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Published: Tuesday, 9/1/2009

No politics in Y probe

AN INDEPENDENT investigation of the finances and operations of the YMCA & JCC of Greater Toledo is too important to get snarled in Toledo mayoral politics.

Commissioner Ben Konop, a mayoral candidate, has proposed a nine-member task force similar to the one commissioners created in 2005 to look into problems at the Toledo Zoo. That group made nearly two dozen recommendations, many of which the zoo has implemented.

The commissioners, including Pete Gerken and Tina Skeldon-Wozniak, are expected to take up Mr. Konop's proposal today. They should remember their responsibility to the people of Lucas County, whose faith in the Y has been shaken.

Naturally, what Mr. Konop says and does is viewed through the lens of his campaign for Toledo mayor. Based on their often-contentious relationship, Mr. Gerken and Ms. Skeldon-Wozniak aren't Konop supporters. Nevertheless, that's no excuse to sidetrack a vital investigation.

Mr. Konop's call follows the Y's decision to close its South Toledo branch without public input and donate the building to CedarCreek Church; questions about the salary of CEO Robert Alexander and the appearance of nepotism on the organization's staff, and the failure of Y leaders to provide promised transparency concerning its financial affairs.

How the YMCA does business is of critical importance to every dues-paying member as well as every taxpayer whose dollars support this quasipublic organization. Playing politics on this issue is unacceptable.

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