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Government and Politics

Cuyahoga County's administration and council are at odds over archive
Council was surprised that lease negotiations for a new facility were still underway

Kevin Niedermier
Courtesy of Cuyahoga County
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Cuyahoga County’s administration and council are disputing the handling of a deal to relocate its archive facilities. Council members say they were unaware the administration was moving ahead with plans to lease a Cleveland warehouse that many on council deemed unfit.

LISTEN: The archive battle

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Council President C. Ellen Connally and other council members toured the warehouse last summer and said it was too old and not in good enough condition for an archive. County Executive Ed FitzGerald’s administration listened to the complaints, but moved ahead with contract negotiations to lease the space for $1 million annually for 10 years.

Council was poised to reject the deal at its meeting the week, but FitzGerald convinced member to wait until next month to vote while the two sides worked on the issue. Connally says another concern is that there is no long-term archiving plan.

“We’re talking about the next 50 years or so. And, it’s not time sensitive; we have things in storage places now. They just didn’t listen. We asked for a plan and we never really got one. We got a plan as to how things would go into that building in terms of triaging, like ... bar coding and such. But I’m looking at the long term.”

The administration’s chief of staff, Matt Carroll, says council members' concerns were delivered late in the negotiations, and it was not clear that they wanted to cancel the deal. He says starting over will take about 18 months.

Meanwhile, the impasse has put the building’s owner in a bind. The landlord says a current tenant’s lease was not renewed in anticipation of the county moving in.                                                                                                                                  

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