Discussion with Director of Regional...

Discussion with Director of Regional Collaboration Ed Jerse

Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 13, 2012

On Thursday, November 15, 2012 Cuyahoga County Director of Regional Collaboration, Ed Jerse joined a discussion about regional collaboration on the Civic Commons.

Participants (6)

What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2014-10-25T12:36:13+00:00
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Recent Activity

Daryl Rowland
on Nov 15, 2012
"Thank you, Ed and Jill."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"Thanks very much for mentioning this event which will really be unique. People can read up on..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"Agreed. The Towpath is really coming into its own - we just attended a groundbreaking for an..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"And I will echo that thank you back to Ed, Emily Lundgard behind the scenes and a force with the..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"Well, a thank you to you, Jill, and the Civic Commons for setting up this format - it's a great..."
Nancy Reeves
on Nov 15, 2012
"In terms of transportation, the Northcoast Express is wonderful.  I don't have the opportunity to..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"Before I go, I wantto remind everyone of the Shared Services Expo to be held November 27th at the..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"We have just a few minutes left, if you can believe that. Is there anything else you'd like to..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"I think an important role they can play is to urge local officials to look into and be responsive..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"How can residents, taxpayers and other non-governmental folks get involved in these efforts, Ed?..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"To learn more about the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities effort, go to http://vibrantneo.org/"
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"Like you, Nancy, I do a lot of inter-county travel - to Lake County from my home in Euclid and to..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"Nancy, are there efforts that you have seen, either on a large or small scale, that you think..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"Some services we already provide: Human resources; health benefits; sewer maintenance; road..."
Nancy Reeves
on Nov 15, 2012
"That actually fits to a question I was going to ask. Having lived or worked in 4 counties in..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"Regionalism is about getting communities out of their "silos" both for regional economic..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"Let's get to some brass tacks - the county provision of services to political subdivisions...."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"So I'll ask - any chance we're going to see bans on the size of beverages?! Or would you like to..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"The Health Alliance is an effort to promote healthy living in communities as well as in the..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"And so the regionalism efforts can be seen as a way to represent, as a bigger set of assets?..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"I certainly second that notion! As a lifelong Clevelander, I am a big proponent of changing the..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"The Health Alliance is an effort that I know I've "seen" in terms of it being referenced here and..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"And on the suggestion of it being challening, I'll definitely recuse myself from commenting given..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"You asked about the Merger Study involving Orange, Pepper Pike, Moreland Hills, and Woodmere.  We..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"Wow - that is a really great way to think about this, Daryl. Imagine being able to help the East..."
Daryl Rowland
on Nov 15, 2012
"As a former New Yorker, I would mention that a shared sense of identity helps to make the..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"Such primacy in that list! Nice to know the priority it's been given. No pressure on you thought,..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"The Western Reserve Plan encapsulates Executive FitzGerald's long-term vision for the county and..."
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012
"When we were promoting Executive FitzGerald's "Business Attraction and Anti-Poaching Protocol,"..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012
"Ed - how are these efforts coming along, from the merger efforts to the county service provision..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012 - 11:58 am

We have just a few minutes left, if you can believe that. Is there anything else you'd like to cover in this first chat (you like that, "first"?!)?

 

Responses(3)

Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

Well, a thank you to you, Jill, and the Civic Commons for setting up this format - it's a great format for communication.  Folks who want to know more about our efforts can go to our website: regionalcollaboration@cuyahogacounty.us.  In the coming months, we'll be focused on the merger study and our efforts to promote the available county-provided services to our 59 communities.

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

And I will echo that thank you back to Ed, Emily Lundgard behind the scenes and a force with the County's regional collaboration efforts too.

Thank you everyone for participating in whichever way you chose today. Please feel free to tweet or Facebook this chat for others to browse and know that it's always here for the conversation to continue at the Civic Commons on this and so many other topics!

 
Daryl Rowland
on Nov 15, 2012

Thank you, Ed and Jill.

 
Expand This Thread
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012 - 11:53 am

How can residents, taxpayers and other non-governmental folks get involved in these efforts, Ed? We know folks are busy, community outreach may be overwhelmed with other subject matter (like education perhaps). What do you see as the two or three actions you think would help move these efforts forward?

