CLEVELAND, Ohio — Leaders planning Cuyahoga County’s transformation to charter government want to shave county spending by 15 percent and funnel $50 million in savings to spur job growth.

Chief organizers of a transition team announced the goal Thursday as they listed a dozen committees that will brainstorm ways to make county government more efficient.

They don’t have specifics on how to cut costs, but 1,000 volunteers — working with and in the committees — will help find spots to save.

For example, one committee led by elected officials, including State Sen. Nina Turner, will explore collaboration with state and municipal governments. Other committees will analyze possibly merging health and human services agencies, eliminating duplicate staff, appointing members to boards and recommending a new property appraisal system.

The suggestions will be compiled, along with recommendations for campaign finance reform and a code of ethics, for the first county executive and county council to consider upon taking office in 2011.

“The exciting thing is, there isn’t anything these committees can’t envision,” said Joe Roman, president of the Greater Cleveland Partnership chamber of commerce. “There isn’t any place these committees can’t go. What a 68-percent margin said is, ‘Go there.’ ”

That was roughly the margin of victory for a county charter that swaps the three commissioners for a county executive and 11-member council. In addition, the elected offices of auditor, clerk of courts, coroner, engineer, recorder, sheriff and treasurer will be replaced by appointed positions.

Transition leaders, including Roman, former Parma Heights Mayor Martin Zanotti and county Administrator James McCafferty, hope to streamline the bureaucracy as well, and divert more money to programs that directly serve county residents.

“Nobody will be able to accept the phrase, ‘That’s the way we’ve always done it,’ ” Zanotti said.

Transition leaders met Thursday with committee co-chairs, a balance of county employees and private-sector experts, who will tackle issues such as economic development, finances and public engagement. Since last month, more than 1,000 people have volunteered to work with the committees. Many will be contacted soon to join certain panels or to work as part of focus groups that will assist the committees.

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Article courtesy of: cleveland.com

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