A measure attached to Ohio’s $1.3 billion capital bill — approved by the House last week — would pave the way toward a restructuring of Cuyahoga County government.
The amendment, which would be subject to voter approval and would need to be approved by a majority of the county’s three-commissioner board, would eliminate several positions and shift several others to appointed department heads rather than elected offices.
Under the proposal, proposed by one of the three Cuyahoga County commissioners, the elected positions of auditor, recorder, treasurer, coroner, engineer, and sheriff would be eliminated, with some of the duties being combined and others taken over by new positions appointed by commissioners.
The jobs of auditor, recorder, and treasurer would be combined into a new county fiscal officer position with a five-year term. The elected clerk of courts would become an appointed position, the coroner’s office would become the medical examiner’s department — with an appointed head — and the sheriff’s office would become a corrections department, also with an appointed head. The three county commissioner seats would remain elected positions.
Though the amendment passed 94 to 2 as part of the larger capital bill, it attracted criticism from House Democrats who said the restructuring option should be an option for all counties statewide, not just Cuyahoga, the state’s most populous county.
The Senate is expected to vote on the measure and the capital bill this week. Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, who could veto the amendment, said he wants to study the legislation further.