 

Responses(3)

Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

I think an important role they can play is to urge local officials to look into and be responsive to these regionalism efforts.  It really is an exciting time in Cuyahoga County and Northeast Ohio as the new form of government and the many downtown projects have injected a sense of life in the community that has been missing for some time.  So, folks should take advantage of all that's going on and urge local officials to explore such things as the Health Alliance and shared services.

 
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

Before I go, I wantto remind everyone of the Shared Services Expo to be held November 27th at the Idea Center, 1375 Euclid Avenue in Playhouse Square from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Executive FitzGerald and former Senator Voinovich will be speakers and the topic is shared services.  More information and registration details can be found at ideastream.org/education.

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

Thanks very much for mentioning this event which will really be unique. People can read up on some of what they will hear by checking out the Beyond Boundaries report:

 
Expand This Thread
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012 - 11:43 am

Let's get to some brass tacks - the county provision of services to political subdivisions. You've mentioned IT - what other areas of service provision, on a county-wide level, are you pursuing?

 

Responses(1)

Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

Some services we already provide: Human resources; health benefits; sewer maintenance; road resurfacing; sheriff's impact units.  Others we are exploring: printing; records retention; contract negotiations; crime lab; "piggy-back" procurement provisions (which allow communities to get the same price as the County on certain contracts, such as those for office supplies.)

 
Expand This Thread
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012 - 11:35 am

The Health Alliance is an effort that I know I've "seen" in terms of it being referenced here and there. Could you tell us a bit about it - what political subdivisions does it involve (all or some?) and what goals are you hoping it will meet?

 

Responses(2)

Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

The Health Alliance is an effort to promote healthy living in communities as well as in the County.  It's a partnership to share ideas about - and means of promoting - healthy living.  More details - and a list of participating communities - can be found on the website: wellness.cuyahogacounty.us.  This is also an efficiency/cost saving issue.  Mayor Mike Summers of Lakewood, in promoting bike lanes, recently spoke about how much we spend unnecessarily on medical costs that might be avoided if people engaged in healthier lifestyles.

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

So I'll ask - any chance we're going to see bans on the size of beverages?! Or would you like to defer that to the County Council!? :)

 
Expand This Thread
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012 - 11:23 am

Ed - how are these efforts coming along, from the merger efforts to the county service provision effort - now, that's a part of the Western Reserve Plan, right, but not THE plan itself?

 

Responses(4)

Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

The Western Reserve Plan encapsulates Executive FitzGerald's long-term vision for the county and includes 12 points, such as focusing on downtown development, promoting early childhood education, promoting entrepreneurship, embracing a health and wellness culture, etc.  Our efforts to promote expanded county-provided services is the first of the 12 points and the one on which the Department of Regional Collaboration is most focused. 

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

Such primacy in that list! Nice to know the priority it's been given. No pressure on you thought, right!?

 
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

You asked about the Merger Study involving Orange, Pepper Pike, Moreland Hills, and Woodmere.  We received a $100,000 state Local Government Innovation Fund grant and we issued a Request for Proposals for a Project Manager.  We received a number of proposals and are in the process of selecting and bringing on a manager.  It's a challenging effort, but our hope is that it will serve as a model and lead to either increased shared services or a merger.

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

And on the suggestion of it being challening, I'll definitely recuse myself from commenting given the other hat I wear - full disclosure here - as a city council member in Pepper Pike!

 
Expand This Thread
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012 - 11:11 am

Thanks for your note, Scott (Councilman Lynch). You are correct to recognize that home rule and "local identity" issues are big obstacles to any form of Regional, Metro or "Uni" government.The borough concept is an interesting approach to try to preserve identity while sharing more services.I checked the New York system - the only "borough" system with which I am familar - and found that Mayor Bloomberg has most of the power, with the Borough presidents having very limited powers.  I suspect most Mayors and communities would be reluctant to cede power to a County.  The other aspect of this is time.  The Executive's voluntary approach is non-threatening and is already being implemented, i.e. some cities are already contracting with the County for services, like IT and web design.  An entirely new system, like a borough system, would be a long-term proposaition and a difficult sell.   

 

Responses(15)

Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

I immediately thought of New York also. Do you think that the relatively small size of our county, compared to New York City, gives us advantages in moving to an all-county provision of municipal services?

