Pounds: Collins on a rollWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | email@example.com
He is not popular in Mayor Mike Bell’s office, nor is he universally adored by his fellow Toledo City Council members, but Councilman D. Michael Collins has been on a major roll lately.
Although he did not get credit for it at first, it was Collins’ persistence that led to the investigation of the Department of Neighborhoods, and has now led to an Environmental Protection Agency mandate for the testing of sludge in the Maumee River and Lake Erie.
As Toledo Free Press Staff Writer Caitlin McGlade wrote in January, “In August, contractors approached Collins with stories of bid rigging and intimidation from the city department. He said he listened and started digging through public records. As word began to spread about his research, calls flooded in with more tips.
“He and his legislative aide, Lisa Renee Ward (a former Toledo Free Press Web editor), compared bids and found that two separate proposals were nearly identical. He found that an accountant group working on a city deal had walked away from a community development corporation, citing the city was not cooperating with required records transfers. He conducted cross-examination interviews with contractors about bid rigging and found that all of the stories mirrored each other.”
The resulting shake-up in the department is still being felt and may not be over, as findings come to light.
This week, McGlade broke the news that “S&L Fertilizer, the company that handles all of the city’s sludge, will have to hire a consultant to determine the impact that the company’s Maumee Bay site might have on the river and Lake Erie.
“The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has mandated ‘meaningful water and soil sampling data’ through computerized models and sampling plans as a result of numerous complaints surrounding the facility.”
Collins has been bombarding the agency with records requests for months regarding S&L and now the EPA is acting.
There are some who say Collins has his eyes on the mayor’s job, and that his work is no more than political grandstanding.
But if these unquestionable community benefits are the results of his political ambitions, perhaps he should be encouraged to run for president.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.