To the Taxpayers and Concerned Citizens of the City of Cleveland:
My name is Richard Boyett and I am proud to be the mayor of Cleveland. I have been involved in city government at various times over a period of 40 years. I take the responsibilities that elected officials are required to perform as both serious and important with full transparency. I am passionate about the City of Cleveland. One of my main objectives through my years of service has been to gather information, analyze content and hear citizens’ concerns, and then make a decision that is right in every respect with honesty and integrity heading the list.
Recently, the City of Cleveland city manager position became vacant. I recommended that a search firm be hired to find the best available candidate to fill the position. My recommendation was not approved, and a divided council chose to call a special meeting and forego a search to find the best candidate and instead elevated the newly hired public works director to the position of city manager. This was done without the open position being posted for interested candidates to apply, without interviews being allowed by all councilmembers, and without a full background investigation and credentials being verified.
I was vehemently opposed to this decision, as were two councilmembers. The city manager position requires a heavy financial background, as well as experience in handling municipal and city affairs at the highest level. It is odd that three elected officials would make a decision to hire someone without the basic fundamentals to handle the most important job in our city government and purposefully avoid trying to find the most qualified candidate.
Equally disturbing is that someone would elect to take a job under these unfortunate and tumultuous circumstances and refuse to go through a standard interviewing and hiring process with eligible and qualified candidates once the position was posted. Anyone, including other City of Cleveland employees, should have had an equal opportunity to be considered for the city manager position.
Regardless, the city attorney was asked to prepare an employment contract by at least one councilmember. There are too many details that followed to include all the events that transpired in this short letter. However, it is important to note that, at the taxpayers’ expense, the city attorney was holding private meetings with the city manager, a councilmember(s), and a councilmember’s spouse on city property and/or by phone on an almost daily basis to discuss an employment contract. I was livid that such meetings were taking place, particularly with the inclusion of a spouse of a councilmember and also that the city attorney permitted such events to transpire. Once I became aware of these gatherings, I immediately demanded that the current meeting be stopped and I went to city hall to meet with the city manager.
I asked a city police officer to accompany me into the meeting. I say what I think, and I mean what I say. The police officer I brought with me was wearing a body cam, and I was fully aware of this during the confrontation. I do not deny what I said – after all, there is a video to prove it. I let my emotions get the best of me, and I used vulgarities and harsh words, and for that I have apologized publicly. However, I do not apologize for my crude way of defining what I feel are the gross lack of qualifications of the city manager and his absolute disregard for taking a job for his own personal and financial gain with no regard to the City of Cleveland and the manner in which he and the elected officials went about the process.
I am fully aware that a video is in circulation of my confrontation with the city manager. I am bothered and concerned by the fact that the video has ended up in the hands of politicians who are using this video as a wedge to gain votes and to challenge my character. What is not seen on the video is a full disclosure of all the other events that took place leading up to that confrontation. Body cam footage should not be used as political propaganda.
My primary goal and focus is to do what is right by the city, its citizens, and its taxpayers of the city. I take my position seriously, and I will continue to follow that philosophy.
I love my family, I love my country, and I love the City of Cleveland! No one and no video can take any of that away! I have taken a firm stand against the three councilmembers and the city attorney with regard to the hiring process of our city manager and the record clearly shows his lack of higher education and city managerial experience.
I am against any employee being able to author or amend provisions in a city employment contract, particularly when it is to the detriment of our city to the tune of approximately $400,000. The corrupt way in which the three councilmembers chose to avoid a search to find the highest and best available candidate(s) was wrong and not in the best interest of the taxpayers and was just another show of their self-serving, damaging and costly personal agendas.
There is a city election being held on Saturday, May 7. Polls will be open that day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with early voting happening now through Friday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., as well as Monday, May 2, and Tuesday, May 3, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. I strongly encourage eligible voters to do what you feel is right in your heart and what you feel is right for the future of our great community. We are a growing and thriving city, and we have important work to do to keep Cleveland moving in a positive direction! Vote like the state of the City of Cleveland depends on it because it does!
May God continue to bless Cleveland!
Mayor of the City of Cleveland