From The Plain Dealer

When Cuyahoga County officials open proposals for a new headquarters in September, they intend to keep details secret in a break from their record of conducting business in public.

The county’s real estate consultant, CBRE Group Inc., said at a County Council committee meeting Wednesday that only the names of developers will be disclosed for proposals that include the sale of the ill-fated Ameritrust complex.

What the proposals might cost taxpayers and how county officials rate the deals will be presented only in closed-door meetings, as allowed by state law.

Ohio’s open-meeting law permits governments to privately discuss issues, such as real estate, litigation and personnel matters. State law also requires that the county not disclose competitive proposals that might otherwise be public until after a contract is awarded.

County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who took command of the new charter government in January 2011, has largely delivered on a campaign promise to bring transparency to county operations after years or corruption.

County Law Director Majeed Makhlouf said Wednesday that the county chose the secretive proposal process in this instance, rather than open bidding, so officials could negotiate the best deal for selling property.

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