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Published: Tuesday, 7/24/2007

Toledo City Council candidate links jobs to ethics

Meinecke Meinecke

A Toledo City Council candidate yesterday proposed amending the city charter so that if elected officials violate the state ethics code, they will be forced out of office.

District 4 candidate Thomas Meinecke said public trust in local government should be restored. He said councilmen convicted of misdemeanors can currently stay in office, as is the case for at-large Councilman Betty Shultz, who was found guilty of an ethics violation last year.

In addition to the charter revision, Mr. Meinecke called for having the city council oversee the Office of Affirmative Action/Contract Compliance instead of the mayor. "That way, the director and their staff can do their jobs without any fear of retaliation for their political stands," said Mr. Meinecke, a resident of 3134 Parkwood Ave. who ran for an at-large council seat two years ago.

Mr. Meinecke has become an aggressive campaigner in recent weeks, filing a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against the signs posted by District 4 incumbent Michael Ashford, 2910 Collingwood Blvd.

Mr. Ashford voted last year for a ban on councilmen receiving any gifts, but the proposed ban failed to capture a majority. As an outspoken advocate on behalf of the city's affirmative-action programs, Mr. Ashford said the council already examined and rejected transferring the affirmative action agency to its control.

"It can't be done because, according to the charter, the council is the voting body, a legislative body, not the executive branch," Mr. Ashford said.

In the District 5 race, Ed Cichy on Sunday proposed a gift ban as part of a package of ethics reforms that also includes requiring campaign contributors to list their city contracts with any donation.

Also running for the District 2 seat are Terry Shankland of 851 Islington St., Lindsey Diggins of 1920 Collingwood Blvd., and Ronnell Traynum of 2909 Parkwood Ave.

"I actually have to agree with Thomas," Ms. Traynum said. "Those elected officials should be held accountable for the misuse of their title, their position."

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