The City of East Cleveland Newsletter is an official publication of the Mayor Brandon L. King Administration. Print copies of this edition were mailed to East Cleveland residents during the week of March 8, 2021.
About This Newsletter
This inaugural edition of the City of East Cleveland newsletter provides accurate information about the City of East Cleveland’s finances. All of the documents referenced in it were submitted to East Cleveland City Council when they were originally generated. All council members received these documents and were informed of how Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds were spent.
Any assertion that Council members were not made aware of the information provided in this newsletter is patently false.
Under the King administration, there have been significant increases in City of East Cleveland revenues and savings. The mayor has no access to City finances. These finances undergo fiscal oversight from representatives from the city, county, and state, as well as annually from the independent accounting firm Ciuni & Panichi. Given these facts, the suggestion that Mayor King has misappropriated City finances clearly lacks merit.
The Fiscal Commission: Creating Our Road Map Out of Fiscal Emergency
In 2012, the Ohio State Auditor designated the City of East Cleveland as being in fiscal emergency. As a result of this designation, the Auditor’s office assigned a fiscal supervisor to oversee City finances. The supervisor audits our books every month to the penny and must approve every check the City writes. City bank accounts are reconciled and uploaded onto the City’s website on a monthly basis.
In addition, the State Auditor impaneled a fiscal commission to oversee the City’s debt. This commission is tasked with ensuring that the City has a reasonable and responsible fiscal recovery plan that serves as a road map to guiding us out of fiscal emergency. Another layer of oversight is provided by the independent Cleveland accounting firm, Ciuni & Panichi, Inc., which conducts an annual audit of the City’s finances.
Fiscal Commission Members
The Fiscal Commission is comprised of: Commission Chair, Barbara Mattei-Smith, designee of the Director of the Ohio Office of Budget Management; Rebecca Armstrong, designee of the Ohio Treasurer of State; Sandra Morgan, appointee of Cuyahoga County; Brandon L. King, Mayor, City of East Cleveland; Korean Stevenson, City Council representative; Robert Davis, community appointee of the Mayor, confirmed by City Council.
Fiscal Commission Meeting Schedule
The next Fiscal Commission meeting is March 18, 2021 at 3 p.m. via Zoom. To get the link and schedules of future meetings, subscribe to eastcleveland.org to receive email updates.
What Mayor King Has Done
Under King’s Leadership, the City Became Debt-free
Since 2016, the King administration has effectively managed City finances.
The King administration’s management of City finances has eliminated $2.2 million in debt and $2.3 million in deficits. The administration has created new revenue streams. These include profits from the municipal Impound and Detention Center, which is estimated to generate $500,000 to $650,000 per year. In addition, the administration changed how the City manages collecting fees for rental property. This enabled those monies to grow from approximately $60,000 per year to a projected $400,000 in 2021.
The King administration’s management of City operations has created an annual savings of $800,000 to $1 million. As a result of this savings and new revenue streams generated by the administration, the City has $9 million in the bank, $5 million of which is in the City’s General Fund.
What the Mayor Does Not Do
He does not handle the City’s money.
Mayor King does not administer City finances. He does not have access to nor is he a signatory of the City’s checking, savings, or investment accounts. He does not have access to the City’s petty cash.
Funding the 2021 Budget
Mayor King Prevented the Shut Down of Safety Forces and Other City Services
In December, the City Council president attempted to pass a temporary budget that underfunded our government. Council members voted 3 to 2 to pass that budget. Mayor King vetoed the budget and re-funded departments it affected. His action ensured that our safety forces would not shut down.
Since 2012, when the City was placed in fiscal emergency (see page 1), the Fiscal Commission has tasked the City with passing a permanent appropriations resolution — a one-year budget — for the following year. This is due in December. Until last year, the City consistently met this obligation.
In December, the City Council president attempted to pass a temporary budget that underfunded our government. Council members voted 3 to 2 to pass that budget. Had the proposed budget been implemented, the City would have had to lay off staff and stop providing required services, such as repairing and replacing street lights.
Mayor King vetoed Council’s proposed budget and took an action known as Repeal and Replace, meaning he re-funded the departments that Council underfunded. The Mayor’s action allowed the City to continue to operate and, most importantly, ensured that our safety forces — police, fire, and EMS — are properly funded so that they would not shut down.
In July 2020, the United States Department of Treasury awarded funds to the State of Ohio as federal financial assistance. These funds were awarded under the Social Security Act — amended by section 5001 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) — as the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF). The City of East Cleveland was granted CRF funding through the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) as a result of legislation from the Ohio General Assembly and the Ohio Controlling Board that allocates federal funding. Before the City could receive the funds, City Council had to pass legislation accepting them. They passed it on July 21, 2020, Resolution No. 19-20.
Prior to municipalities’ receipt of CRF funds, the OBM requires them to register with, and later report allocation use through, its grants portal. The City provided reports on the OBM’s designated due dates: October 20, 2020 and January 6, 2021. The City received a total of $4.2 million in multiple installments, including an unannounced direct wire transfer into the City’s bank account.
The Department of Treasury website provides information detailing how CRF funds can be used. The City stayed within these guidelines and chose five categories for fund use: police officer and firefighter salaries and benefits; hazard pay for City employees who all worked in-office, not at home; upgrades to the courtroom; and personal protective equipment (ppe).
The OBM audits every municipal report of CRF fund usage. The OBM has notified the City that our usage complies with requirements.
Visit the eastcleveland.org Finance page for the OBM’s official record of the City’s CRF expenditures.
The Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) audits every municipal report of Coronavirus Relief Fund usage. The OBM has notified the City that our usage complies with requirements.
Get the Facts
Additional documentation and graphs detailing how the City spent CRF funds are linked under the graph.