Group proposes reducing number of members on Cleveland City Council

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– A local activist group is proposing big changes to Cleveland City Council.

The citizens group Clevelanders First submitted multiple boxes of signatures for the proposed change to be on the March ballot Monday morning.

“We would like to go from 17 council people to nine. And we would like to take the salary from around $86,000 to $58,000 to be more in line with cities of comparable size,” said Bill Ritter with Clevelanders First.

According to Ritter, Cleveland has more council members than much larger cities like Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, and Columbus.

“We have 17 members now that are fighting for the same resources. If we take it down to nine, working closely with the mayor will be much more effective,” Ritter said.

According to Council President Kevin Kelley, the proposed council cuts would have an impact on public service.

“It would be difficult to find good people who want to do this work. It’s already hard to find people who want to run for office and do this,” Kelley said.

Kelley said it would also weaken residents’ representation.

“It’s a question of democracy. People voted on the current council configuration. I would ask people, do you want your representation lowered? Do you want less democracy?” Kelley said.

So, what happens next?

According to Kelley, they are in the process of checking the validity of the signatures.

After that, they will have to put an ordinance that forwards the question to the board of elections in January.

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