Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Former Mayor Michael R. White Issue Statements of Condolences Regarding the Passing of Barry A. Withers

Mayor Frank G. Jackson and former mayor Michael R. White issue statements of condolences regarding the passing of longtime public servant, Barry A. Withers. Read below for their statements:

Mayor Frank G. Jackson 

“Barry Withers personified what it means to be a public servant. He dutifully served the City of Cleveland for more than 37 years under three mayors, Voinovich, White and Jackson. Throughout the years, he held several leadership positions, most recently as assistant director of public safety,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “He also provided oversight to the Administrative Cluster, comprised of Public Safety, Human Resources, Equal Opportunity and Civil Service. He served as chief of staff, project manager, director of Human Resources, and Director of Public Utilities among other roles. He will be missed by the citizens of Cleveland as a whole but I will especially miss him as a friend.”

Former Mayor Michael R. White

“In my decades of government service, I’ve never met a more committed, tireless and selfless public servant than Barry Withers,” said former Mayor Michael R. White. “He helped thousands of Clevelanders throughout his tenure at Cleveland City Hall and was an irreplaceable advisor when I was Mayor. I will miss him greatly.”

Read below for more information on Barry A. Withers’ career background:

Barry Withers began his career at the City of Cleveland in 1983 after receiving a National Urban Fellowship that resulted in his appointment as a Special Assistant to Mayor George Voinovich.  While is that role, Barry provided oversight to the Administrative Cluster of City Government comprised of the Public Safety, Human Resources, Equal Opportunity and Civil Service.  Barry advised the Mayor on public policy and the development of strategies to provide more efficient and effective City services.  On many occasions, Barry served in an active role as the Chief of Staff with the responsibility of oversight of City operations. 

From 1984 to 1991, Barry was a Project Manager in the Department of Public Safety.  While is this role, Barry created the Crime Prevention and Community Policing programs.  He developed the Department’s Crime Watch Manuals which were essential in creating neighborhood crime watch programs.  Barry designed the protocol for the City’s response to racially and gender related hate motivated crimes and worked with the Division of Police to expand the Neighborhood Police Program.

In 1991, Barry was promoted to Assistant Director of Public Safety where he provided day-to-day oversight for the Divisions of Fire, Police and EMS.  Barry developed the federal grant application that led to the creation of Cleveland’s Bicycle Patrol Unit.  This community policing program was an important tool in enhancing community relations.  In conjunction with the Division of Police, Barry drafted the first drug house task force which led to the closure of 1500 drug houses in Cleveland neighborhoods.

Barry served as the Director of Human Resources in 1994 where he directed the development of the Summer Youth Employment Program, initiated the upgrade of the Personnel Policy and Procedure Manual, initiated and managed the Employee Recognition Program and directed labor relations which, at that time, had 27 collective bargaining units.  

During 1994 to 2002, Barry served as Executive Assistant to Mayor Michael R. White. In this role, he led initiatives that successfully increased confidence in public safety and other City services.  Barry coordinated the development of the public safety response to the events of 9/11 including the creation of the Office of Disaster Response.  He was instrumental in adverting potential affirmative action challenges with program design to serve those businesses most in need of help.  Barry also directed the development of race and gender-neutral small business programs. 

In 2004, Barry was an Administrative Manager in the Department of Public Utilities’ division of Distribution and Maintenance.  In September, 2007, Barry was appointed Director of Public Utilities, overseeing the Divisions, of Water, Water Pollution Control, Utilities Fiscal Control and Cleveland Public Power. Barry remained the Director of Public Utilities until March 2013 when he was again appointed as Assistant Director of the Department of Public Safety.

Barry remained Assistant Director of Public Safety until he left public office in 2020. Barry received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Florida Atlantic University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Bernard Baruch University, New York, New York.  Barry also was a Sergeant in the United States Air Force and is a Vietnam Veteran.