 
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

Well, the smaller size of our county makes it simpler, for sure, but the key is really the voluntary nature of the County's service offerings.  The biggest obstacle we've faced in all of our efforts is a local reluctance to get "locked in."  The advantage of the Executive's approach is that communities can choose to use our services or choose to continue with their existing delivery systems - it's voluntary and non-threatening.

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

Yes, I completely get that element. As new collaborative relationships start to proliferate, figuring that out and being explicit about it is very necessary.

 
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

When we were promoting Executive FitzGerald's "Business Attraction and Anti-Poaching Protocol," we were able to overcome doubts by reminding Council members and Mayors that they could get out of the agreement easily - by simply passing a resolution to that effect and giving notice.  We don't expect communities to withdraw, but giving them the assurance that they could made them more willing to sign on. 

 
Daryl Rowland
on Nov 15, 2012

As a former New Yorker, I would mention that a shared sense of identity helps to make the boroughs cohere in NY. Fostering that kind of perception in Cleveland is an important part of the challenge.

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

Wow - that is a really great way to think about this, Daryl. Imagine being able to help the East and West side communities develop a better sense of being in one regional community, while still maintaining identity.

 
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

I certainly second that notion! As a lifelong Clevelander, I am a big proponent of changing the too-often negative self-image that Clevelanders have and unfortunately convey to the "outside world."  Northeast Ohio has so many advantages and sometimes they are best appreciated by those who come here from other cities or regions.  Yes, New York and Chicago have advantages, but they also have challenges.  Cleveland is a nice mix - you have all the concerts and pro sports and yet you can get home quickly to a home that doesn't cost a million dollars!

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

And so the regionalism efforts can be seen as a way to represent, as a bigger set of assets? That's how I often think of it.

 
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

Regionalism is about getting communities out of their "silos" both for regional economic development efforts and for that sense of regional identity that Daryl mentioned.  And it can expand beyond Cuyahoga county - we have partners in Summit, mahoning and other neighboring counties.

 
Nancy Reeves
on Nov 15, 2012

That actually fits to a question I was going to ask.

Having lived or worked in 4 counties in the NE Ohio area, and I live close enough to a 5th to do much of my shopping in it, I tend to think of it as one big community, and I cross the borders relatively easily.  But that is not the case for many people.  I have neighbors who are afraid to go to Cleveland, the Plain Dealer barely acknowledges Akron exists - and the Beacon Journal isn't much better about reporting on things in Cleveland that have a broader impact.  On an even smaller scale, when I lived in Newburgh Heights, people who lived in the Coventry/Lee/Cedar area of Cleveland Heights used to plan car pools to come to my house because it was so far away (not that I discourage car pools, but when the route to pick everyone up is longer than the trip to my house, a reality check might be in order).

So - being the  multi-county gal that I am, I am interested not only in developing a regional identity within Cuyahoga County - but in the broader NE Ohio area - and I am particularly interested in the development of viable public transportation systemt that crosses county lines - and would love to hear some thoughts on that concern.

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

Nancy, are there efforts that you have seen, either on a large or small scale, that you think helps promote and get people to catch on to this way of thinking and doing things?

 
Nancy Reeves
on Nov 15, 2012

In terms of transportation, the Northcoast Express is wonderful.  I don't have the opportunity to commute to Cleveland often, but the last time I did I sat next to a high school student who was commuting from West Akron to a school in the University Circle area.  It would be nice to see connections between at least the regular city centers that made it easier to commute.

Another idea to extent the Northcoast Express might be to offer once a month evening runs from Akron to the theater district, or the Gordon Square area, or some other area in Cleveland which might have a collection of similarly timed events and a well defined identity as a draw.

The Towpath is an example of a regional venture that sneaks people across county lines before they realize what happened to them.  Most people bike and walk locally - but once you're on the towpath, it is pretty easy to move from Norhern Summit into Cuyahoga County, or from Southern Summit County into Stark County.

 

 
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

Agreed. The Towpath is really coming into its own - we just attended a groundbreaking for an extension near downtown Cleveland along the river.  I've often thought it would be great to run a bus service or trolley from the Heights - by Notre Dame College and John Carroll - down throughLittle Italy, University Circle, Playhouse Square and downtown.  There's alot to see along that corridor!

