Safety & Public Works Committee, April 5, 2019

May 7th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

Members Present: Nancy Moore, council member and chair; Julianna Johnston Senturia, council member; Jonathan Hren and James Sammon, citizen members; David Weiss, mayor; Jeffrey DeMuth, chief of police; Patricia Speese, director of public works; Patrick Sweeney, chief of fire; Jeri Chaikin, chief administrative officer

Others present: Joyce Braverman, director of planning, and Anna Klavora, principal planner

The agenda and supporting documents for this meeting may be found here:


The meeting was recorded and the audio is available here: (

The meeting was called to order at 8 a.m. by Ms. Moore.

Since there was not a quorum, Ms. Moore explained that the draft minutes will be posted and three sets of minutes will be approved at the next meeting. For each agenda item, a sense of the committee will be on record.

Agenda—Committee actions:

Before taking on agenda items, Ms. Moore announced that the city’s planning department was recognized by the American Planning Association as one of the top 20 planning departments in the nation. The award, for implementation of what is now called the Van Aken District, was the only one given in the implementation category. Ms. Moore noted that many projects are conceived and implemented, but this long-term redevelopment project, which involved years of planning as well as input from the community, warranted this special recognition.

Ms. Klavora presented two contracts for Warrensville Center Road streetscape improvements: administration/construction inspection (est. $234,000) and construction owner’s representative (est. $25,000). The construction, including sidewalks, curbs, landscaping, and the like, is expected to begin in June. The administration/construction inspection consultant is required by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) when federal funding is used. In order to both meet the required ODOT process and begin construction this spring, a final recommendation and contract amount will not be available until presented to the finance committee later in April. It will be funded with Shaker Heights capital funds for Van Aken District construction and federal grant funds, if available. A selection committee will review the letters of interest submitted for each contract, interview and rank candidates, and present proposals to the city, which will award the contracts. Budgets for both contracts are available; use the link above. Those present supported the projects.

Chief Sweeney presented two donations: 2004 Horton Rescue Squad to University Hospitals as a thank-you to UH for more than 25 years of Medical Control direction and instruction; 1991 Ladder Truck to the Western Reserve Fire Museum and Education Center. The department has tried to sell both vehicles but been unsuccessful. Both are owned by the fire department and have been decommissioned and replaced. The chief will check with the law department about possible liability. Perhaps “Donated by” could be added to the “Shaker Heights” identification on the vehicles. Those present supported the projects, which will save money in overhead expenses, and especially noted their “feel good” aspect.There was then some discussion of current matters. Mayor Weiss spoke of the approval, after a year-long negotiation, of the Teamsters 570 contract, which includes a 2 percent increase for 2018 and 2.25 percent increase for 2019 and 2020. Next are contracts with firefighters and police. Chief DeMuth said that while the department has been busy, it has been successful with most of its investigations. He also talked about the tragic accident at Warrensville and South Woodland, which had nothing to do with the signals and everything to do with erratic driving. The snow had just begun, so signals were not covered, but the snow did keep the police from gathering some evidence. He also reminded everyone that warm weather means officers on foot and bikes patrolling the neighborhoods, and that residents should still keep their doors and windows locked. Chief Sweeney said that owners of the home that burned on Lytle Road will rebuild, right on the current foundation if possible. The floors of the house were being sanded and stained; the fire was caused by rags saturated with stain left in black plastic bags in the kitchen, a tragic example of spontaneous combustion. Ms. Speese noted that the warmer weather means many, many construction projects: Cleveland Water, Dominion East Ohio Gas, sidewalk and curb programs, sewer projects, etc. The department will keep the construction page on the website as up-to-date as possible. Ms. Moore asked her to discuss the grass bag situation. Only organic material is allowed in the yard waste bags; they will be opened and tagged for removal by specific trucks, depending on the contents. One other problem that has cropped up and needs attention is residents using tree lawns for unwanted items. Ms. Speese applauded their efforts to reuse/recycle but noted that it is unsightly and against the law; the department is spending lots of time contacting residents and explaining the ordinance and that residents can be ticketed. They can contact the department about bringing large items to the recycling center and get approval for drop-offs more than once a quarter. The once-per-quarter restriction came about because nonresidents were bringing trucks loaded with refuse weekly. The center is not licensed for construction materials or landfill materials. Ms. Senturia commented that sometimes our values run up on one another, and one person’s trash is another’s treasure. There has to be a happy medium. Ms. Speese uses Facebook to get rid of unwanted items and Ms. Moore mentioned Mr. Sammon suggested contacting the coaches of SHHS athletic teams, who are always looking for funds, to help with removals. But the city should not take a position on the matter other than suggesting options.

Ms. Moore adjourned the meeting at 8:58 a.m.

The next meeting is May 3, 2019, at 8 a.m.

Barbara Bradley, League observer

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