Dale Miller was born and raised in Cuyahoga County and has lived here most of his life. Through his work in County Council, he is working to create the effective, efficient, and transparent county government envisioned in the County Charter. Dale’s primary goal is to expand economic and social success in Cuyahoga County so that more people have a healthy, safe, happy, and prosperous life. Dale believes that the best measure of economic success is not what the total economic product is but how many people are doing well.
Dale is a 1967 graduate of Garfield Heights High School who went on to achieve a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Case Western Reserve University, and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Utah. He also participated in Leadership Cleveland in 1983.
Before entering politics, Dale worked as a program evaluator at the Great Plains Community Mental Health Center in North Platte, Nebraska and then as a psychologist at the Community Guidance Center in Cleveland.
In 1979, Dale was elected to Cleveland City Council from the West Park area on his first try for public office. At that time, the Council was unworkably large at 33 members, and Dale was one of four councilpersons who led a successful petition campaign to reduce the size of Council from 33 to 21 members. Dale also actively supported legislation to bring the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center to Cleveland. He also led efforts to complete important public works projects in his ward—the Puritas Street & Sewer Project, the 1985 West.130th Street Resurfacing Project, and the replacement of the low-clearance bridge on West 130th St., just north of Brook Park Road.
From 1997 to 2010, Dale served in the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate. Dale prime-sponsored and passed Ohio’s Best Rx, an early state program to help Ohio residents obtain lower prescription drug prices. Dale was also the first Ohio legislator to sponsor and introduce LGBT non-discrimination legislation for housing, lending, and public accommodations. He also passed legislation to create specific line-item funding in the state budget for Adult Protective Services, which responds to problems of abuse and neglect among senior citizens.
Dale served as the Ranking Democrat on the Finance & Budget Committee in the Ohio House and twice in the Senate. Dale’s most significant contribution as a state legislator came in 2007, after Ted Strickland was elected Governor of Ohio. The Republican-led House badly mangled his budget, cutting funding for economic development, health and human services, and even debt service, and rejecting his education and higher education initiatives. The Senate, where Dale served at the time, was also Republican led, but more reasonable. As Ranking Democrat on Senate Finance, Dale worked with Republicans John Carey, the Chairman of the Finance Committee, and Bill Harris, the President of the Senate, to correct the problems that the House created and restore most of the funding and policy initiatives proposed by Governor Strickland. Dale continued this work as a member of the Conference Committee set up to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions, and about 90% of the Senate amendments to the budget were sustained in the Conference Committee.
In 2010, Dale was elected as one of the 11 inaugural members of the Cuyahoga County Council. Dale is the only elected public official in county government to have actively campaigned for the new County Charter in 2009, and as such, he feels a special responsibility to advocate for its principles of ethical, open, and effective government.
Dale came to County Council with more experience as an elected public official than any other member of Council, and he made good use of it. He was the primary author of the rules of procedure that the Council operates under, and he was the prime sponsor of the Contracting and Procurement Ordinance, which governs how Council approves and oversees the awarding of contracts. He sponsored a series of ordinances which define the county’s financial policies and require regular financial reporting. The financial reporting requirements helped uncover the problems with the county’s management of its economic development loan portfolio, which we have since been able to correct. Dale also authored very significant County Charter amendments, especially, the amendment that corrected serious structural problems with the original Charter language on the Board of Revision, and the amendment that made the Inspector General a County Charter agency, while expanding its tools to include subpoena power and additional access to documents.
Dale has also played an active role on health and human services issues. He sponsored legislation to provide county funding for a program that helps low income seniors obtain hearing aids, and he sponsored the legislation that provided for county funding for the ID Crisis Collaborative, an innovative community-based program that enables 4,000 to 5,000 very low income people each year to obtain the identification cards needed to access most government programs.
Dale has also been very active on environmental issues. He co-sponsored legislation that created the Cuyahoga County Sustainability Department and legislation that banned the use of single-use plastic bags in Cuyahoga County. He also prime sponsored planning legislation that led to the creation of a Climate Action Plan for Cuyahoga County.
Dale has served as Chairman of the Finance & Budgeting Committee for four of the county’s first five budget cycles and keeps a close eye on the county’s finances. In that capacity, he played a critical role in creating the financial projections need to determine the Health & Human Services Levy request that is currently on the ballot. He is also a member of Council committees on Health & Human Services, Public Works, Human Resources & Appointments, and Council Operations He also serves as Chairperson of the 4-county Great Lakes Regional Child Abuse & Neglect Prevention Council.
Dale’s primary legislative interests are in the areas on environment, health and human services, economic development, diversity and inclusion, and criminal justice reform. Dale takes a front-end, primary prevention approach and is always looking to support programs that will enable more people to become well-educated and socially and economically self-sufficient, thus reducing future demand for government services.
During the coming year, Dale’s role as Chairperson of the Finance & Budgeting Committee will bring large responsibilities to work with Executive Armond Budish and Council President Dan Brady to help them navigate what are certain to be very serious financial impacts from the coronavirus crisis. It only takes knowing that about 60% of the County’s General Fund revenue comes from sales tax to see what’s coming. Dale’s aims in helping the County navigate the financial aspects of this crisis will be to preserve essential services, promote stability of operations, protect the County’s financial condition, and avoid new taxes.
Dale met his wife Carol Pierse in 1982 while working together for nuclear disarmament, and they were married on August 10, 1985. They will celebrate 35 years together later this year. Carol is a clinical counselor and works with families and children for the Positive Education Program.