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Published: Monday, 10/22/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Councilman vie for recorder

Sarantou, Copeland in contest; Lucas voters must pick treasurer

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
George Sarantou. George Sarantou.
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After serving together as members of Toledo City Council, two veteran city officials will be on opposing sides of the November ballot vying for the office of Lucas County Recorder.

Phil Copeland. Phil Copeland.
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Republican George Sarantou, a private financial adviser, and Phil Copeland, a Democratic labor union official, are running for the office now held by Democrat Jeanine Perry, who is not seeking re-election.

Also on the Lucas County ballot is a contested race for treasurer, in which incumbent Democrat Wade Kapszukiewicz is facing challenger Norm Witzler, a Republican.

The races are among few contested races in the county.

RECORDER

George Sarantou (R)

Age: 60

Residence: West Toledo

Education: Ohio State University bachelor's degree in social studies

Married with three children

Occupation: Financial advisor with New England Financial. Elected to Toledo City Council in 2001.

Phil Copeland (D)

Age: 67

Residence: South Toledo

Education: obtained GED

Single with four children

Occupation: Business manager of Labors Laborers Union Local 500. Appointed to Toledo City Council in 2005.

TREASURER

Wade Kapszukiewicz (D)

Age: 39 (bday oct. 30)

Residence: West Toledo

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in journalism and political science. Master’s degree from University of Michiganin public policy.

Married with two children.

Occupation: Lucas County Treasurer. Previously served on Toledo City Council.

Norm Witzler (R)

Age: 65

Residence: Waterville

Education: Attended college for three years

Married with three children and six grandchildren

Occupation: Tradesman and former City of Waterville Council member

Both candidates for recorder are at-largeToledo city councilmen currently barred by term limits from running for council again in 2013. Mr. Sarantou is making his third run in seven years for county office while Mr. Copeland, who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination to run for county commissioner in 2006, is hoping to assume the office once held by his uncle, the late Bill Copeland.

Mr. Sarantou, 60, of West Toledois a financial adviser and registered representative for New England Financial. He has a degree from Ohio State University and said he has taken many continuing education courses since then.

It is this experience working with clients and documents that Mr. Sarantou said would benefit the recorder’s office. Although praising the way the office is run, Mr. Sarantou said he has ideas on potential improvements, including electronic filing of documents if a secure system is financially feasible. He added he would like to create an advisory council of community members to study the office and offer suggestions.

“The number one responsibility of the recorder’s office is to be the custodian of important documents. …That’s what I’ve been doing for years,” he said, noting he intends to be in the office every day, a pledge he said can be shown by his 98 percent attendance at Toledo city council meetings.

Mr. Copland, 67, of South Toledo, points to his professional experience – nearly 30 years with Laborers Local 500 – to show knowledge of managing an office and maintaining records.

A drop-out from Scott High School, Mr. Copeland later got a GED and then worked his way up in the Laborers Union. He served as the secretary-treasurer of the union for 27 years before being elected business manager in 2007.

Mr. Copeland said he's been managing contracts, job assignments, dues, and benefits paperwork for a union of 1,500 members for years.

“To me, this is another step in the direction to be of service to people,” he said. Mr. Copeland said he does not intend to change the recorder’s office, only learn from what has been both successful and unsuccessful in the past.

“I feel that maybe I got something here that I can take down there and share with them,” he said. “What I want to do is be a part of what is going on down there.”

On another floor in One Government Center – the home of county offices – is the treasurer. First elected treasurer in 2004, Mr. Kapszukiewicz is looking to retain the office against Mr. Witzler, a tradesman and former Waterville city councilman.

Norm Witzler. Norm Witzler.
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Mr. Witzler, 65, of Waterville said he joined the race to change the tide of a predominantly one-party county and offer a choice to voters. Currently working at a home improvement store and as a volunteer, Mr. Witzler said he plans to look across the state to see what has been successful elsewhere so as to bring those ideas, and perhaps even some industry, toLucas County.

Wade Kapszukiewicz. Wade Kapszukiewicz.
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“It’s one of 88 counties. We can do a better job of visiting other counties and find out why they’re doing better and we can bring some of those ideas here,” he said.

Mr. Witzler was critical of certain aspects of the office and vowed to bring accountability by instituting time clocks in the office as well as releasing a list of those land owners who are most delinquent on their taxes.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz, 39, of West Toledo, said that while the treasurer’s office is primarily responsible for maintaining the county’s funds, he has worked to support community progress by creating and administering programs.

In particular, Mr. Kapszukiewicz said he has looked for ways to use the financial resources of the office to strengthen the community such as purchasing $18 million in bonds to provide initial funding for the Huntington Center; investing $2 million with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to assist in job creation, and creating a program through which 38 small local businesses received nearly $4 million in low-interest loans to help create 375 jobs since 2007.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz said another term would mean the continued growth of the county Land Bank, which acquires vacant and abandoned properties for either rehabilitation or demolition and so helping to preserve the property values of those residents in the area.

“I have looked for financial muscle of this office to help the community, whether it is to help blighted areas or create jobs,” he said.

Although voters will have a choice for recorder and treasurer, only one name will appear on the ballot for other county offices. Democrat John Tharp, who is a major in the Lucas County Sheriff’s department, is running unopposed for sheriff as is incumbent Democrat Keith Earley for engineer and incumbent Democrat James Patrick for coroner.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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