The reformed county government is still fairly new to Cuyahoga County. For over 200 years, the county followed one way of working, and that way did not include a county executive. However, the people decided in the 2009elections that the structure of county government no longer worked and they wanted a new one. Just five years ago, the people of Cuyahoga County approved a new charter, ushering in a new way of doing things.
The reformed structure called for a county executive: a person at the top who’s in charge, similar to the governor of a state or president of a country. The county executive works with the elected county council to pass legislation, has authority over taxation, and helps to name members of his or her executive cabinet.
Jack Schron announced in January that he was running for the Republican nomination to replace Ed FitzGerald as county executive. In May, he won that nomination, earning the right to face off against Democrat Armond Budish. Schron says he is the right person for the job because of his professional background. He also has stated that he is the only candidate with the experience to do the job in the way it was intended.
Why Schron chose to run
“I’ve got children and grandchildren living here and I want them to hopefully grow up with same growth and opportunities that I enjoyed,” said Schron in a phone interview on Oct 6. He also mentioned that the current county executive, Fitzgerald, is leaving the job before finishing what he set out to do. Schron said he is determined to make a positive impact as county executive and finish what Fitzgerald started.
He said that he bring skills and talents that no one else would bring to the position. After 28 years in the U.S. Army, Schron took charge of Jergens, a manufacturing company that creates parts for machine and metal work, aerospace and military equipment, automotive parts and medical equipment. He has also served on the school board in Chagrin Falls, and was president of the board he has represented District Six on County Council.
Along with the his business background, Schron has created an online manufacturing training site called Tooling U, which he hopes will help stop the young and educated from leaving the Cleveland area. That is an issue that Schron said he wants to work on as county executive.
After serving on County Council for four years, Schron said he knows what the job of county executive calls for and is ready to accept the challenge. He is aware of the budget, which totals $1.3 billion, and the staff of 7,000 employees. County responsibilities include a Board of Health, Department of Public Safety, the County Sheriff, and the Fiscal Office.
He is also aware of the jobs he would need to help local businesses to create, and has a plan he calls the Three Ms, to do that
The Three Ms
Schron has thought about how to bring jobs to the county. The Three Ms he would focus on are the medical community, manufacturing companies and a category he calls media, which includes all sorts of arts and entertainment.
In the medical community, he wants to capitalize on the health-care industry in Cleveland. He’s determined to make sure that there are jobs available — ones that will keep medical professionals in Northeast Ohio
The second M refers to the manufacturing community. This relates back to the idea of Tooling U which he created to train people for jobs in manufacturing.
Media refers to all different types of arts and culture, such theatre, hotels, restaurants and different media outlets, as well as the service industry. He sees the growing field that has taken off in Cleveland and he want to maintain the jobs that are now in under the ‘media and more’ sector and continue to create new ones.
Schron’s main point is that his background makes him the best man for the job.
“I’m the only one with 30 years with executive experience having run a multinational organization. I’m the only one who has been in charge of the economic development for the county council. And I’m honored to be committed to this, not only for my wife of 44 years, my three children, my grandchild, but also for all the other families and children of Northeast Ohio,” Schron said in a phone interview in early October.
Schron and his opponent, Armond Budish, were in a debate at the beginning of October at which Schron said both candidates were able to represent themselves. His main point was that that his business background makes him the better candidate. He also mentioned that his opponent was against the 2009 reforms to county government that brought the position of county executive into being on Jan. 1, 2010.
Plain Dealer endorsement
Schron has received the Plain Dealer’s endorsement for County Executive. However, Colin Swearingen, a political science professor at John Carroll University said in an email that newspaper endorsements do not have that much effect on the outcome of the election.
Swearingen has done research about elections and how they work. He has found that most people know who they going to vote for before endorsements come out. However, having the endorsement from the Plain Dealer will not necessarily hurt Schron. It may have people thinking again about who to vote for.
Swearingen also made a note that, since Cuyahoga County is heavily Democratic, Schron will have to convince Democrats to vote for him. The endorsement may not be enough to sway all those votes his way, he said.
Schron mentioned that he wants voters to know that he has already worked with the reformed county government and knows what the job calls for. On Nov. 4, Schron urges voters to select him as county executive because he can bring about what the job calls for, which is to make the county a better place for its residents.