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Published: Saturday, 11/5/2005

Complaint against McCloskey dismissed

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The Ohio Elections Commission has dismissed a complaint filed against City Council at-large candidate Bob McCloskey for using the word "re-elect" on his campaign signs.

The full board met Thursday and had a split vote of 3-3, with member Ben March of Maumee abstaining, Richard Scheich, Mr. McCloskey's attorney, said yesterday.

Without a majority vote, the commission issues an administrative dismissal, which ends the case, said Philip Richter, executive director and staff attorney of Ohio Elections Commission.

As to why Mr. March, a Republican, recused himself, he did not say, but "I would assume if he is familiar with one or both of the parties, he felt he had a sufficient relationship with someone" involved in the case that he believed he needed to recuse himself, Mr. Richter said.

Mr. Marsh could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The matter started when fellow at-large candidate Dave Schulz filed a complaint saying that Mr. McCloskey had used the term "re-elect" improperly in some of his campaign signs.

Mr. McCloskey now represents District 3. Mr. Schulz believed the term would mislead voters into thinking he already holds an at-large seat.

Mr. Scheich said he presented as evidence the signs in questions, plus other campaign literature which does not contain the word "re-elect."

"I think that the result speaks for itself," Mr. Scheich said. "In my opinion, there was no violation. The board concluded there was no violation."

Mr. Schulz seemed undaunted yesterday, calling it "a very good hearing" and adding "both sides can claim victory."

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Yesterday morning, Toledo Police Patrolman's Association President Gregg Harris held a news conference to explain his union's endorsement of Carty Finkbeiner for mayor. He said Mayor Jack Ford has claimed the city's public safety unions have frozen him out because of cuts in overtime and because he has asked them to clamp down on sick-time abusers.

That's untrue, Mr. Harris said; for one thing, he knows of no sick-time abusers.

"He said the unions are in cahoots with Mr. Finkbeiner to besmirch him, which is just totally outlandish," Mr. Harris said.

That said, the police union is unhappy with its staffing levels under Mr. Ford. It has 678 total officers, including 534 patrolmen.

"Carty's made a commitment to us that he's going to be committed to public safety in Toledo, and I don't believe Jack has," Mr. Harris said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ford's campaign released a statement yesterday: "Mayor Ford has continually treated Toledo's police and fire forces as his No. 1 priority. The mayor is devoted to the safety of the public and its officers."

If that's true, Mr. Harris countered, "Why did it take a situation like the riot to make him realize we need more cops? Now all the sudden he's changed his story."

- VANESSA WINANS



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