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Published: Saturday, 1/12/2013

AFSCME leader Alan Cox vows to work to repeal strong-mayor system

Alan Cox, president of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 2058, announced his candidacy for Toledo mayor Friday. Alan Cox, president of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 2058, announced his candidacy for Toledo mayor Friday.
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If he is elected the next strong mayor of Toledo, Alan Cox said Friday, he plans to immediately start working to abolish the job.

Mr. Cox, 59, a neighborhood development specialist and city union president, announced his candidacy for mayor and said he would launch a campaign aimed at placing on the ballot a referendum to repeal strong-mayor government and reinstate city manager government.

“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. It is necessary to have more professional standards and reduce the political influences in management,” Mr. Cox said.

Mr. Cox has been president for nine years of Local 2058 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, which represents supervisory, professional, and technical workers. He said his experience running the union is part of his training to be mayor.

Mr. Cox, of 1925 Reinwood Dr. in West Toledo, made his announcement at his church, Mayfair-Plymouth Congregational, Bennett Road, with friends and family members, including his wife Tracy; son Morgan, 16; and daughter Jennifer Carner, 32.

Mr. Cox said he would run as a political independent and did not expect to have a lot of campaign money but planned to use social media and the Internet. He ran for mayor in 1997, garnering 18.7 percent of the vote in the primary but failing to make it to the general election, won by Carty Finkbeiner.

The son of two Toledo natives, Mr. Cox grew up in five states before the family returned to Toledo when he was 16. He graduated from Start High School and the University of Toledo, then spent 12 years in a financial job and the last 22 years with the city.

He said he would move to return to city-manager government, which was replaced by the current form of government in a city charter vote in 1992.

The referendum would also reduce the number of at-large council seats to three from six and would leave in place the six district positions. If the move to city manager government fails, Mr. Cox said, he would get behind a referendum to elect the city law director to make that person independent of the mayor.

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.

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