Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is going to find out how good his skills are as a salesman.
FitzGerald, who has made regional cooperation a priority, promised during his campaign to create a non-compete policy between communities. The reward for those that sign on: favorable treatment in his Fourth Frontier Program for economic development.
In September, FitzGerald released guidelines for his anti-poaching agreement. He had released a draft of the agreement in June, but softened some points in the final version after soliciting feedback from mayors.
The policy asks suburbs to agree to not pursue businesses in other communities in the county. If a company makes the first move, FitzGerald wants the cities notify the company"s home community, unless the business demands confidentiality. And the pact makes it clear there is no commitment to tax-revenue sharing when a business relocates within the county, only that discussion is encouraged.
The question now is how many of the county"s 59 communities will join.
Parma Mayor Dean DePiero signed the agreement Sept. 29, 2011, saying it would help keep Cuyahoga County viable and business-friendly.
"I think that it"s important as a mayor in this region to think more regionally in a lot of ways but especially in economic development,” DePiero said then. "That does not mean stealing a business from another community. That"s not development.”
In June, Berea officials signed a draft of the document, and the county planned to follow up about signing the revised document.
Pepper Pike officials also have indicated that they will sign it.
But others have expressed skepticism.
Mayors of Beachwood and Westlake, for example, have raised objections to the policy.
"I"m not sure there"s a need for it,” Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough told The Plain Dealer. He is also steadfastly against revenue sharing.
Initially, the county hoped to have communities signed by the end of September. Ed Jerse, the director of regional collaboration for the county, had said, though, that realistically it would take some for leadership in each city to discuss it.
FitzGerald has moved this promise from concept to plan in action. And if he can sell it to communities across Cuyahoga County, we"ll be able to move the Fitz-O-Meter to Promise Kept.
For the time being, though, we"ve pointed the meter at In The Works.