Cleveland, OH

Cleveland City Council Questions Mayor Bibb Again; This Time It's About the Proposed Budget

Brown on Cleveland
Mayor-Elect Justin BibbThe Brown Report Newspaper (Photo)

Cleveland, OH. - Mayor Justin Bibb is the City of Cleveland's 58th Mayor. Bibb proceeded Mayor Frank G. Jackson, who served as Cleveland's longer Mayor for 16 years. Thirty-four-year-old Bibb earned his bachelor's degree from American University and his JD, MBA from Case Western Reserve. Upon taking office, Bibb had no political experience. During the 2021 Mayoral campaign, he claimed to have been the youngest serving cabinet member under Cuyahoga County's first Chief Executive, Edward FitzGerald. This statement warranted many questions. Fitzgerald confirmed that Bibb's information was not valid. TV 3 News reported that he was not a member of the cabinet. FitzGerald stated, "He was not in the cabinet at all. He was a kid just out of college." Bibb also touted that he had worked with many Mayors across the country.

Early January, the City of Cleveland residents expressed frustration to the media and council members about the snow removal process following several snowstorms. Residents and business owners had become disenchanted with city services. City streets were unshoveled, and RTA suspended bus services. City Council held hearings and questioned the Mayor's top officials to discuss how his administration would handle it. Bibb told the community via mainstream and social media, "I hear you," as he pledged to effectively place strategies to create safe travel during winter weather conditions.

Recently, Mayor Bibb submitted his budget to the Cleveland City Council. The suggested budget caused a media frenzy and stirred conversation amongst several city council members. Ed Gallek of Fox 8 began to question the excessive spending and salaries of Bibb's top leadership team. Fox News I-Team reported that several members of the Bibb administration are making $190,000 per year. Councilman President Blaine Griffin also learned that others make between 140,000 - 180,000, 60% more than Former Mayor Jackson's staff earned. Griffin appears to be concerned with the budget's line item request and salaries. With less than 60 days in office, the council openly questions Mayor Bibb again. Griffin told Fox 8, "this will be the Mayor's opportunity to justify why he has a 60% increase in the Mayor's office. We want to make sure this translates to better services and quality services for the residents and the City of Cleveland."

Brown on Cleveland reached out to the Bibb administration's Sara Johnson. Johnson is the Chief Communications Director. We asked her via email:

  • Please explain the specialties of the Bibb administration that warrant excessive salaries?
  • Will this be a top-heavy administration?
  • Under what premise will there be an oversight on each newly added cabinet member and leadership staff?
  • How will this staff differ from previous administrations?
  • Is this budget cost-effective to the taxpayers of the city?
  • What will be the projected return on investment?

According to Cleveland's City Charter, the Mayor's responsibility is to supervise the administration of the city's affairs and keep the council members advised of the town's financial condition and future needs. "As a resident of Cleveland and voter, we have a right to expect transparency from the Mayor. There should be questions. I am glad that people are asking questions. We deserve answers. I don't want to see money thrown out of the window. We need to ensure that we are not engaging in wasteful spending," said Cleveland resident Janice Williams.

Johnson did not respond to our questions in time for this article. We will update this story should Johnson or someone from the Bibb administration react.

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"Brown On Cleveland" features podcast host, licensed social worker, and social justice activist Kimberly F. Brown. Former talk show host with WOVU.95fm. Brown is the Chief Administrator of The Brown Report Newspaper. Brown experience is with investigative reporting.

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