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Published: 12/26/2013 - Updated: 3 months ago

Collins works to complete mayoral staff

Directors will look internally to fill 2nd-tier manager posts

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Collins Collins
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With one week until Mayor-elect D. Michael Collins takes over the city of Toledo, his mayoral staff is nearly in place, but the second tier of management for most city departments is still undecided.

“You are going to see some changes obviously. I want my directors to look internally and find that talent that is already there, but we are done hiring on 22,” Mr. Collins said, referring to the mayoral suite on One Government Center’s 22nd floor.

Very few of the administrators working directly with outgoing Mayor Mike Bell will be retained by the incoming administration.

Among those not being retained are city spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei, mayor’s assistant Ryne Krock, administrative technician Winston Wade, mayor’s office receptionist Sandy Nelson, Andrew Rinaldi, Mr. Bell’s digital and social media specialist, and Bill Stewart, a close friend of the current mayor who was his manager of special projects.

Lisa Ward, Mr. Collins’ City Council legislative aide and the city’s next spokesman and public information officer, said she offered jobs to three people for the mayor’s office but declined to identify the candidates.

“I have offered three letters of conditional employment,” Ms. Ward said. “They haven’t been through background checks, and two have not accepted, so I am not comfortable saying who they are yet.”

She said some at-will employees were not retained, and Mr. Stewart’s position was eliminated so the city budget could accommodate a salary increase for the director of business development, a position for which Matt Sapara, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s chief operating officer, has been hired.

Mr. Collins promised to slash 30 percent of the mayor’s office staff.

Mr. Sapara, 40, whose last day at the port authority is Friday, will be the highest-paid city employee, receiving in excess of $130,000 a year.

“I am still in the very, very early stages, and I am still trying to get comfortable with the budget,” Mr. Sapara said regarding hiring staff for his department.

Two secretaries in the mayor’s office are also being replaced. Carmen Watkins, who worked most closely with Mayor Bell, is moving to the fire department, and Felicia “Lesa” James, has tendered her resignation.

Jamie Takacs, a council legislative aid, will fill one of those jobs, Ms. Ward said.

Other key positions in the city are still vacant.

“I still don’t have anyone for human resources,” Mr. Collins said.

Paul Syring, the deputy mayor for external relations, and Human Resources Director Ellen Grachek, who were city attorneys, are being transferred back to the law department, he said.

Mayor Bell’s deputy mayor of operations, Steve Herwat, turned in his resignation the day after the Nov. 5 election.

Earlier this month, Mr. Collins announced his top management team. It included Robert Reinbolt, 66, who walked door-to-door with him in the campaign, as chief of staff, with the plan that he would mentor a younger person for up to one year.

Mr. Reinbolt was chief of staff from 2006 to 2009 under Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

Joel Mazur, 33, Toledo’s brownfield redevelopment officer, will be mentored to eventually fill that job.

Mr. Collins said Mr. Mazur’s salary has not been set.

Mr. Collins named police Lt. William Moton, 68, as police chief; Councilman George Sarantou, 61, as director of finance; retired Public Service Director William Franklin, 60, to head that same department again, and Tom Kroma, 44, as director of neighborhoods.

Mr. Franklin will mentor Stephen Leggett, 26, who managed Mr. Collins’ campaign.

Human resources will be run by a commissioner who reports to Mr. Sarantou.

Robin Whitney, 50, commissioner of engineering services, will become director of the Department of Public Utilities.

Directors retained from the Bell administration are Law Director Adam Loukx, 49, who has held that job since 2008; Fire and Rescue Chief Luis Santiago, 49, who was appointed in 2011, and Director of Inspection Chris Zervos, 65, who was appointed to that post in 2011.

According to the 2014 proposed budget, the salaries of the law, finance, public utilities, and inspection directors will be $92,354.

The public-service director would be paid $92,355; the police chief, $106,799, and the fire chief $112,072. The chief of staff’s salary will be $93,115.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.



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