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Councilman Richard Starr's Statement on the Resignation of Phillip McHugh

May 09, 2024

Today, I received news of Phillip McHugh's resignation as the Safety Advisor for Cleveland. This resignation is the best thing for the city of Cleveland.

Transparency is at the heart of Phillip McHugh's resignation. It's unacceptable that a senior advisor to the Mayor was involved in a case in which he was accused of violating the constitutional rights of two senior citizens. It’s also unacceptable that this was discovered only after the City hired him. We must ensure that our city's safety leaders and officials can be trusted, especially with the Cleveland Division of Police still under a U.S. Department of Justice Consent Decree. Hiring someone involved with constitutional and civil rights issues goes against our efforts to improve and reform public safety. 

Despite some seeing this situation as a political game, it's essential to understand that all actions taken should be in the best interest of our residents. The role of council is to hear the concerns of the community and my colleagues and I will listen and advocate for the public.

We are committed to providing safer neighborhoods, better housing and employment opportunities, and more quality-of-life resources to Clevelanders. For instance, with the school year ending, we're worried about how we can provide recreational opportunities for young people to keep their minds busy and tackle the increased food insecurity that many of the city's children will face over the summer months.

It's important to reiterate that Phillip McHugh's resignation is not about Cleveland City Council. As leaders, we must do everything we can to improve and preserve the trust in public safety. Hiring Mr. McHugh eroded some of the trust and gains we've made. City Council members will continue to collaborate with the administration to help restore the community's confidence.

I want to thank the administration, including Mayor Justin M. Bibb, for accepting Phillip McHugh's resignation. However, it's crucial that the administration realizes that leadership means doing the right thing. We must put this unfortunate situation behind us and focus on providing Clevelanders with safer neighborhoods, better housing, and employment opportunities while tackling issues like food deserts in the City of Cleveland to improve the quality of life for our residents.