Pounds: McNamara flip-flopsWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
In November of 2009, Toledo City Council President Joe McNamara announced he was exploring a run for the Ohio 11th District Senate. As part of that announcement, he said he would not seek re-election as Council president. Stepping aside as Council president showed wisdom, clarity and an understanding that he could not capably run a campaign and fulfill duties as council president.
Fast-forward four years. On Feb. 12, McNamara, who is again serving as council president, announced he was entering the mayor’s race to challenge Mike Bell. But this time, he made no mention of stepping aside as Council president, despite a far greater potential for conflict.
Behind the scenes, Council members, some of whom have been unhappy with McNamara’s leadership, began corralling votes to oust him as Council president. As reported by Toledo Free Press Managing Editor Sarah Ottney, City Council member Tom Waniewski said he sat down with McNamara a few days after McNamara announced his plan to run for mayor and told him he should “strongly consider stepping down” as Council president.
“This is about serving the citizens first and putting their needs above my own,” McNamara told Toledo Free Press on Feb. 18. “While it’s great to have a nice title, I feel I can do more for the people of Toledo as mayor for the next four years than as City Council president for the next 10 months.”
This indecision and flip-flopping is exactly what Bell was publicly referring to when he noted McNamara’s relative lack of “backbone.”
“Tenacity. The ability to make a decision and stick with it,” Bell told Toledo Free Press. “I’m not trying to be insulting, but I believe he would be more wishy-washy. Easier to influence. And [he’d] probably take us back where we just came from.”
McNamara’s performance at the Council meeting on Feb. 19 further reduced his standing. Council needed to appoint his replacement, but after several stalemate votes, rather than switch his vote to fellow Democrat Paula Hicks-Hudson and end the gridlock, he smirkingly refused to compromise his lost-cause vote for Adam Martinez, creating additional questions about his having the maturity to be mayor. It was a high-profile opportunity to display true leadership, but he chose to preside over the quagmire rather than drain the swamp and move on in the best interest of the people.
McNamara knew in 2009 he needed to step down. In 2013, he thought he could handle an even more contentious situation and, despite his spin, has revealed precisely the flip-flopping and wavering that makes him a specious candidate for mayor.
McNamara has several months to make his case, but this first step is an ominous and disappointing start to his campaign.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.