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Shaker Heights Birds Eye View - Photo by David Vahey.jpg

Scott Shelfer's Platform

Build Trust

Focus On Continuous Improvement

Leadership Style

We see you, we hear you, you are important, and together, our future starts now.  


Actively work with all city employees, the schools, the library, the private sector, and the entire community to remove barriers between silos. 

Every day, in every way, we are getting better and better.  


Install business metrics and operational systems to measure progress and glean more operational value from all of our facilities and services.  Our overarching goal must be to find a way to reduce our tax rates over the long term.

For the most part, we want the same things.


Instill mission and core values that empower employees to make good decisions on behalf of our community. Lean towards action, communicate the why, measure the outcome, transparently communicate the scorecard, and without ego, listen for the best ideas on how we can keep improving.

Scott's Priorities

Safety First and Always. Shaker Heights must be a safe place to live for all citizens.


Continue to attract, engage, and retain the best residents! Shaker Heights must serve the needs of many types of residents: empty nesters, parents with school aged children, single adults, couples, single parents working two jobs, billionaires traveling the globe. We must give every citizen a reason to choose Shaker Heights as their home.


Be creative and innovative to find ways to get more value for less cost.

Scott's Roadmap

  • Set a priority for all City departments to increase the value of our tax dollars in Shaker.  Get more for our money today and make a plan to reduce tax rates over time.


  • Work with the City Council to streamline the decision making process.  Reduce or eliminate as much bureaucracy as possible.  Implement more open town hall meetings and idea sessions and allow the City Council and department heads to make more decisions and embrace more responsibility.  Change policies necessary to make all City Council and Committee work sessions open to public dialogue.  Include members of the School Board and School District Leadership whenever appropriate.


  • In the first 90 days, spend at least two days working with each department within the City to better understand our operational process and culture.

    • Listen to the teams.  What are their missions, values, job descriptions, and overarching goals for improvement?  How is our performance measured? What issues are we running into? How often are we reviewing our scorecards and solving issues?  What are our citizens asking for that we aren’t able to deliver?  What policies are roadblocks to an exceptional citizen experience and what was their original purpose?  Schedule quarterly meetings with each department to review the progress, dynamically adjust to the results, prioritize our goals for the next quarter, and reinvent where necessary.

    • Listen to the community.  Hold regular town hall idea sessions with a focus on how we can creatively and innovatively remove barriers to progress and add more value to our lives.

    • Listen to the City Council.  Work with the City Council more openly to increase their access to information in real time and give them more voice and decision making power.


  • After 90 days, install business operating systems into every department.

    • With the City Council and all of the Department Leaders, simplify the Mission and Core Values for the City.  The Mission must be clear and concise, and there should only be between 3-6 Core Values.  Every City employee should know the mission and values and actively use them to make decisions every day.

    • Perform reinvention exercises and SWOT analysis with Department Leaders and Team leaders.  Through appreciative inquiry techniques, renew a shared vision for our future and set goals to be achieved by the end of the year.  These reinvention exercises must be revisited annually.

    • Document our current accountability chart. Create an Ideal Accountability Chart.  Make a roadmap to get from the current chart to the ideal chart.

    • Decide on the most important long term priorities, 10 year vision, 3 year vision, and 1 year goals.

    • Document the lowest hanging fruit.  What can we do to get the biggest return on our investment today?  Make the easy fixes a priority.

    • Decide what to measure and how to measure it easily.  Every department, every team, every employee gets at least one number to measure their success.

    • Create quarterly goals for every leader.  Team leaders then work with their teams to identify their own team and individual quarterly goals.

    • Communicate the goals for all teams and employees, and communicate them publicly.

    • Department leaders review their scorecards weekly.

    • Teams review their scorecards weekly.  

    • Implement quarterly review of goals and scorecards. Utilize these meeting times to build team trust and create new goals and update metrics for the upcoming quarter.  


  • Work with the Police and the Citizens for Fair Ticketing to continue to make process and policy improvements wherever we can.  Safety of all of our citizens must always be our number one priority.  Wherever we can’t make changes today towards known best practices, transparently communicate the why and communicate the plan to address those issues.


  • Create a web based application that allows citizens to easily rate our services, rate their level of engagement, and voice their ideas, concerns, and opinions.


  • Make a plan to improve the coordination and communication between the school district, the recreation department, the private sports organizations, educational enrichment organizations, and arts organizations.Create a better mechanism for citizens to know of the availability of shared community facilities and resources, and create a mechanism for citizens to have reserve access when they are available.


  • Make a plan for the Sussex Elementary School Building and all of the other buildings owned by the City.  Either keep the building in working condition or communicate a plan to make changes.  Hold town halls and idea sessions. Communicate the plan with the community.


  • Look for opportunities where private organizations and citizens are willing to fund community projects. If we set transparent ground rules and the project improves Shaker Heights, then we should consider changing our policies to allow for progress.


Low Hanging Fruit:

  • Paint pickleball lines on all of the courts at Sussex and at Thornton Park.


  • Make a plan to build a dog park.  Hold town halls and idea sessions. Communicate the timeline with the community.  


  • Make a plan to build another turf field. Hold town halls and idea sessions. Communicate the timeline with the community.


  • Make a plan to expedite the improvement of our sidewalks.  Hold town halls and idea sessions. Communicate the plan with the community.

  • Make a plan to improve our recycling program.  Hold town halls and idea sessions. Communicate the plan with the community.


  • Add a live camera system to Thornton Park Rink to allow spectators to watch their skaters and hockey players in performances and games.

Photo Credit: Birdseye view of Shaker Heights. David Vahey

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