 
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

Like you, Nancy, I do a lot of inter-county travel - to Lake County from my home in Euclid and to Aurora Farms in Geauga County.  Your point about public transit is an important one which is being considered by the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium.  With sprawl and the outward migration of some jobs, it's important to find ways to get workers to those jobs.  That's one part of the puzzle.  Another part is to promote the vibrancy of downtown, so that the jobs are more often centrally located and easily accessible on public transit.  That is part of the reason Executive FitzGerald has stressed investment in the downtown core.  Chicago's Millenium Park, Columbus' Arena District and Indianapolis' downtown are good examples of that kind of focus.

 
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

To learn more about the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities effort, go to http://vibrantneo.org/

 
Expand This Thread
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012 - 11:06 am

While we're waiting for Ed's thoughts, please take a look at the Western Reserve Plan, the Civic Commons EfficientGovNetwork and the Regional Collaboration website.

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012 - 11:01 am

So, Ed - before you offer your thoughts on the first question posted here, which comes from Euclid Councilman, Scott Lynch, could you give us the thumbnail sketch of how efforts have evolved since you first took this new county position in early 2011?

 

Responses(1)

Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

Yes, Jill, it's been a learning experience.  We've found that complex inter-community collaborations are difficult for a host of reasons - different pay scales, command structures, services provided, etc.  So, Executive FitzGerald has promoted the idea of expanded county-provided services to avoid those obstacles and "local identity" and control issues. It's part of his "Western Reserve Plan" and seeks to give the communities voluntary options.

 
Expand This Thread
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012 - 11:00 am

Good morning and welcome to this live chat. Today we've got Cuyahoga County Director of Regional Collaboration, Ed Jerse, on the Civic Commons. We'll be here for an hour so feel free to let others know, read, post comments or questions and enjoy!

 

Responses(3)

Ronald Markowitz
on Nov 15, 2012

Jill/Ed:

 

I believe if we can establish "guidlines" for measuring the attained economic efficiencies that result from regional programs, that the voters will be totally on board with additional efforts.

 

Once those achievements can be quantified the voters will be on board for more savings and the politicians who might not now be supportive will get on board also.

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

Thanks, Ron. I know you've examined and thought about regionalism for a long time and live in a community central to some efforts.

 
Ed Jerse
on Nov 15, 2012

An excellent point.  Actually, the savings, with respect to County-provided services, will be readily identifiable.  For example, our IT Department can state a cost for designing a website and a community can compare that cost to what it currently pays or would pay to another vendor.  I know the Mayors involved in the merger study are very interested in bottom line "cost savings" numbers - those will be key to their decisions.

 
Expand This Thread
Councilman Scott Lynch
on Nov 14, 2012 - 10:06 pm

Hi Ed, and thanks for all your work on this important topic. I was hoping you could reflect on how your efforts through the county would change if the 59 municipalities in Cuyahoga became 59 boroughs of one regional city?

This change would effectively keep all the local identities, employees, and elected officials the same with the exception of removing the Home-Rule road blocks to real regional progress. It seems to me this would be the best of both worlds, maintaining local entities while creating a truly regional, expanded Home-Rule city that carries enough weight to change the fate of Northeast Ohio.

The 100 year old Home-Rule Amendment would not need to change because the rules for incorporation are set by Ohio statute. Just as the State enacted charter reform for the county, complimentary legislation could convert our cities into boroughs of one municipal entity. Wouldn't this make your role a lot easier to overcome the politics and inertia against regional reform?

Sorry I can't be there for the live chat, but I look forward to your comments.

 

Responses(2)

Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

Councilman,

Thanks so much for leaving these thoughts and a question. We'll be sure Ed responds to them during the live chat, so do check back later!

 
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 15, 2012

FYI - please see Ed's response a bit lower, Councilman. Thank you!

 
Expand This Thread
Jill Miller Zimon
on Nov 13, 2012 - 12:42 pm

Our conversation with Cuyahoga County Director of Regional Collaboration begins on Thursday, November 15 at 11:00am. Feel free to get the conversation started by leaving your questions, comments, and concerns. Director Jerse will respond to all comments left in this conversation. Browse the Western Reserve Plan and the Regional Collaboration websites in advance if you like. So if you can't be here during the 1 hour live chat, be sure to leave your comments now and return after the live chat to hear his response.