Safety & Public Works Committee, June 7, 2019

July 9th, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

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

Others present: William M. Ondrey Gruber, law director

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

The meeting was called to order at 8 a.m. by Ms. Moore. The minutes for the May 3, 2019, meeting were approved with a few small edits and are available here:

The first order of business concerned installing backbone fiberoptic cable using the city’s right of way, both aerial and underground. Verizon applied for and was granted the license franchise permit to install the cable for telecom and internet (not residential); the city cannot deny such utilities. MCI Metro Access Transmission Corp. will do the work. The company’s representatives assured the panel that their intent was to do the least damage. They will present the footprint and show all aspects of the work at the major projects meeting on June 11 (the maps provided in the packet were not helpful). Planning has already signed off on the work, which can begin immediately after all approvals and will last about 60 days. Approval was unanimous.

Supporting documents may be found here:

The next and last order of business concerned the sale of city-owned police dogs (K9). Chief DeMuth explained that the K9 program has been in operation for more than 30 years. When a dog is retired, past practice has been to allow the dog to live with its handler, but there is no official paperwork recording the transfer of ownership, so the city is liable should the dog injure someone. The proposed ordinance would solve that problem, allowing the handler to buy the dog for $1. The average tenure of a police dog is 7 to 9 years, sometimes longer. Their noses are still fine as old dogs, but they have trouble getting in and out of the car. Approval of the ordinance was unanimous.

Supporting documents may be found here:

Among the updates were Ms. Speese’s comment that it is difficult to find and hire employees, especially since Beachwood pays $6.50 more an hour. The city is now down nine employees in the Public Works Dept. Ms. Speese said that Mayor Weiss and Councilman Tres Roeder joined garbage-collection crews in a contest to see which team did it faster and without problems (there is a video on the city’s Facebook page). Mr. Roeder’s team won, but he injured himself in the process. The major issue is recycling appropriate items, which continues to require specific information and explanation; the smallest contamination means the load goes to the landfill. Ms. Chaikin discussed greenspace care, explaining that 78 percent of city land is pesticide free. Organic products are used everywhere except vacant lots, city flower beds, and the RTA track medians. Chief DeMuth reported that low crime rates continue and discussed the recent retirements of many police officers, all of whom were in the same age range. Other officers have been promoted to fill vacant administrative positions, and a civil service exam will be conducted this summer so there should be new hires in the fall. The retirements will continue but not at the same rate. He also talked about the car found in the lower lake, which ended up being on Cleveland Heights property. It had been stolen in 2009; Shaker Heights police officers helped CH remove it from the lake.

Ms. Moore adjourned the meeting at 8:55 a.m.

Barbara Bradley, observer

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