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FESLER, MAYO

FESLER, MAYO (19 Nov. 1871-6 May 1945), reformer and director of the CITIZENS LEAGUE, was born in Morgantown, Ind., to Peter and Emma (Collitt) Fesler. He attended DePaul University and the University of Chicago, graduating in 1897. He taught high school before becoming secretary of the St. Louis Civic League in 1903. In 1910, the Cleveland Municipal Assoc. hired him as secretary. Fesler, NEWTON D. BAKER, and A. R. Hatton campaigned for municipal home rule, Fesler as secretary of the Ohio Municipal League, formed to promote the cause. HOME RULE was adopted in the 1912 state constitution, and Fesler helped draft Cleveland's first city charter. He encouraged implementation of the merit system for city employees and the general assembly's passage of a civil service act in 1914. In 1913, he changed the name of the Municipal League to the Civic League. Fesler helped organize the CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND in 1912 and was its first secretary.

Fesler left Cleveland in 1917 to become secretary of the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Chamber of Commerce; and in 1922 became secretary of Chicago's city club. The Civic League was reorganized as the Citizens League in 1923, and Fesler returned to Cleveland as its first director, retiring 2 months before his death. Fesler started the movement leading to recodification of Ohio's election code in 1929, and often lobbied before CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL and the Ohio general assembly. Fesler married Gertrude Fails in 1903; they had 1 daughter, Jean Louise. Fesler died in Cleveland and was buried in Highland Park Cemetery.