Cudell Improvement bylaw changes create new service area
by Chuck Hoven
(Plain Press, April 2019) Members of Cudell Improvement called for a Special Members Meeting on Thursday, February 21st, just days before the Cudell Improvement Annual Meeting on Saturday, February 23rd. At the Special Members Meeting, held at the Cannon, LoPresti and Catavolos Funeral at 11210 Detroit Avenue, members were asked to vote on three changes in the organization’s bylaws – all three issues proposed passed.
The first issue proposed involved changing the membership requirements “to eliminate membership of individuals who provide a service or conduct business in the service area.” The issue also allowed membership for property owners in the service area and called for a change in the service area boundaries.
The old bylaws allowed membership for “individuals, families, non-profit organizations and businesses who reside or are employed in the Service Area or conduct business or provide a service in the service area and are in good standing.” The old bylaws defined the Service Area boundaries as “W. 117thon the west, West 83rdon the east, Lorain Avenue on the south and Lake Erie on the north.”
The change in the bylaws, which passed with a vote of 41-2, reads as follows: “The members of Cudell Improvement, Inc. shall be individuals, families, non-profit organizations, and businesses who reside, are employed, or own property in the Service Area and who are in good standing. The Service Area is the portions of the Cudell and Edgewater neighborhoods in Cleveland, Ohio highlighted on the map attached hereto and incorporated herein as Exhibit A.”
The map, passed out at the meeting as Exhibit A, shows the Edgewater and Cudell neighborhood statistical planning areas outlined as defined by the City of Cleveland Planning Department. However, the map used was a Ward map that shows the Ward 11 part of the Map in white and the remainder of the area in grey. Cudell Improvement Board Secretary Jonathan Steiner explained that the intention of Issue 1 was to serve the entire Cudell and Edgewater Statistical Planning Areas. He stressed that the area in Ward 11 which is part of Dona Brady’s Ward and is serviced by Westown is intended to be included in the newly defined Cudell Improvement service area. The new Cudell Improvement service area includes the area north of I-90 from W. 85thto W. 117th. The new area does not include Cudell Improvement’s office on Lorain Avenue, or property Cudell Improvement owns south of I-90.
The new boundaries and membership requirements effectively eliminate the area south of I-90 once serviced by Cudell Improvement. Also, businesses that are outside the service area boundaries, but offered services in the service area, such as Martens Funeral Home staff were eliminated from membership.
Martens Funeral Home director Wally Martens, has been a member of Cudell Improvement for many years, serves on its Board of Trustees and sponsored the Walter and Pauline Martens Lifetime Achievement Award given each year at the organization’s annual meeting. It was not clear whether or not members of the Board of Directors, whom had their membership qualifications terminated by the new rules, would be allowed to serve out their terms.
The second issue adds a new provision for removing a member of the Board of Directors of Cudell Improvement. The new provision allows for “removal of a Director who creates an unhealthy or dysfunctional boardroom through inappropriate behavior or by disrespecting the Directors, members or partners of Cudell Improvement.” This measure passed with a 37-4 vote.
The third issue proposed by the membership changed the qualifications of candidates for the Board of Directors “to prohibit candidacy of individuals who were employed by Cudell Improvement, Inc. within the past five years.” The issue passed by a vote of 34-7.
Cudell Improvement Board President Dan Berry said that in his many years of involvement with Cudell Improvement, “I can’t remember ever having members call for a meeting.” He added that he thought it was good that members were “engaged.”
One Cudell Improvement member attributed organizing the meeting and the issues to the new Cudell Improvement website. He said the website is easy to navigate and members can read the board minutes online. He said members engaged in online discussion as a result of their online viewing of board minutes and of Cudell Improvement’s website.