.11(B)(3)(a) of the Ohio Revised Code. It’s language in laws I can guarantee Bibb’s Australian alien deputy campaign manager, Eden Giagnorio, had no clue existed. She may be “foreign smart” but Giagnorio is “American dumb.” An alien deputy campaign manager here on a green card – who can’t vote in any election – is a “politifact” that makes absolutely no sense.
Within twenty-one days after receipt of the notice, in the case of a pre-election statement, a postelection statement, a monthly statement, an annual statement, or a semiannual statement prescribed by section 3517.10, an annual statement prescribed by section 3517.101, or a statement prescribed by division (B)(2)(b) or (C)(2)(b) of section 3517.105 or section 3517.107 of the Revised Code, the recipient shall file an addendum, amendment, or other correction to the statement providing the information necessary to complete or correct the statement.
The 38th day is a drop dead deadline. Failure to meet it is a criminal offense and anyone searching elections board databases outside Cuyahoga County and the rulings of the Eighth District Court of Appeals will see R.C. 3517.10 being enforced as written. Mitchell D. Paul is the only candidate who’s ever been prosecuted for it because no candidate under the late Prosecuting Attorney John T. Corrigan dared to disobey it. Paul was prosecuted in 1986 and sentenced by the late Judge Robert Feighan.
What’s equally as compelling and prohibiting is language found in Section 3517.11(D) of the Ohio Revised Code prohibiting Bibb from entering the office of mayor if he doesn’t meet the 38 day filing deadline. Council President-elect Blaine Griffin is acutely aware of how campaign laws found in Title 35 have not been enforced in Cuyahoga County since William Mason served as prosecuting attorney and obstructed it for the candidates whose campaigns he and Tom Day managed as political consultants. Their clients were quite literally guaranteed immunity from prosecution. Mason’s corrupt protege, Michael O’Malley, has ignored its instructions as well. Hundreds of candidates – including judges – have been allowed to enter offices in violation of Section 3517.11(D) in Cuyahoga County almost exclusively.
“No certificate of nomination or election shall be issued to a person, and no person elected to an office shall enter upon the performance of the duties of that office, until that person or that person’s campaign committee, as appropriate, has fully complied with this section and sections 3517.08, 3517.081, 3517.10, and 3517.13 of the Revised Code.”
Griffin in 2013 was serving as Cuyahoga County’s Democratic Party’s vice chairman when I published a list of 67 campaign finance law violators on my Cleveland Challenger website. He remembers the aftermath of Jane Platten and Brent Lawler’s criminal dereliction; and how then Cuyahoga County Prosecuting Attorney Timothy McGinty concealed the violations. The one term prosecuting attorney who sent the innocent to prison hired Platten to serve as his chief of staff in the prosecutor’s office. It was vintage Irish mafia at work.
Griffin said both parties would ensure that the mess was cleaned up without holding the guilty accountable. Coming from the outside of “machine” politics, Bibb doesn’t have the political connections to benefit from that type of “juice.”
I don’t recall Jackson evoking the successor clause to replace Jane Campbell. I don’t recall Campbell evoking it to replace Michael Reed White. I don’t recall White evoking it to replace George Voinovich.
The only two currently involved political players who’ve seen it in practice are White and Councilman Michael Polensek since they were elected to council in 1977 with Kucinich. I imagine they’re both like the Plain Dealer’s retired editorial pages editor, Brent Larkin, and have forgotten the first Kucinich swearing in like so many others. I imagine most of the 2000 attendees are dead. Jackson didn’t join council until 1990. None of the town’s journalists have the depth to look back.
Bibb just spent an entire two years campaigning to serve as Cleveland’s chief conservator of the peace. Pursuant to Section 2901.01(A)(11)(c) of the Ohio Revised Code mayors are “law enforcement officers.” For two years Bibb didn’t have to demonstrate any knowledge of the laws he’s now required to obey and enforce during his debates and talks. No one asked if he knew how much a ton of salt cost or how many tons the average tandem truck holds. He doesn’t know to look at the brake pads on city vehicles to see if they’re barely worn or worn as evidence of how long drivers are parking and sleeping in them.
Bibb should forget the website. He’d better be thinking about how he’s going to keep the snow and ice off the streets this winter. Every accident and death will be on his hands. The job of mayor is that serious and “Satan” or the “Devil” lives in the details.
Serving as mayor requires a mastery of the municipal, state and federal laws associated with the governing documents identified in the oath of office. The job can’t be performed successfully and without potential “jail drama” without it. It’s that fucking serious. When Bibb walks into city hall with new members of council they’re all inheriting the ongoing criminal investigations that were stimulated because of the misconduct of their non-reading and non-compliant predecessors.
I’m going to reiterate that both Bibb and Griffin have a lot of catch up reading to do as they make Cleveland history. All of the top elected municipal officers are held by American Negroes. Their literacy habits will either advance or disgrace the race and themselves. If you do not read you cannot lead.