Lots of change coming to City Hall this year…
We have an opportunity to make meaningful change this year – pushing for meaningful reform and ensuring a better culture of collaboration and results at City Hall.
As the only elected member of Council who will seek reelection in 2021, please know that I have been and will continue to be fully committed to this path forward for City Hall.
I’ve proposed a package of reforms, including:
New campaign finance laws that would improve transparency by requiring immediate disclosure of contributions to a campaign or PAC from anyone that has business with the city.
A local Cincinnati Ethics Commission and a designated Ethics and Good Government Officer to work with the state ethics commission and provide additional oversight and accountability.
Required training every year for public officials on issues ranging from ethics rules to campaign finance laws to public records and open meetings laws.
A new charter amendment that will allow the city to better hold public officials accountable.
I’m also eager to help lead efforts to clarify the role of elected officials in development deals. While the roles of the mayor and council will be different, we are all policy-makers and should not be involved in these deals until the administration has done its work. While I’ve done this myself, others have not and we need to ensure it stops.
Finally, I have introduced a new scorecard for all development projects. This Balanced Development scorecard will help the Administration select projects that will lift up and protect Cincinnati residents and local businesses.
New culture of collaboration and results
I will also work even harder to create a better culture at City Hall – one where public officials do not seek to empower themselves but rather to empower one another and those we serve.
Although new to Council, I’ve prioritized building strong relationships with everyone and staying away from the environment of toxic, personal feuding that has plagued City Hall for far too long.
I’ve already reached out to all of my colleagues to see how I can be more helpful to them and the issues they are working on, and to find ways to nurture a better culture together.
2021 and a new mayor and council
I will also encourage those running for Council and Mayor to join me in committing to these reforms, and to a more positive and collaborative culture. I will call on all candidates to:
Have a clear purpose for running. Make sure your reasons for seeking leadership are based on the issues that matter most to those we serve, and not a desire for personal authority. This will help ensure that the new leaders who come into power are here to do the work – not to advance their political careers.
My focus has been on children and families, especially those marginalized. In a few years in office, I’ve worked to pass comprehensive eviction prevention reform, major improvements in pedestrian safety, and the largest increase in youth jobs ever.
Be coalition-builders to get things done. We need people who have a track record of bringing people together, not tearing others down. The political war and toxic hostility I’ve witnessed at City Hall is antagonistic to progress. It needs to end; it can, if we lift up those who collaborate, not those who fight.
Before I was on Council, I brought a broad, diverse coalition together to pass the Preschool Promise, or two years of quality preschool for children who need it the most. Last year, I worked with others on a similar coalition building effort to pass the largest investment in our public transit and infrastructure systems in over four decades.
As we head into 2021, I’m optimistic that we can turn things around and determined to make it happen in the most collaborative and sincere way possible.
By fostering an improved culture – while adhering to the reforms proposed – we can restore a needed sense of public trust in local government and get real results for the city we love.
Greg Landsman was elected to Cincinnati City Council in 2017. He can be reached at Greg.Landsman@Cincinnati-Oh.Gov.