Councilman says mayor’s case in wrong handsWritten by Scott McKimmy | | firstname.lastname@example.org
At least two members of Toledo City Council believe the decision to investigate Mayor Carty Finkbeiner for alleged violations of state and city codes prohibiting the solicitation of funds to retain Eugene Sanders, Toledo Public Schools superintendent, should not fall on the shoulders of acting Director of Law John Madigan.
Ohio Revised Code section 2921.43 prohibits public officials from knowingly soliciting or promising additional compensation for another public servant. If convicted of the first degree misdemeanor, Finkbeiner would be barred from pubic office for seven years.
The Mayor’s office declined comment.
Frank Szollosi, council member-at-large, said he and Rob Ludeman, council president, agreed that a conflict of interest exists because Madigan serves at the pleasure of the mayor. Madigan is currently reviewing the case, but has not yet indicated if he will call for the hiring of a special prosecutor.
”At this point, we’re waiting to see what decision Mr. Madigan is going to make,” Szollosi said. ”We’re hoping the law director makes the choice that he shouldn’t be doing the investigation; it should be someone other than him.”
Should Madigan decline to pursue the case, city council may call for an investigation, according to Toledo Municipal Code, including the issuing of subpoenas of individuals and documents relevant to the case. Szollosi did not confirm his and Ludeman’s intention to call for an investigation pending the decision of the law director.
The council has formed a community of the whole to meet May 8, according to Szollosi, at which time he expects to propose an ethics package restricting city officials from accepting gifts of any kind, which is above and beyond state and city codes. Currently gifts such as tickets to event and golf passes must be included in an ethics report.
The proposal also would require lobbyists to register with the city annually to create ”transparency” for journalists and private citizens to review lobbyists’ activities. Szollosi explained the measure as a means of forcing more accountability upon city public officials.
”It’s our obligation just to do more in this whole regard. We’re hopefully making these steps toward that goal,” Szollosi said.