Stay Informed on News and Policy

Every Monday -- News from GCP

Twenty-five year effort under way to protect our Great Lake

In this week’s “GCP Insight” interview, Julius Ciaccia , executive director of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, talks about the $3 billion investment NEORSD is making into Project Clean Lake, a 25-year effort to reduce the amount of raw sewage flowing into Lake Erie.

He also talks about the lake’s importance to economic and lakefront development with “Insight” host, Lesic and Camper Vice President Steve Luttner.

Click to watch.

The ”GCP Insight” video series focuses on topics of interest to the Greater Cleveland business community.

Former Northeast Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette remembered

Former Northeast Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette was born in Cleveland, began his career as a public defender and in private practice before becoming Lake County prosecutor in 1988.

He served Northeast Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives for almost 20 years. He died last week at the age of 62 after battling cancer.

“I lost a friend and the region lost a titan of public service,” stated Congressman Dave Joyce (R-OH). “God rest, my friend. You will be missed.”

"Steve made tough decisions based on what was right, not on party loyalty," reflected Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH). “He was a statesman and a true public servant. Steve will be greatly missed.”

Congressman LaTourette will always be remembered as an elected official who worked across party lines and partisan politics. He was instrumental in supporting his constituency and members of the Greater Cleveland Partnership on a variety of priority issues included in our Public Policy Agenda. He was a tireless advocate for the NASA Glenn Research Center.

In the mid 2000s, he successfully fought the closure of Cleveland’s Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) office, saving more than 1,000 jobs and adding new jobs in subsequent years. He worked closely with his fellow members of the Ohio Congressional delegation to make the Euclid Corridor transportation project a reality. And, he was a big believer in investing in our country’s infrastructure as well as our Great Lake.

Those who knew Steve LaTourette best, however, will certainly remember him for his sense of humor and ability to find common ground on policies crucial to Northeast Ohio.

Our region lost a champion last week. Our deepest condolences go out to Congressman Steve LaTourette’s friends and family.

Take action to prepare your company for medical marijuana legalization

The Ohio legislature and Governor Kasich pre-empted a campaign to place the legalization of medicinal marijuana on the ballot by approving legislation a couple months ago that will---in September--technically make Ohio the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana.

The legalization effort that was working to put its separate initiative—which was broader in scope—before voters this November has discontinued operations. The entirety of the legalization plan that will go into effect is required to complete the regulatory process within two years.

The good news for employers is specific protections advocated for by the Greater Cleveland Partnership/COSE were included in the legislation that passed and were not addressed in the now defunct referendum proposal. They include:
  • Employers won’t need to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana.
  • An employer will be able to discharge, refuse to hire, discipline or take adverse employment actions against an individual due to the use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana.
  • Employers can still establish and enforce drug testing, drug-free workplace, and zero-tolerance drug policies.
  • Unemployment benefits will not be made available to medical marijuana users.
  • Employers can still challenge workers' comp claims if an individual’s medical marijuana use results in injury.
However, this does not mean employers can become complacent.

In the weeks and months ahead, a Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will be named (with employer representation) that will submit recommendations to the Ohio Department of Commerce, Board of Pharmacy, and Medical Board.

The business community and general public will have an opportunity to provide comments and feedback throughout the rule making process. For updates, check Ohio’s Official Resource regularly on the Medical Marijuana Control Program.

But the most critical action an employer can take today is to review your company’s human resources handbooks and policies related to a drug-free workplace.

The Ohio State Bar Association recommends that the policy should:
  • Clearly state that marijuana is an illegal drug under federal law, and that the employer prohibits its employees from using any form of marijuana for any purpose, including for medical use, even if allowed under state law.
  • Prohibit illegal drug use, regardless of where or when the use occurs, instead of prohibiting illegal drugs “only at work,” “during work hours” or “on the premises.”
  • Define illegal drugs to include all drugs that are illegal under “federal, state or local law.”
Best practices also recommend providing training for employees, so they fully understand and comply with your company’s policies.

Cleveland part-time workers’ rights charter amendment proposed

Recent petition efforts will likely compel Cleveland City Council to consider a charter amendment with out-of-state origins.

If placed on the ballot and approved by voters in November, the amendment would enhance rights for part-time employees in Cleveland—those employed on an hourly basis fewer than 40 hours per week—and a Part-time Workers’ Rights Commission to oversee and enforce these new standards.

