Daniel J. Ursu for Richmond Heights mayor | Local Government | Employment

The News-Herald

Election Questionnaire

Date questionnaire completed: 9/18/13 Office sought: Re-Election to Mayor of Richmond Hts.

Political party: Democrat; however Richmond Hts.(RH) is a non partisan ballot so party affiliation will not be listed Name: Daniel John Ursu Age: 56 Date of birth: 10/14/56 Place of birth: Cleveland, Ohio Home address: 475 Trebisky Rd., Richmond Hts., Ohio 44143 Length of residence in that community: 31 yrs. Occupation: Attorney Employer: City of Richmond Hts.; Solo Law Practice Business address: 26789 Highland Rd., Richmond Hts., Ohio 44143 Elected office experience: Six 4 year terms as Mayor of Richmond Hts.; two 2 year terms as Council at Large in Richmond Hts.; 28 years total as an elected official Non-elected office experience (boards, etc.): Appointed to the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission by County Executive Ed FitzGerald; Richmond Heights Commission on Aging; Richmond Heights Cultural Commission; Suburban Police Anticrime Network; Mediation Association of Northeast Ohio; Richmond Heights Elementary School Stakeholder Group Education (Please only list schools you’ve graduated from and list degrees if applicable): Juris Doctor of Law, Case Western Reserve University (1985); Bachelor of Civil Engineering, University of Dayton (1978); Charles F. Brush High School (1974) Marital status: Married Name of spouse: Ellen Name and age of any children: Caroline (15) and Emily (9) Organizations: Cuyahoga County Mayor’s and Managers Association; Northeast Ohio Mayors an Managers Association; State of Ohio Mayor’s Association; Hillcrest Council of Councils Should you be elected, what are three specific areas you’d like to change, address, improve or further research, and how specifically would you go about it?:
1. The last significant area in RH where offices could be built is on County controlled land along Curtis Wright Blvd. near the County Airport. If offices are built on the current remaining parcels, they would potentially employ large numbers of persons in relatively well paying jobs. As such, these employees would pay RITA tax to Richmond Hts. through their employers at a rate of 2.25% and in the aggregate produce a substantial amount of new revenue to RH government. Under the old Commissioner form of County government, there was no discernible interest on the part of the former commissioners to develop that land. Recently, under the new form of County Government, County Executive Ed Fitzgerald however indicated a strong desire to work on economic development. For the County’s part, the Airport Manager is an important person in making this happen for the County controlled land at the Airport. Unfortunately, in 2012 the Airport Manager left for employment elsewhere and a new Airport Manager is yet to be hired. In the meantime, Ed FitzGerald appointed me to the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission. In that role, I am uniquely positioned by both access to the key county personnel and my knowledge and experience as Mayor of Richmond Hts. to help this process move forward when a new Airport Manager is named. Once achieved over the upcoming years, this will result in a welcome and significant boost in R.I.T.A. revenues to our city. 2. On this past May 7th, Richmond Hts. voters approved Issue 7 which had been recommended to our residents to help replace revenues that were lost to recent state cutbacks to local governments and the Great Recession. The issue 7 funds will add about $800,000 of additional revenue to our city budget in 2014. This new money can be brought to bear in 2014 to help revive some of the services that were curtailed and bring back some of the positions that were lost due to reductions in force which began in the first quarter of 2009. Experience, prudence, deliberation

and enlightened prioritizing is needed in bringing these gradually back as the process is complicated. The correct handling of this will result in the optimal combination of services for our residents and businesses. As the person at the point of these reductions when they were made I have the experience and knowledge of how the cuts were undertaken and why. Therefore, I would be the best person able to correctly prioritize the order and magnitude at which they should be brought back and when. This is an important undertaking in 2014 and beyond. 3. In bringing back new employees, our residents and businesses deserve the best possible city workers. This is achieved by a Civil Service process and advertising effort to attract the best possible applicants. During my tenure as Mayor, I have put in place a thorough and rigorous comprehensive Civil Service process that is lengthy and resource intensive, but produces a superb pool of employees for hiring. As a result of this, highly motivated well qualified and skilled employees are hired to the betterment of all our residents and businesses. I would maintain and strengthen this in the years ahead to help assure that the best possible municipal employees continue to be identified and hired to serve our community.

Whether for past accomplishments or future goals, why should voters elect you?
The unprecedented economic downturn and the reductions in revenues from the State of Ohio to local governments have adversely impacted local Municipalities and especially Richmond Heights. At the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 the City was forced to balance its budget by reducing our work force, shorten our work week and roll back salaries for department heads amongst other actions. As the economy worsened and the State of Ohio cuts continued additional actions were needed to balance our budget. Most recently, the State of Ohio further introduced an economic “stress test” that requires local municipalities to keep on hand 12% of its annual operating funds. For Richmond Heights this means about $750,000. Through our continued cuts and reductions, we achieved this goal going into our 2013 budget. Having brought us through these difficult times, I have the proven and necessary leadership skills to continue to steer the city through the future unknowns. Economists forecast further economic challenges springing from new health care laws, slow recovery from the Great Recession and the volatile world situation. An experienced Mayor with a proven history to maneuver us through such challenges is in the best interest of the residents of Richmond Heights. I have worked productively and fruitfully with numerous Councils and Council members during my 24 years as Mayor. We didn’t always initially agree on the best course of action but through open and candid discussions with Council members, Department Heads and Chiefs I have always found a way to construct a mutually satisfactory resolution to these disagreements. This is evidenced by the fact that through my 24 years as Mayor and the literally thousands of pieces of legislation that have been passed during that time, I have never had to veto a piece of legislation. This shows sound judgment and teamwork under my leadership throughout the variety of challenges that have been faced over the years.

NOTE TO CANDIDATES: Please be aware that this questionnaire will be published.

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