Mayor Gorden

Mayor's Corner

Get information about Beachwood quickly and directly from me by reading this regularly updated blog – where I touch upon a wide array of issues affecting our city. 

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Mar 29

MEET THE TEAM: Larry Heiser, Finance Director

Posted on March 29, 2017 at 2:46 PM by Mayor Merle S. Gorden

Larry HeiserFinance Director Larry Heiser has more than 16 years of experience in public sector finance. He joined the City in December 2016 following former Director David Pfaff’s retirement.  When he’s not crunching numbers, you may find him refereeing a Beachwood High School soccer game. Read more about Director Heiser here:

You are fairly new to Beachwood. What have you enjoyed most about working for the City thus far? What has surprised you?
I am so fortunate to have a fantastic, experienced team.  They are dedicated and have an impressive historical knowledge of the City of Beachwood.  They helped make my transition an easy one. 

I think I was most surprised by the extent of recreational offerings the City offers as well as the high level of participation from the youngest of residents to our senior citizens.

How do you hope to impact the Beachwood community?
I want to maintain the City’s top financial ratings and be a strong support function for the other departments.   

If you were not in finance, what would you be doing professionally?
I would be operating a small business, as I did before my accounting career. My accountant was my best business advisor and inspired me to go back to school to study accounting. 

Tell us a bit about your childhood. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Bexley, a small city on the east side of Columbus.   I had a great street to grow up on where every door was always open. We played games at night in the summer like kick the can.  

I have two sisters, both of whom are Columbus Public school teachers. In high school, I played tennis and soccer.    

Tell us a bit about your family. Do you have kids? Pets? 
I have two children, a son and a daughter.  I was fortunate to sell a business when my children were young so I could be a stay at home dad. My daughter, Allison (29), graduated from Vanderbilt and works in DC.  Evan (27), graduated from Miami of Ohio and works for Deloitte in Columbus.  I am extremely proud of both of them. 

I moved up to Cleveland from Columbus in 2012 after reconnecting with the woman whom I took to my high school senior prom, Kate Lodge. We got married this past November.   

What do you do for fun? Any hobbies?
I enjoy working out in the yard, playing tennis and refereeing Beachwood High School soccer games. 

Do you have a favorite television show or movie?
I am a big fan of Mash. Some of my favorite movies are Tommy Boy, Same Time Next Year, and American President.

What is your favorite band (or song)?
My favorite band is Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.  If I had to pick one favorite song, it would probably be Landslide by Stevie Nicks.   

If you could pack up and leave for a vacation tomorrow, where would you go?
I enjoy Acadia National Park in the summer and Florida Gulf Coast in the winter.

What are some of your favorite spots in Beachwood?
You can often find me on the Beachwood tennis courts, a great community asset. I also enjoy Beachwood City Park and our Stein Mart, where there’s always a good deal to be found.

Mar 09

Last Call for Early Bird Summer Camp Registration

Posted on March 9, 2017 at 3:57 PM by Mayor Merle S. Gorden

campTomorrow/Friday is the final day for residents to take advantage of early bird rates for our popular summer camp programs. It is typically a busy day at City Hall as many Beachwood moms and dads drop by to lock-in their children’s spots at a reduced rate.

On Sunday, registration opens to the public at 8 a.m. In prior years, we’ve had members of the public lining up in the wee hours of the morning to maintain a good spot in line. Most of our camps will sell out within minutes or hours.

The popularity of Beachwood’s programs is a tremendous testament to our Recreation staff and the excellent programming they have developed over the years. Our affordable camps include a traditional day camp and specialized programs in sports, arts, theatre and travel. Camp runs 7 weeks, 5 days a week (no camp July 4), 6 hours a day. At the early-bird resident rate of $575, the hourly rate per child rounds out to $2.81 - a fantastic value.  

Beachwood’s Theatre Camp allows students to work with professionals to fine tune their skills in acting, dancing and singing. Campers rehearse daily for a full-staged musical production at the end of camp.  

