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Budish Announces Michael Foley as Director of the New Department of Sustainability


Media contacts:
Emily Lundgard, (216) 348-4395
Jeane’ Holley, (216) 698-2544

February 3, 2015

CLEVELAND – This afternoon, County Executive Armond Budish launched the Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability and announced Michael Foley as its first Director and Shanelle Smith as its first Deputy Director. The Department of Sustainability is a new Department, created by County Ordinance No. 02014-0023 in late 2014.

“The Department of Sustainability is exciting because it will help the county, our 59 communities, and our local businesses and residents to save money on energy costs, and it will help us to create jobs,” said Budish. “With Michael’s leadership, we look forward to actively collaborating with local businesses, schools, non-profits, and other local governments to reduce energy costs, grow ‘green jobs’ throughout the county, institutionalize environmentally sound best practices, and ultimately, minimize Cuyahoga County’s carbon footprint.”

The functions of the Department of Sustainability will include: promoting economic development to support businesses that provide environmentally sustainable products and services; educating the public about environmentally sustainable practices; and collaborating with businesses, non-profit organizations, and government agencies to develop programs incorporating environmentally sustainable methods into accepted practice.

"Creating a Department of Sustainability was one my top priorities when I got elected to the County Council,” added the sponsor of the legislation, Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Sunny Simon. “This Department will be critical in moving Cuyahoga County into the future by becoming a regional leader in promoting environmentally sustainable practices for the long term growth of Cuyahoga County."

Executive Budish and Councilwoman Simon were joined today by Harriet Applegate of the North Short Federation of Labor, David Beach of GreenCityBlueLake Institute, and Nicole Stika of the Council of Smaller Enterprises. Participation of key business leaders is central to the Department of Sustainability’s core mission of saving money on energy costs and propelling ‘green’ economic development.

“I am really excited to be working at the county around energy and environmental issues,” said Michael Foley, Director of the Department of Sustainability. “I would like to thank Executive Budish and Councilwoman Simon for their vision to move our community forward. The Department of Sustainability will take the lead, on what I believe, are some of the most important concerns every government will have to face in the next 20-30 years.”

Michael Foley is a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives, representing constituents of the 14th District since May 2006. Foley has worked actively as a legislator on various issues on the state level regarding the environment and energy efficiency. Foley earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton and his law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.

Shanelle Smith recently served as the Local Director of Emerald Cities Cleveland, a national non-profit network of organizations working together to advance a sustainable environment while creating greater economic opportunities for all. Smith earned her bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and a master’s degree from the University of Toledo.