Several provisions of the amendment would particularly have a significant impact on local employers who rely on part-time labor. Click here for more details.

City Council is scheduled to act on the proposal this Wednesday. In addition to the part-time workers’ rights charter amendment, separate measures that would increase the minimum wage in Cleveland-only and increase the city’s income tax also may appear on the ballot for Cleveland voters to consider.

We need your vote! Immediate action required!

A designated representative of a member company of the Greater Cleveland Partnership or COSE is entitled to vote in the 2016 election of the GCP Board of Directors.

By checking the appropriate box on the ballot, you may either submit proxy instructions to vote for the entire slate of nominated candidates or submit proxy instructions to vote for individual names.

Please submit your completed ballot to the GCP offices by mail to:

Greater Cleveland Partnership
1240 Huron Road E, Suite 300
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-1717

Or return by email to or by fax to 216.621.6013 on or before Monday, August 15, 2016.

Thank you for your vote!

Click to download the ballot.

A focus on college and workforce readiness

The Greater Cleveland Partnership has developed Pathway Partners to connect the business community with education providers and students in developing Cleveland’s future workforce. This college and workforce readiness effort is a foundational link in our local talent pipeline and a centerpiece in a revitalized GCP workforce development agenda.

It connects the goals of True2U, the Academies of Cleveland and GCP Internship Central and continues and deepens the GCP’s support of The Cleveland Plan, whose goal is to provide high-quality schools for all City of Cleveland primary, middle and high school students.

To learn more, click here or on the image to watch our video.

How to apply for a CMSD Board position

Applications are being accepted for an appointment to a seat on the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) Board of Education. This appointment is for an unexpired term ending June 30, 2019.

To be considered, applicants must be residents of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
Both are editable PDFs. Applications also can be found at branches of the Cleveland Public Library and City of Cleveland Recreation Centers.

Mail your completed application to:

Nominating Panel
601 Lakeside Avenue, Room 227
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Attention: Monyka Price

Applications also can be dropped off at City Hall, 601 Lakeside Avenue, Room 227. They must be received by close of business on Friday, August 12, 2016.

Share the positive: Pass the Plus!

In this month’s issue of “Pass the Plus,” read about the positive happenings in the Cleveland Plus region including why and how Northeast Ohio is gaining global recognition as a leader in metal manufacturing and fabrication.

Click to read the newsletter.

Click to subscribe and start sharing our region’s good news with your networks of colleagues, friends and family.

“Pass the Plus” is a Cleveland Plus/Team NEO free monthly e-newsletter that provides informative news and information related to the many positive developments shaping Northeast Ohio.

Cleveland Plus and Team NEO are part of the economic development system that the GCP helped to create and continues to support.

Port of Cleveland successfully competes in global market

A recent article in Global Trade magazine affirmed that the Port of Cleveland’s strategy for competing in the global market is paying off.

Global Trade cited the Port of Cleveland as a leader in providing alternatives to large coastal ports that are increasingly backlogged and overwhelmed by cargo, labor disputes, and other issues that stall cargo movement.

Global Trade saw the Port of Cleveland’s 2014 creation of the Cleveland Europe Express (CEE) liner service between the Midwest, Europe, and connecting points worldwide as “a bold move [that] has resulted in a rapid rise in traffic through the port and accolades for its management.”

Operated by Spliethoff Transport BV, the CEE has established Cleveland as North America’s inland-most hub for trade with Europe, creating regular maritime commerce between the two regions for the first time in over 40 years. Global Trade cited the port’s strategic investments in the CEE and its docks and equipment, including its new warehouse and mobile cranes, as reasons for recent growth of nearly 500 percent in containerized cargo.

“The Port of Cleveland has been strategic in our investments and our operations, and it is producing results,” said Will Friedman, Port president and CEO.

“The industry is recognizing that we can compete with the large coastal ports on speed, efficiency, and service and offer an alternative to access the global marketplace.”

The impressive uptick in activity in Cleveland Harbor also supported growth in total economic impact for Northeast Ohio. Port of Cleveland operations now produce over $3.5 billion of total economic value annually for the region.

That includes supporting over 20,000 jobs, including more than 4,000 direct jobs in the region.

To learn more about using the Cleveland-Europe Express or the Port’s maritime services, contact Dave Gutheil, vice president of maritime & logistics at or 216.377.1363.

Above photo: The American Courage ore freighter transports iron ore on the Cuyahoga River to ArcelorMittal’s steel mill.