Cuyahoga County Council is considering a charter amendment that some members say could help party insiders win council seats without facing open elections. The charter states that if a council member vacates a seat mid term, precinct committee members from that council district would choose a replacement to serve until the next countywide general election. But the amendment proposed by Democratic Councilman Dale Miller would allow appointees to serve out the term in cases where council members vacate their seats within 30 days of the filing deadline for a primary — or any time after that. That could mean that an appointee would serve three years of a four-year term without seeking election.
The amendment also would apply to the county executive, who would be replaced by the council president, who is chosen by council members.
Council is currently considering 10 charter amendments, including resolutions that would give the law director the right to represent the county in civil litigation and would require council to pass a two-year budget before council. Members will meet July 10 to discuss the issues. If approved, the amendments would appear on the November ballot for voters to consider.
Democratic Councilman Dan Brady, a critic of the amendment, said the change would make it easier for a council member to leave office early so the party could hand-pick a replacement. That replacement would be an incumbent in the next election and so, have a better chance of winning.”What happens… over time you end up with a majority of members who are not initially elected,” said Democratic Councilman Dan Brady.