On Wednesday, County Executive Armond Budish delivered his fourth State of the County address, to a packed room at the Cleveland Convention Center. In his 50 minutes of remarks, Budish was able to highlight several important strategic victories for his administration, including increased enrollment due to the expansion of universal pre-kindergarten, expanding workforce development in organizations that serve seniors and further implementing efforts to combat infant mortality. Additionally, Budish highlighted the recent announcement from the Department of Sustainability of a new solar panel installation on top of a former landfill in Brooklyn that, when complete, will be the largest solar array in the state of Ohio. He mentioned the successful launch of a county mentoring program, as well as efforts to improve the criminal justice system through the county consolidation and takeover of municipal jails. The County also produced seven short videos that were played at different times during the speech, to complement County Executive Budish’s remarks. One video highlighted the story of a local couple who were foster parents to two children whose biological mother died as a result of substance use disorder, who then decided to adopt the children.
I was among four individuals who asked a question during the traditional question and answer portion of the City Club event.
The County Executive also addressed issues currently challenging the county. Budish spoke about the ongoing investigation of several county IT employees, calling it “upsetting” and stated that the county is fully cooperating with authorities in law enforcement. Budish said he has also assembled an independent panel to review the procedures of the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and make recommendations for improvements in response to the death of four-year-old Aniya Day-Garrett.State of the County features county highs and low as well as a question from @communitysols' @WillTarter Click To Tweet
I was among four individuals who asked a question during the traditional question and answer portion of the City Club event. In his speech, Budish had highlighted Cleveland.com and the role it played in distributing information and raising awareness of the new county mentoring program. My question was about how recently announced changes in the local media, namely the announcement that Advance Ohio (parent company to The Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com) would be offering buyouts to 29 of its employees who have 15 or more years of experience, and the proposed merger of Sinclair and Tribune which would likely affect the ownership of WJW, Fox 8 in Cleveland, would impact the sharing of information. The County Executive replied by saying that a strong and independent media is vital to the success of our democracy, and lamented the proposed changes. Several members of The City Club, both in-person and on social media, expressed their gratitude for the question, and for his answer. These members, and I, share similar concerns about how changes in local media will affect the ability, or inability, for County citizens to learn about the workings of their government.