More from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson

Mayor Frank Jackson (photo: City of Cleveland Photographic Bureau)

As part of our series on leadership this week, we profiled Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, a man whose style is steady and reserved. He doesn’t crave attention and doesn’t believe his job description includes cheerleading. You can listen to the profile here. The Mayor doesn’t like to talk much about leadership style. Nevertheless, our sit-down revealed how he thinks and how he sees himself in Cleveland’s history. Next are some extended excerpts from our conversation:
Jackson doesn’t much like questions about leadership style and philosophy. But in this answer he says it’s all about purpose over politics. He says his purpose is to help those who are the least well off and help them share in a city’s prosperity.


Some joke that Mayor Jackson is a politician without an ego. He disagrees:


Does the Mayor think he doesn’t get enough recognition and credit for what he does right?


The Mayor is often criticized for not being enough of a cheerleader and promoter of Cleveland. He says results speak louder than words.


Mayor Jackson says he’s an effective leader for this time in Cleveland’s history. He hopes to be able to know when he’s no longer the right man for the job.


While Jackson says he’s the right man for this time in the city’s history, he says he’s learned from the mistakes of past Cleveland leaders, especially those in the 1970s. Leaders then, he says, missed an opportunity to plan for the future during a crisis. He doesn’t want to repeat the mistake.


Some say he’s pragmatic. He says:


Now that Cuyahoga County has a new government structure—a county executive and council—some are wondering if, ultimately, it will be better to have one person run the entire county as one municipality. The Mayor doesn’t think that would be wise.


Even though he says he has a good relationship with new County Executive Ed FitzGerald, the Mayor says the jury is still out on the new county government structure.


He says there could be feuds between the city and county and other county municipalities, but it will be about the assets.


Jackson says there is one key failing both in the city and the county: education. He says the leaders of the county reform movement didn’t want to engage on the topic for fear it would reduce voter support for the new structure. And, he says suburban schools need to stop thinking of themselves in competition with the city, but rather the region in competition with other nations.


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