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Published: Sunday, 11/4/2012

2 veteran city councilmen contend for recorder post

Incumbent treasurer faces GOP challenger

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two veteran Toledo City Council members will be on opposing sides of Tuesday's ballot vying for the office of Lucas County recorder while the incumbent Lucas County treasurer will face off against a challenger.

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

Both candidates are at-large Toledo councilmen barred by term limits from running for council again in 2013.

Mr. Sarantou, 60, of West Toledo is a registered representative for New England Financial, a financial services firm. He has a degree from Ohio State University and said he has taken many continuing education courses.

Although praising the way the office is run, Mr. Sarantou said he has ideas for improvements, including electronic filing of documents if a secure system is financially feasible. He added that he would like to create an advisory council of community members to study the office and offer suggestions.

Mr. Copeland, 67, of South Toledo points to his professional experience — nearly 30 years with Laborers Union Local 500 — to show knowledge of managing an office and maintaining records. Mr. Copeland said he's been managing contracts, job assignments, dues, and benefits paperwork for a union of 1,500 members for years.

Mr. Copeland has a GED and 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.

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

Mr. Witzler, 65, of Waterville said he joined the race to offer a choice to voters.

Currently working at a home improvement store and as a volunteer, Mr. Witzler is a tradesman and former Waterville councilman. He 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, to Lucas County.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz, 39, of West Toledo is a former Toledo councilman who was elected treasurer in 2004. He said that while the treasurer’s office is primarily responsible for maintaining the county’s funds, he has worked to support community progress by establishing 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 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.

He said he’d like to continue growing the county land bank, which acquires vacant and abandoned properties for either rehabilitation or demolition and to help to preserve the property values of those residents in the area.

Although voters will have a choice for recorder and treasurer, only one name will appear on the ballot for each of three other county offices that are up for election.

Democrat John Tharp, who is a major in the Lucas County sheriff’s office, is running unopposed for sheriff. Also unopposed are incumbent engineer Keith Earley, a Democrat, and incumbent coroner James Patrick, also a Democrat.

Contact Erica Blake at:

eblake@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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