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Cleveland City Council introduces petition transparency proposal

Sometimes well-intended ballot issue proposals and campaigns can severely limit the way businesses can strengthen and grow. The Greater Cleveland Partnership membership has expressed concerns over parts of the process in place for petitioners to place an issue on the local ballot.

To help provide more transparency on Cleveland ballot issues that are brought forward, City Council introduced a proposal last week that would make it mandatory for circulators of petitions to file an itemized statement that provides more information about that petition's circulation experience.

The Cleveland legislation largely mirrors current Ohio Revised Code that says information should be provided including the time spent and salaries earned while circulating petitions or soliciting signatures.

The overall statement is to be open to public inspection for one year.

“The GCP believes the signature collection process to put an issue on the ballot requires examination to avoid the potential for costly changes to municipal ordinance or charter,” said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman.

“This legislation is a step in the right direction; it provides the public more information and context that voters can ultimately use to evaluate the merits of any given issue and better understand who is behind it.”

The realization of this issue was particularly evident last year when petition efforts (with out-of-state origins) attempted to impose a part-time workers’ mandate and a Cleveland-only minimum wage on our city.

Those specific issues would have placed Cleveland at a disadvantage, hindered job creation, and the overall momentum the city is now experiencing.