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Published: 3/4/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Trio of Democrats vie for recorder nomination

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Democrats Phil Copeland. Democrats Phil Copeland.
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Two experienced councilmen and a political newcomer are running for the Lucas County recorder's office as Democrats next week for the right to face Republican George Sarantou in the general election.

Kevin Eff. Kevin Eff.
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James Seaman, who has served on Oregon City Council for 22 years, is open to exploring shared services among county offices, including combining databases, across the treasurer's, auditor's, and recorder's offices, to save taxpayers' dollars.

James S. Seaman. James S. Seaman.
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"In these tough economic times, now more than ever, we need belt tightening. I can bring that to the recorder's office," said Mr. Seaman, a retired and part-time school psychologist.

Phil Copeland, who is an at-large Toledo councilman, said his six years in that elected office and his experience as business manager for Laborers Local 500 provided him with the necessary skills for county recorder.

Also on the ballot is Kevin Eff, an attorney who practices real estate and property law. He said he is the only candidate among his fellow Democrats who has actually done business and filed documents with the recorder's office.

VOTER'S GUIDE TO SUPER TUESDAY

"At the end of the day I am the only one in the race who has actually stepped in the recorder's office in a professional capacity. I have used the office extensively to do title searches and filing deeds and liens," said Mr. Eff of Sylvania Township, who is seeking office for the first time.

The three men are vying for the seat that will be left open with the upcoming retirement of Jeanine Perry, a Democrat who was appointed in 2007 and re-elected the following year.

Mr. Copeland, 66, joined the 1,500-member Laborers Local on Ashland Avenue in 1966 and has been business manager since 2007. He was appointed to council in 2005, winning election in 2006 and re-election in 2010. He has two years left on his council term.

He said he has joined his colleagues on council in approving legislation that he believes is fiscally responsible. He cites the sale of Marina District land to Chinese investors as among the moves that has brought money into city coffers.

"I try to take my job [as a councilman] seriously enough where I figure I am going into [council meetings] to see what I can do to help the citizens of Toledo," he said.

Mr. Seaman, 61, was on the Oregon Board of Education from 1979 to 1983. He worked 30 years for Toledo Public Schools as a psychologist.

He said that if elected he would evaluate the office to determine whether it would be beneficial to streamline operations and expand online services, but he also sees the need to safeguard personal information.

"Any kind of shared services that save taxpayers time and money is worth investigating," Mr. Seaman said.

Mr. Eff, 31, who graduated from the University of Toledo college of law in 2010, said he has conducted business at other recorder's offices in northwest Ohio, providing him with the needed insight on improving efficiencies and customer relations.

"I have seen what works and what doesn't work," he said.

If elected, Mr. Eff said he will implement a five-point plan for office operations, including exploring options for grant funding for computerization of records and digitizing records.

Also on the Lucas County ballot on Tuesday will be write-in candidate John Marshall, a Republican from Sylvania Township. He is hoping to get the needed 50 or more votes to face Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken in the November general election.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6099.



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