Teen Adventure Travel Camp allows middle schoolers to experience fieldtrips for a wide variety of outdoor adventures including hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, a rope course and more.

Complementing the camp season is a before and after camp care program that allows for extended childcare to accommodate working parents. 

If you are a Beachwood resident, please don’t delay in reserving your spot(s) in summer camp.  Children enjoy good old-fashioned fun and make new friends along the way.

Thank you to the parents and children who support us, and to all the staff, especially camp leaders and counselors, that continue to make our camps a success.

Feb 21

MEET THE TEAM: Gary Haba, Police Chief

Posted on February 21, 2017 at 1:43 PM by Mayor Merle S. Gorden

HabaAfter more than two decades serving with the Beachwood Police Department, Gary Haba was officially sworn in as Chief on Monday, February 6, 2017. The 20 year police veteran knew he wanted to serve from a young age, frequently visiting police and fire stations as a child with his father, a local Mayor. Read more about Chief Haba here:

When did you know you wanted to be a police officer? 
It was at quite a young age. My father was the mayor of Oakwood Village for 17 years and as a child I was fortunate to be able to visit the police and fire stations often.  The policemen were always very nice to me. I can remember putting their hats on and sitting in the cruisers.  For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a soldier and a policeman and I was able to fulfill both of those wishes. 

You have more than 20 years of experience with Beachwood Police Department. What do you enjoy most about working in/with the Beachwood community?
Beachwood provides a diverse and varied workload that requires me to be very well-rounded as an officer.  I also enjoy the cooperation and comradery among the city departments and the overwhelming support for our department from our residents and businesses. 

How do you hope to impact the Beachwood community during your time as Chief?
I think the best impact I can make to the community is to guide the department in such a way that our resources can be flexible enough to adapt quickly to changing needs.  Over my career, I have seen police work and expectations change drastically and it always seems that police agencies are slower to change than the needs.  I would also like to incorporate more organized community-based activities involving our personnel.

What is the biggest challenge you face and/or what is your next major professional goal?
Police work in general is in a constant state of change and expectations of officers now are as high as ever.  Adapting to those changes and supporting the staff through those adaptations will always be a big challenge.  As far as a goal, I would very much like every employee in my department to be better each year, both personally and professionally, than they were the one prior.  Whatever I can do to help facilitate that would be what I consider a worthwhile goal. 

You served in the army from 1990-1994. What did you learn from that experience?
Enlisting in the Army was probably the best thing I have ever done.  I learned at the very beginning of adulthood how to be self-sufficient and respect/understand others who come from different backgrounds and places.

If you weren’t in the force, what would you be doing professionally?
I think I would be a barber because I like few things better than a fresh haircut.

Tell us a bit about your childhood. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Oakwood Village, the youngest sibling of five boys. I attended St. Mary’s School in Bedford through sixth grade and graduated from Bedford High School in 1990. 

Tell us a bit about your family. Do you have kids? Pets? 
I have a daughter who is 10 years old and an excellent student.  She plays volleyball, softball and is involved in Girl Scouts and other activities - all of which keeps me quite busy.  My dog is a border collie named Rocket and I have a bearded dragon named Lightening.  

What do you do for fun? Any hobbies?
When the weather is good, I play golf every chance I get.  I also play volleyball once a week, year-round, and coach CYO volleyball in the fall.  I enjoy taking my dog for walks or runs and riding bicycles with my daughter.  We also visit a horse ranch in Arizona every summer.

Do you have a favorite television show or movie? 
I am a big Star Wars fan.  Not much into television, but I love the series Vikings on the History Channel. 

What is your favorite band (or song)?
My taste in music is quite varied.  I like Metallica and Neil Diamond, if that tells you anything...

If you could pack up and leave for a vacation tomorrow, where would you go?
I would visit my brother who lives in Hong Kong.

What are some of your favorite spots in Beachwood?
Bruegger’s Bagels, Petco, and Yours Truly.  I find the Maltz Museum fascinating because I enjoy history a great deal.