The second Wednesday of every month has been booked for the mayor of Lakewood for the past 40 years — for the past eight administrations.
That’s the day that the Westshore Council of Governments meets.
The group — made up of mayors from Lakewood, Rocky River, Westlake, North Olmsted, Bay Village and Fairview Park — gets together to discuss regional collaborative opportunities.
Think rescue squads, HAZMAT, SWAT and narcotics investigations.
Wednesday was business as usual at the Woman’s Club Pavilion at Lakewood Park, except the mayors hosted a special guest.
Ohio Auditor Dave Yost stopped by to present them with the “Taxpayer Hero Award.”
“The big conversation across the state is sharing services,” said Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers. “(Yost) wanted to acknowledge that we’ve been doing this for 40 years. This is a good honor.”
According to a statement issued by the Auditor’s Office, the state’s fiscal reality “demands that governments get creative in how they maximize services for taxpayers while spending less. An example of local governments doing just that are the six communities in northeast Ohio that make up the Westshore Council of Governments.”
Summers said that each member of the group brings something special to the Council. For example, Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough sits on the board of the RTA, and shares his experience with the rest of the group.
Summers has a post on the NOACA board.
“Each of us may have a vantage point from a regional experience,” said Summers.
“Lately, we’ve been talking about financial issues.”
“We’ve been talking more about our shared opposition to House Bill 601,” he added, referring to the state measure that local lawmakers call a “one-size-fit-all” tax code on Ohio cities.
Among the agenda items for 2013 are equipment sharing; senior transportation; and health and human services issues, including mental health.
“It’s a peer-based support group,” Summers said. “Who knows better how to help a mayor than another mayor?”