Communities around Northeast Ohio are united by the challenges of COVID-19, and local officials are at the forefront of the response. Almost overnight, municipalities were pressed to implement new public safety regulations and establish emergency relief spending measures. Resulting budget shortfalls are forcing painful decisions in local governments, including layoffs, furloughs, and cuts to important public services. COVID-19: Outlooks from Northeast Ohio Mayors, recorded on December 2, 2020, features a panel of mayors from cities throughout Cuyahoga County. Together they offer their ground-level perspectives as they have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, and share their outlooks on how our communities will continue to navigate these challenging times in 2021.
Annette M. Blackwell, Mayor, City of Maple Heights
On January 6, 2016, Mayor Blackwell was sworn in as the City of Maple Heights’ 16th Mayor, the first female and first African-American in the City’s 100-year history. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Cuyahoga County Mayors & City Managers Association and is the Secretary for the Regional Income Tax Agency. Mayor Blackwell has received numerous awards. Most notably, the National Action Network Humanitarian and Warrior of Justice & Leadership Award, the National Council of Negro Women’s Distinguished Community Leader Award. However, her most honorable awards are Ursuline College’s Sister Diana Stano Leadership Award and her induction into her high school’s, Villa Angela – St. Joseph, Hall of Fame. On January 6, 2020, Mayor Blackwell was sworn in for her 2nd term and continues to serve the 20,000+ residents of the City of Maple Heights.
Timothy J. DeGeeter, Mayor, City of Parma
Tim DeGeeter is the 14th mayor of Parma, Ohio’s seventh largest city. DeGeeter has made improving residents’ quality of life, supporting economic development, repairing the city’s infrastructure and preserving public recreational greenspace his top priorities during his administration. DeGeeter embraces his leadership responsibilities with active service. He sits on the executive board of the Ohio Mayor’s Alliance, serves on the board of the Ohio Municipal League and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, and is a member of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA). He supports the Parma Area Chamber of Commerce and co-founded Parma’s Leadership for Tomorrow, a program that partners with Cox Communications and local Parma schools to educate fourth graders about municipal government. Prior to his role as mayor, DeGeeter served in the Ohio House of Representatives. He also was a former Parma Ward 4 councilman, City of Berea assistant municipal prosecutor, City of Avon Lake assistant law director and Parma Bar Association president. DeGeeter, adopted at birth, grew up in Mishawaka, Indiana, near South Bend. He attended Holy Cross Junior College and transferred to John Carroll University. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1991 and later earned his law degree in 1997 from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where he met his wife, Pam. They have two children, Jack and Molly.
Paul Koomar, Mayor, City of Bay Village
Paul Koomar was sworn in as Mayor of Bay Village on January 2017. He started his professional career as a CPA and then used his skills in management at Cleveland Clinic. Paul serves on the Cuyahoga County Emergency Services Advisory Board, the District One Public Works Integrating Committee and is an alternative for the Northeastern Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency. He worked with the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission to complete a Master Plan for Bay Village. In the first two years of working this plan the city secured funding in excess of $15M for the town center. Paul enjoys skiing, hiking and boating with family and friends. He is active with the Scouts BSA with his daughter. Paul and his family are members of Bay Presbyterian Church and have participated in a mission trip to Kenya.
Dr. William M. Bowen, Professor of Public Administration and Urban Studies
Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University
William M. Bowen was born in Cleveland and raised in Florida. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill he was commissioned as a Supply Officer in the United States Navy. While on shore duty he entered into a Master of Public Administration program and found that he loved doing research and teaching. He currently serves as Professor of Urban Studies and Public Policy in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. His research and teaching interests are in research-based decision-making and problem solving in regional analysis and planning, especially in relation to economic development, energy policy, and environmental issues. His recent research The Journal of Urban Management, Economic Development Quarterly, Biodemography and Social Biology, The Journal of Urbanism, The Journal of Urban Affairs, and the Annals of Regional Science. When he is not engaged in scholarship, he spends his time in various leadership roles in the Boy Scouts of America. He is also the lead guitar player for a local classic rock and blues band.
Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association
This program was held in partnership with the Levin College of Urban Affairs and the Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association.
- US Metro Economies 2020 GMP and Unemployment Rates: Economic Impacts of COVID-19 (July 2020) | Prepared for The United States Conference of Mayors and The Council on Metro Economies and the New American City; Prepared by HIS Markit
- Cities are Essential: The COVID-19 Recession | Prepared by the National League of Cities
- COVID-19 and Cities (PPT) | William M. Bowen, PhD
- Preparedness for Epidemic Disease Or Bioterrorism: Minimum Cost Planning for the Location and Staffing Of Urban Point-Of-Dispensing Centers | William M. Bowen, PhD, Jen-Yi Chen, PhD, Oya I. Tukel, PhD