Alan Cox, a city employee union president, announced his candidacy for mayor of Toledo today with an unusual twist - to abolish the city's strong-mayor form of government and reinstate the city manager form of government.
Mr. Cox, 59, is a neighborhood development specialist and president of local 2058 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees which represents supervisory, professional, and technical workers.
He said he would move to put a city-manager government issue on the ballot as soon as possible. The referendum would also reduce the size of council by reducing the number of at-large positions from six to three and leaving the six district positions in place. If the move to city manager government fails, Mr. Cox would then get behind a referendum to elect the city law director to make that person independent of the mayor, he said.
He said the strong-mayor style of government in use since 1994 has promoted political-based decision-making and has favored management and exempt employees over rank-and-file workers.
"It is necessary to have more professional standards and reduce the political influences in management," Mr. Cox said.
Mr. Cox said he would run as a political independent and said he did not expect to have a lot of money to campaign on, but planned to make use of social media and the Internet. He ran for mayor in 1997, garnering about 18 percent of the vote in the primary, but failing to make it to the general election, which was won by Carty Finkbeiner.
Despite his criticisms, Mr. Cox said, "our recent CEO mayors haven't done a bad job, but we can do and should do a more efficient and effective job than we have been doing."
Current Mayor Mike Bell, also an independent, has not announced whether he will run for re-election. City Council President Joe McNamara and Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez, both Democrats, are seriously weighing running for mayor.
Mr. Cox made his announcement in the basement of his church, the Mayfair-Plymouth Congregational Church on Bennett Road, with friends and family members standing behind him.