Pace of Passage: Terms to Know

This is a list of terms tied to the “Pace of Passage” story and their definitions. Have questions, concerns or ideas? Email our civic reporter, Doug, at

Board of Control: A city board made up of members of the mayor’s cabinet and city department heads. It directs the city’s Division of Purchases & Supplies.

Casino revenue funds: A portion of the 5 percent of casino tax revenue that the City of Cleveland gets each year that council members get to spend. In 2020, it was about $9.7 million.

The City Record: Cleveland City Council’s official journal of its proceedings.

City charter: A document regulating the structure and operation of a city government. You can explore Cleveland’s city charter here.

Committee chairs: Leaders of council’s committees.

Committee of the Whole: When the full council meets as a committee to debate pending legislation. 

Council’s rules: A set of rules governing council’s procedures.

Emergency ordinances: City laws that take effect 10 days after passage or immediately after the mayor signs them. Legislation requires a two-thirds affirmative vote — currently 12 or more votes — to carry emergency status.

Full council: All 17 members of Cleveland City Council, as opposed to a committee meeting that involves only some members.

Grant: In this context, money awarded to the city by a government, nonprofit or business to be used for a specific purpose or to fund a particular program.

Home Rule: The authority of a region to govern itself rather than be governed by a distant power. Cleveland officially gained that authority from Ohio in 1912, and its first city charter took effect in 1914.

Legislation: An umbrella term for ordinances and emergency ordinances.

Legistar: Council’s online legislation-management system.

Mayor-council: A form of city government in which the executive and legislative powers are split between an elected mayor and an elected city council. In a council-city-manager form of government, an elected council can hire and fire the city manager. 

Ordinances: City laws that govern the actions, responsibilities and tax dollars of residents, businesses, organizations, city departments and visitors in Cleveland. They take effect 30 days after passage.

Passed on introduction: Council suspended the rules and voted on legislation after reading it on only one day — the same day it was first introduced to full council.

Public comment: The opportunity for members of the public to voice their opinions at government meetings.

Public-record request: Formally requesting a public record from the government. You can take this free text-message-based course to learn more about public-record requests in Cleveland.

Reading(s): The clerk of council reads the legislation in a public meeting of the full council. Traditionally, the first reading is for introducing the legislation, the second is for debate, and the third is for voting.

Referendum: A right granted to registered voters by Cleveland’s city charter allowing them to repeal laws passed by council or put them to a citywide vote. It requires gathering signatures totaling 10 percent or more of the votes cast in the last regular city election. They must be delivered to council within 30 days of passage of the law in question.

Resolutions: Council’s official declarations of support, sympathy and celebration.

Suspension of the rules/Passage under suspension: When City Council does away with the requirement to read legislation on three separate days before voting on it. With a two-thirds affirmative vote — currently 12 or more votes — to “suspend the rules,” council can then vote on legislation after readings on only one or two distinct days.