Clemens (Bud) Ley, 1948 - 1953

Bud Ley ran for mayor of our city as a write-in candidate against the incumbent, Myron Willis, and won the election handily. Mayor Ley was a very strict man who had a deep passion for his city. He had 2 main goals, preserving the city’s beauty and keeping it a family community. He did this with strict enforcement of zoning codes. One of the first changes he made was to put a stop to issuing permits for gas and oil drilling after a bad fire at an oil well on Ford Road.


Many firsts can be attributed to Mayor Ley’s administration. Among them were:
  • The creation of the first permanent Police Department and the arrangement for 2 radios to be used to solicit help from neighboring communities. He once bought a police car for $5.
  • The Fire Department was organized under his administration along with the purchase of a new fire truck and other equipment. He was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department and even drove the truck to the fire at the Mayfield Methodist Church.
  • He arranged for the purchase of a rubbish truck and snow plow through gasoline tax revenue that would have otherwise been returned to the State Treasury.
  • He produced a franchise from the East Ohio Gas Company which allowed natural gas to be supplied to the city.
  • He was instrumental in bringing city water to the area.
  • He started Home Days and helped organize a Kitchen Band which you will hear more about if you read the feature on the Strumbly Family later in the newsletter.
Mayor Ley held Mayor’s Court and strictly enforced the ordinances in the city while sitting on the bench. He was famous for his ruling against people who were caught throwing rubbish along the side of the road. When caught, the offender was sentenced to pick up rubbish for an entire block which was a long way in those days.

One time a judge from Cleveland was caught throwing rubbish on the road and was sentenced to the usual fine. When the judge told Bud that one of his employees would fulfill his sentence, Mayor Ley insisted the judge show up himself. Juveniles were to appear in Court with their parents and were given the choice of going to Juvenile Court downtown, washing police cars and fire trucks or cleaning City Hall.

Mayor Ley’s many accomplishments demonstrate what a very innovative and forward-thinking man he was. Through his passion for the city and his ability to get things done, the Village of Highland Heights was soon to become an incorporated city.

Information on Clemens Ley was taken from the History of Highland Heights as well as some heartfelt stories shared by his son, Weert. Weert owned and operated the lawn mower repair shop on Highland Road which was started by his father in 1952.