The Cleveland mayor’s survey says

Mayor Justin Bibb says he wants to hear from the city’s 6,000-some workers. So, City Hall this week asked its employees to take a survey on their work environment. Bibb, who cut his teeth working for survey giant Gallup, is in the midst of a $1.5 million strategic planning process led by consulting and accounting firm Ernst & Young.

“This is your once-in-a-decade chance to co-create a vision to make City Hall a better place to work and to improve how we deliver services to our residents, businesses and community,” an email to city employees reads.

The survey asks whether City Hall communicates clearly with its workers and gives them defined roles. It also asks employees what they would do if they had unlimited resources.

The email went to all city departments – with one notable exception. The administration did not send the survey to City Council and its staff.

Bibb already hears plenty from his council colleagues down the hall.

Vacant land job filled

The City of Cleveland has finally filled a vacant City Hall role dedicated to vacant land. Last month, the city hired Joseph Giuliano as manager of the city’s land bank, officially known as the Land Reutilization Program, which acquires vacant land to pass to residents, developers and nonprofit groups. The position was unfilled for more than a year. Giuliano, who has roots in Youngstown, previously worked for a real estate developer, Cleveland Bricks, and for the Detroit Shoreway development organization.

Low bar for Cleveland Municipal Court candidates

Former Cleveland Council Member TJ Dow is among a number of Cleveland Municipal Court candidates on the November ballot who received poor reviews from the nonpartisan Judicial Candidates Rating Coalition, which produces the rating site He earned a grade of “not recommended” from five of the six bar associations participating in the screening process. (Dow declined to interview with the Norman S. Minor Bar Association.) 

As Weekly Chatter noted when Dow announced his bid, he has left a trail of controversies behind him that underscores his unremarkable career as a public official. He drew ridicule this week from some for distributing campaign literature targeting LGBQT+ voters that lacked any substance about his efforts to advocate for them. His mailer instead promised to provide “sensitivity training” to court employees if elected.

It also included a link to a video titled, “Who you choose to love,” which makes little sense and is notably generic, as if it were produced by artificial intelligence. 

County judge overruled

Cuyahoga County Court House
Cuyahoga County Court House. Credit: Jeff Haynes / Signal Cleveland Credit: Jeff Haynes / Signal Cleveland

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court Judge Leslie Ann Celebrezze violated court rules by steering a divorce case to her own docket, which allowed a longtime friend to benefit from the case, according to The Marshall Project-Cleveland’s latest story on the judge. In a series of stories, Reporter Mark Puente has documented the relationship between the judge and businessman Mark Dottore, who has received nearly $500,000 in fees for work he does through her courtroom. (Dottore works as what is known as a receiver.)

In his latest story, Puente also reports that Celebrezze’s judicial assistant contends she was transferred out of the judge’s office in April and forced to take a $20,000 pay cut after she allowed The Marshall Project – Cleveland to review public records involving Dottore or his company.

Take note

The Board of Elections said it has no choice but to keep several candidates off the November ballot for paperwork errors, even if they were following incorrect advice from elections officials. You can follow the discussion from its most recent meeting in Documentor Dean Jackson’s notes, which detail the reasoning of board members and offers insight into what candidates have to do to get on the ballot.

A picture is worth a thousand scooters

A photograph from inside Spin's warehouse in Cleveland showing rows of old scooters.
A photograph from inside Spin’s warehouse in Cleveland showing rows of old scooters. Credit: The City of Cleveland Credit: City of Cleveland

Finally, I want to highlight my favorite photo of the week, which comes from the City of Cleveland. It’s a shot of the inside of a warehouse on Lakeside Avenue, just east of downtown, which has become a “dumping ground” for old scooters from around the country. City officials recently moved to shut down the warehouse because they believe the scooters’ batteries pose a fire hazard.

Managing Editor, News (he/him)
Mark is a veteran journalist with experience in alternative media, print, digital and television news. For 19 years, he was a groundbreaking reporter and metro columnist with The Plain Dealer and Most recently, Mark spent three years as an investigative, enterprise and breaking news reporter at WKYC-TV, where his "Leading the Land" series on Cleveland's 2021 mayoral primary race earned a regional Emmy.

Government Reporter (he/him)
Nick joins us from the world of public radio. He has more than a decade experience covering politics and government in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. In 2021, he produced and hosted "After Jackson: Cleveland's Next Mayor," an Ideastream Public Media podcast on the Cleveland mayoral race. He has also covered breaking news, opioid lawsuits and elections nationally for NPR.