Paid Parental Leave: an important step forward

A paid parental leave policy for city employees will benefit our community. This policy—nearly universal among other developed nations—is positive for families. It will also help Lakewood attract and retain the talent necessary for high quality services, as more Ohio employers begin introducing parental leave benefits.

Paid parental leave is also more than a benefit, however. I have worked throughout my time at City Hall to adopt this policy because it is an important commitment to equality and fairness.

From the moment people are born in this world, giving birth to another generation is ruled out for half, by biological reality. Society’s entire future relies on most women giving birth. We need to acknowledge our collective dependence on that, and provide paid leave specifically for birth and recovery, rather than treat them like things everyone may go through. The leave available to those who will never give birth is just not adequate for those who do.

I appreciate the support from City Council which has at last made this policy possible, after years of work.

Proud Of Lakewood

As 2020 comes to a close, I am proud of the work we have done and am hopeful for what lies ahead.

There is no denying the tough times right now. The COVID-19 pandemic remains dangerous, and that means disruptions to life for months to come.

However, even with the backdrop of a once in a lifetime pandemic, we continue to move forward on many goals and projects. We have no room to slow down.

Awards and Recognition

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2020 Census and other progress

We accomplished a great deal together as a community in October.

We completed our Census work—earlier than we hoped—but we still managed to improve our overall response rate in Lakewood compared to the last Census ten years ago.

Our 2020 street resurfacing program has come to a close. We improved 9 streets with over $1.7 million in materials and labor. We completed the installation of a new electric vehicle charging station near the intersection of Parkhaven Row and Detroit.

I participated in Power a Clean Future Ohio’s “Ohio Leaders for Climate Accountability Roundtable” to share the work my administration is doing to preserve and protect our environment. I also attended the kickoff meeting for Cuyahoga County’s Lakefront Public Access Plan, for which I serve on the steering committee. The goal of this Plan is to better access and utilize Lake Erie assets to improve economic opportunities and quality of life.

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Fiscal Responsibility Update

I pledged to emphasize strong public finances, as mayor. Amid the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, my administration is both advocating for federal and state assistance, and finding savings locally.

Applying my background in employee benefits, Lakewood is on course to save more than $100,000 in benefits over the next 12 months. The city has also saved more than $300,000 overtime this year, compared to 2019.

Between disrupted economic conditions, and delayed tax filing deadlines, estimating an eventual budget shortfall is difficult but we are taking no chances. We have reduced payroll further, through voluntary furloughs, while avoiding layoffs, and placed projects on hold where possible to protect the city’s bond rating.

While tough work remains ahead, all of Lakewood can be proud of how city departments have stepped forward with a get-through-this-together spirit.