Months ago, we revealed Cleveland City Hall held a retreat for the Mayor and members of his Cabinet.
The City spent $3515 on food for twenty people over a day-and-a-half at the Skylight Penthouse, an upscale event center.
So, we took a closer look.
We filed a records request for the menu.
Dinner included Seared Organic Salmon and Wood-Grilled Airline Chicken Breast at $70 a person.
A lunch buffet included a salad bar with chicken, vegetables and fruit at $27 a person. Oh, and don’t forget the desserts listed on the menu including Vanilla Cheesecake Bites with Raspberry Buttercream Garnish. Breakfast included muffins, pastries, bagels, and fruit at $15 a person.
We shared the menu with a west side activist.
Therese Pohorence supports the mayor and his promises of change, but not this.
She said, “Well, it’s a lot. She added, “People see what their expenses are, then they read what expenses like this are, and think that they’ve been tricked and sold a bill of goods.”
When we first exposed the meeting, City Council members and others spoke out.
The city spent a total of $30,000 for the retreat, bringing in a consultant and more.
In May, City Hall issued a statement calling this “worth the investment” for “Professional development and training.”
At a news conference Thursday, Mayor Justin Bibb spoke about watching City spending, saying, “We are being fiscally responsible.”
But, we’ve asked multiple times to talk to the mayor or another official on camera about the retreat, and that has never happened.
Could another retreat happen? We’ve done some checking. The Mayor’s office told us his cabinet just got together for a mid-year review. But this time it happened at a place where there was no cost for the space. And, a spokesperson pointed out, “We all brought our own lunches.”
Therese Pohorence hopes the days of the $70 dinner are over.
She said, “That’s a step in the right direction.”