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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND LITTLE HOOVER COMMISSION

CLEVELAND LITTLE HOOVER COMMISSION

The CLEVELAND LITTLE HOOVER COMMISSION was appointed by Mayor Ralph Locher and council president Jas. Stanton in Dec. 1965 to make an in-depth study of the city's administration to improve its operation and to make a long-range study of Cleveland's financial needs. The commission took its name and objective from the Hoover Commission, created by Pres. Truman to make a similar investigation of the federal government. The commission was formed after the May 1965 election when voters rejected a new .5% city income tax to be levied on all who worked in the city. There seemed to be a belief that the tax would generate too much revenue, and it was hoped the commission study would provide substantive evidence of Cleveland's need for the additional income.

The Little Hoover Commission was composed of 24 business and community leaders, with Carter Kessel as chairman. Donald Witzke directed the study, which utilized professional analysts to investigate city departments, determine their adequacy, and make specific recommendations for improvements and/or financial savings. Nineteen reports were generated as a result of the study, and in Aug. 1966 the commission recommended that the city council immediately enact the .5% income tax defeated by the voters the year before. Both Locher and the Hoover Commission urged the city council to act on the recommendation, and the council, which had the authority to enact an income tax of up to 1% without voter approval, voted the new .5% tax in late November.