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New Chief of Staff Appointment Announced by County Executive Armond Budish


Media contact(s):
Mary Louise Madigan: (216) 698-2521; mlmadigan@cuyahogacounty.us  

Earl Leiken to become Cuyahoga County Chief of Staff

CLEVELAND –Today, County Executive Armond Budish announced the appointment of Earl Leiken to the role of Chief of Staff. Leiken replaces Sharon Sobol Jordan who resigned to take a position as CEO of Unify Project.  

“I am delighted to say that Earl Leiken has agreed to come on board as my new Chief of Staff,” said Budish “Earl has a long and storied career here in Cleveland. His leadership as Mayor of Shaker Heights has been exemplary and visionary. I am looking forward to having Earl here as part of my leadership team as we take our strategic plan and bring it to life.”  

Earl Leiken comes to the county after 10 years as Mayor of Shaker Heights.  He led the city from the depths of the 2008 recession and foreclosure crisis to an extremely strong financial position as one of only nine communities in northeast Ohio with an AAA bond rating, the highest achievable.  He provided leadership in bringing the city's Van Aken economic development project to reality.  Working with his staff and City Council, Leiken created strategic economic development and housing plans which are being successfully implemented. Leiken also worked with Council and staff to implement an infrastructure plan which is repaving Shaker's roads, dredging its lakes and rebuilding its 100 year-old sewer system. And he is credited with maintaining Shaker’s reputation as a stable and diverse community. 

A strong proponent of regional collaboration, Leiken worked with other mayors to create the Heights Hillcrest Dispatch Center to dispatch police and fire calls for five cities. He has served as Chair of the First Suburbs Consortium, a Board member of NOACA and on the executive committee of the Cuyahoga County Mayors and Managers. 

Prior to serving as Mayor, Leiken was a member of City Council for eight years and was President of the Shaker Heights Board of Education when the Board created a new structure for the Shaker schools that remains in place today with five elementary schools instead of nine. 

Leiken was a partner in the law firm of Baker Hostetler for 21 years before becoming Mayor and was at Hahn, Loeser before that where he and County Executive Armond Budish first worked together.  Prior to entering law practice, Leiken was an Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve Law School. 

Leiken graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and cum laude from Harvard Law School.  He is a lifetime Greater Clevelander and graduated from Cleveland Heights High School where he was captain of the football team and named by one of Cleveland's newspapers to its all-city team as a tackle and linebacker.  Leiken and his wife Ellen have two sons, one of whom lives in Shaker, and five grandchildren. 

In discussing his new position and the transition from being Mayor, Leiken said the following: 

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Armond Budish to help him achieve his important goals as County Executive and am also extremely pleased to be working with members of County Council and the staff.  As a mayor, I am keenly aware of the fact that many of the most important challenges to our area's future can be addressed most effectively at the regional and county level.  I am deeply grateful to the residents of Shaker Heights for the opportunity to serve them as mayor for over 10 years and want to assure them of a smooth and successful transition to my successor.”