McCloskey to seek council presidencyWritten by Matt Zapotosky | | email@example.com
Embattled District 3 Toledo City Councilman Bob McCloskey said Friday he is officially running for the council presidency.
"I’ve decided I am going to seek the council presidency for the city of Toledo," McCloskey said. "The choice for the presidency of council will be January 3, and I need a few days after Christmas to start my lobbying for the position."
McCloskey joins fellow Democrats District 1 councilwoman Wilma Brown, incoming at-large councilman Mark Sobczak and at-large councilman Frank Szollosi and Republicans at-large council George Sarantou and District 2 councilman Rob Ludeman, in the race.
Council president is elected by a vote of the 12 council members. McCloskey – the defendant in two separate lawsuits – said he initially withdrew his name from the presidency race on the advice of attorneys. "I took my name of the list … just to get my name out of the paper," McCloskey said.
McCloskey, who won an at-large seat in November and planned to resign his position for the District 3, is being sued by Dave Schulz, who ran unsuccessfully for council, for the violating the three-term limit set forth in the Toledo city charter.
By resigning from his District 3 seat and taking the at-large seat, McCloskey would extend his council service by two years. McCloskey said he is confident he will win the case, but he would not say officially whether he will run for the council presidency as an at-large councilman or the District 3 councilman. "There’s nothing in it for me," McCloskey said. "I could’ve stayed two more years as a district representative. I chose to go at-large because I thought that with my expertise … that by serving the whole city, I would be more valuable … I have been wanting to go at large for quite some time, and this is the only opportunity I have."
McCloskey also said he does not feel he is violating the spirit of the term-limit law.
"What’s the spirit of Christmas? What’s the spirit of anything?" McCloskey said. "The spirit is what somebody wants to read into it." McCloskey is also being sued by Michigan Developer Erich Speckin for allegedly seeking a $100,000 "extraction payment" as a condition of his support for a rezoning of 15 acres in East Toledo for a charter school. McCloskey said he could not comment on that case on the advice of his attorneys, though he said he wouldn’t know Speckin "if he walked in the restaurant today." "Every time somebody comes up to talk to me about this, what can I say? No comment," McCloskey said. "I wished I could tell you every ounce of this story. I want to talk about this. I am a politician. I got a big mouth." McCloskey said despite his pending lawsuits, he feels he has a good chance to win the presidency and would be able to effectively lead the city of Toledo amid any controversy.
"Anybody that takes over city council now is going to be in the middle of controversy," McCloskey said. "I’ve always had a very good relationship with all the members of Toledo City Council."