The Transformative Effects of Public-Private Partnerships: An Inside View of Good Government Under Mayors Voinovich and Jackson


  • Vera Vogelsang-Coombs Cleveland State University
  • William M. Denihan Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board
  • Melanie F. Baur Cleveland State University



Operations Improvement, Public-Private Partnerships, Urban Change


This paper focuses on two mayoral-led public-private partnerships designed to renew good government in Cleveland, Ohio: Mayor George Voinovich’s Operations Improvement Task Force (OITF) (1979–1982) and Mayor Frank Jackson’s Operations Efficiency Task Force (OETF) (2006–2009). The Voinovich OITF public-private partnership enabled Cleveland to “come back” after the city’s 1978 default. The Jackson OETF public-private partnership successfully right-sized Cleveland in relationship to its much smaller population needs during challenging economic times without disruptions in service. The authors use three data sources, including interviews with both mayors and their key partnership managers, to gain a complete inside picture of each mayoral-led public-private partnership. The paper concludes with the lessons learned and the governance implications of a mayoral-led public-private partnership in fostering a long-term (transformative) administrative change. This paper shows how both mayoral-led public-private partnerships quietly transformed Cleveland’s government to meet the demands of fewer resources, greater complexity, more transparency, and more timely decisions in the delivery of public services to citizens.






Symposia & Special Issues