Is Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson trying to have it both ways

Like many, we were a little surprised to learn that Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson had written a letter to the Governor and state legislators asking them to place the SB5 like provisions back in the state budget.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson is urging Republican legislative leaders to adopt language in the state budget bill creating a teacher merit pay system -- similar to one in Senate Bill 5, a controversial collective bargaining law Jackson has criticized as an attack on public workers.
Along with a new merit pay system for teachers, Jackson's letter urged lawmakers to include language allowing districts to dump poor-performing teachers, remove seniority as the determining factor in deciding layoffs and bar collective bargaining in charter schools.

Despite some claims from Jackson that he opposes SB5, we were concerned a few weeks ago when we learned that the City of Cleveland was part of the efforts by the Greater Cleveland Partnership (the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce) to attack teachers. We sent an email to the Jackson administration seeking comment on this seeming contradiction

We noted in the plain dealer ( a report that the Greater Cleveland Partnership, which the city if a member of, is advocating for Senate Bill 5 type provisions in the state budget bill.

Does the city support this position, and the $50,000 funding of this "Ohio's Campaign for Jobs" campaign's attack on teachers?

A week ago we got the following response

Thank you for contacting Mayor Jackson’s office regarding SB 5 and the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

I wanted to share with you that while Mayor Jackson believes that collective bargaining reform is needed, he does not support SB 5. In addition, the Jackson Administration has been advocating at the state level for amendments to the proposed budget that would prevent the redistribution of revenue away from cities.

Best wishes,
Maureen R. Harper
Chief of Communications, Office of the Mayor

So the evidence becomes clear that Jackson is seeking to have it both ways on SB5. While claiming to not support SB5, his actions include:

  • Asking the legislature to put SB5 provisions back in the budget
  • Asking the legislature to bar collective bargaining for teachers at charter schools
  • Supporting unspecified collective bargaining reforms for public employees
  • Joining with the chamber of Commerce to attack teachers and other public employees right to collectively bargain, and not taking the opportunity when asked to distance himself from these actions

We're seeking further information from the Mayors office to see if we can get a clearer picture of what exactly the MAyor does and does not support.