MAYOR Carty Finkbeiner's dedication to physical fitness is not only appropriate, it's mandatory: He underwent open heart surgery two years ago and now runs the city at the only pace he knows.
And yes, cleanliness after a good workout is important. But $10,000 for a shower stall in the mayor's office?
If he and Chief of Staff Robert Reinbolt expect the community to believe it costs that much to install a shower, they're, well, all wet.
Inviting further skepticism is the fact that the estimate for the cost of the work - $9,996 - is just $4 below the magical $10,000 figure at which City Council approval of the expenditure is required.
Fact is, the estimate originally came in a few bucks over $10,000, but the cost of painting the stall was shaved from $200 to $190, keeping the project below the threshold and away from council's prying eyes.
Is a shower stall an extravagance?
Not at all. Mr. Finkbeiner's devotion to his weight and physical condition borders on the obsessive. He runs. He walks. He likes to work out. He also keeps long hours and often has evening meetings that allow no time to go home first and freshen up.
We just wonder why it costs so much money. Pre-fabricated shower stalls are available commercially for thousands less - installed. We checked with some bath supply places and the best high-end shower enclosure we were quoted was in the $800 range.
In addition, the property manager for Government Center acknowledged that the actual stall was already there, roughed in when the building was constructed back in 1982.
At age 66, the mayor is at an age when most people are thinking about slowing down. But that's not his style. He professes to have mellowed during the four years between his stints on the 22nd floor. Toledo still needs to be convinced.
We hope, for his sake and the sake of his associates and subordinates, that he continues channeling some of that famous energy into his fitness routine.
It's too bad that thousands of other downtown workers who'd like to work out and freshen up in the heart of downtown don't have that same opportunity at a full-service health club, something Mr. Finkbeiner talked a lot about during his first two terms but never achieved.
We don't begrudge the mayor this costly expense, but if it is true that a lot of folks do their best thinking in the shower, let's hope Toledoans get their money's worth.
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