CMBA President, 2021-2022
Rose Fini is the current CMBA President and servs as the Cleveland Metroparks Chief Legal & Ethics Officer. Rose is a Life Member of the Judicial Conference of the Eighth Judicial District, a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums delegation team for the United Nations CITES Treaty, a Leadership Cleveland Class of 2015 graduate, and the 2014 Crain’s Cleveland Business General and In-House Counsel Government Award recipient.
What an honor it is to serve as President of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association!
While I have been a member of the Cleveland Bar Association since law school, I became more active in recent years because of the energy and enthusiasm of our CEO Becky Ruppert McMahon and the CMBA’s refreshed mission focusing on the rule of law and its outstanding member services. Becky and her staff are extraordinary and have elevated the CMBA’s role in the community by carrying out our vision as the “go-to” entity on matters of law and justice. What a wonderful experience it has also been to be serving with President Joe Gross, Vice President Adrian Thompson and our other dedicated Board of Directors!
What a critical time in our nation’s history to be focused on the rule of law. Our society is struggling with a terrifying amount of misinformation and a great number of individuals who are not tethered to the truth, which in large part, fueled the insurrection at our nation’s Capital. As attorneys and as responsible citizens, we must change the trajectory of political discourse in our country. We must be critical thinkers focusing on the truth for the health of our democracy, and we have to be vigilant in our efforts to remain a nation ruled by law and not men.
Margaret Wheatley reminds us that “[th]ere is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” The CMBA cares about the rule of law and justice. We have issued statements detailing its importance, and we host Hot Talks to disseminate accurate information through civil discourse about critically important topics including, but not limited to, criminal justice reform, human trafficking, the opioid crisis, the County jail. Not only have we issued statements, but we have followed-up with action plans to promote justice such as the CMBA Racial Equity and the Law (REAL) Program working criminal justice reform, systematic change in the legal profession, legislative advocacy, and increasing white allyship. The CMBA will continue to lead the change necessary for sharing of accurate information, civil discourse and the preservation of the rule of law.
Bring your talents to foster good government.
What is critical to the rule of law and justice? Good government. I am not speaking here of “big” versus “small” government. Just GOOD government. Many individuals do not have a favorable opinion of government and have never even considered it as a career choice. That needs to change. I do not dismiss the numerous examples of inefficiency, corruption and incompetence in government. However, government can and must work well. I am privileged to work for Cleveland Metroparks, a governmental entity, where we prove every day that driven, energetic and dedicated government workers can serve the common good and improve people’s lives…just look at the Edgewater Park, Euclid Beach and Wildwood, the TIGER connector trail project, to name just a few examples. I am so grateful to work with my special and dedicated Cleveland Metroparks Legal Team, colleagues, CEO Brian Zimmerman and our Board of Park Commissioners Debbie Berry, Bruce Rinker and Dan T. Moore and Judge Anthony Russo. There are many other examples of government working well, and Cleveland Metroparks would not be successful without all of our critical partners!
One of the CMBA’s core values is community advancement, and in that spirit I am calling all of you who care about the rule of law, justice and our democracy to bring your talents to the public sector. We have learned what can happen when we neglect this civic responsibility. Millennials and Generation Z’s, you can find the fulfillment you are looking for particularly if you want to accomplish systematic change. Individuals have gravitated to non-profits to do absolutely critical work. Government, however, funds those nonprofits. Government controls policy. Government can drive that systematic change.
Public positions are not easy, especially in today’s environment. However, the “only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” to quote Edmund Burke. I am here to share my story about how rewarding and fulfilling a career in the public sector can be! I have been able to help families obtain child support, to advise elected officials and public administrators on matters ranging from zoning to public health, to work on the United Nations CITES treaty impacting our Zoo’s conservation and permitting issues, and to help create the Cleveland Metroparks carbon offset project so we can conserve more green space and improve our forests’ health. I was inspired by the genius of our constitutional democracy in 10th grade American Government class, and while there have been challenges and disappointments, I have enjoyed so many amazing opportunities in the government.
There are many administrative governmental roles to explore, or you can run for office, like my esteemed colleague, Kyle Baker, who is running because he cares so much about his community. You can find other ways to make government work well while remaining in private practice, as some of you here tonight have done, by serving as mayors or on commissions, or influencing legislation that benefits the public sector like construction law reform which has been a game changer for successful public projects.
Soon, the City of Cleveland will have a new mayor. Join the new administration. What an exciting time to be a part of significant change in government!
To my dear friends, family and former colleagues, thank you for being such a wonderful source of joy and support though the years.
To my mom and dad who inspired me with our current events discussions, driving home the importance of knowing what is happening in our world and community. And to my dad who inspired me to pursue those educational opportunities that were not available to him in Italy, and who continues to inspire me to defend our democracy since he saw first-hand the travesties of fascism.
And to Peg, thank you for accompanying me on this journey, sharing and living our faith, and keeping my eye on the important things in life!
Now, let’s have some fun celebrating the CMBA’s great work this past year and celebrating the change we are so wild about!
Excerpts from marks by CMBA President Rose Fini at the 14th Annual Meeting held at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 7/13/2021
If you are employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization, you might be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Keep reading to see whether you might qualify. Visit https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service for more details.
You can afford to work for the government after exploring this program and other opportunities at the following public entities:
Civil Division of county prosecutor’s offices throughout Ohio work with and advice county elected officials, board, commissions. It is the perfect place to influence public policy without having to run for office.
Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District: Work on clean water, stormwater management, infrastructure improvements. Visit https://www.neorsd.org/
Cuyahoga County Law Department: Work with elected officials and administrators who allocate approximately $500 million annually and make public policy decisions impacting economic development, social and behavioral health services, infrastructure, the courts, MetroHealth.http://legal.cuyahogacounty.us/
Regional Transit Authority: Is there a more exciting time to become involved in mass transit discussions? Federal infrastructure funds are on their way. Help shape the planning! http://www.riderta.com/
CMBA Core Value:
Let’s use our roles as attorneys to advance our community by finding creative solutions to all of the legal issues projects present!
- Redline Greenway: https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/news-press/2021/may-2021/cleveland-metroparks-and-partners-announce-the-ope
- Brighton Park: https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com/news-press/2021/june-2021/cleveland-metroparks-and-partners-celebrate-the-op
- Re-Connecting Cleveland trail: https://twitter.com/clevemetroparks/status/1408143418363158538