New public administrations expect to find items left over from the past, but the volume of relics from past Toledo mayors that the incoming Collins management team has found heaped in closets and drawers in the city’s mayoral suite — along with woefully outdated office equipment — was almost comical to some.
“It’s kind of like Christmas when you find this stuff,” said Lisa Ward, the city’s new public information officer, hired by Mayor D. Michael Collins.
Little of a personal nature was to be found in Mr. Collins’ new office. Former Mayor Mike Bell admitted to taking home or giving away gifts he received either overseas or in Toledo from Chinese investors and dignitaries.
But hints of the past were hidden throughout the 22nd floor suite at One Government Center. While leaving the office Tuesday for a flight to Washington for a conference, Mayor Collins chuckled about a T-shirt his staff found hidden somewhere.
“Look at this,” Mr. Collins said, handing over an XL shirt that read: “Women Gone Wild Willy, We love our Willy, World Tour ’08.”
Other stuff wasn’t so crass or suggestive. Most are dusty governmental documents, boxed up by Mayors Jack Ford and Carty Finkbeiner and apparently ignored during the Bell administration’s four-year run between 2010 and 2013.
Ironically, some top officials hired by Mayor Collins are rehires who left city employment at the last Finkbeiner administration’s 2009 conclusion. They returned this month to find boxes of paper files or other stuff from the Finkbeiner and even Ford years preserved in the same condition.
Ms. Ward giggled as she looked though boxes packed with documents dated 2006 through 2009. Old Toledo City Council ordinances and hand-written notes filled nine banker’s boxes — some of which were marked “Carty docs.”
Left behind for Chief of Staff Robert Reinbolt was a spiked, wooden mace that Mr. Reinbolt also had found in the mayor’s office eight years ago, when Mr. Finkbeiner succeeded Mr. Ford.
Steve Herwat, deputy mayor under Mr. Bell, had made note in 2009 about a large mayor’s-office supply of the “Wholly Toledo!” drinking water city officials had bottled during the late 1990s and distributed to dignitaries and visitors. Many of those bottles remained in the mayoral suite — some in boxes and others on display in various spots — for the Collins team to rediscover.
“You certainly can’t drink it,” Ms. Ward said.
The 12.7-ounce bottles identify their contents as “Water from Lake Erie, filtered, purified, and distributed by the Department of Public Utilities” and proclaim the drink as “the Champagne of the Great Lakes.” Ms. Ward found one bottle accompanied in a display box by a glass goblet, also a routine gift for official visitors.
Staffers also found at least 32 glass candy dishes, which Ms. Ward said looked more like ash trays. They have an image of the Veterans’ Glass City Skyway and 2007 printed in blue.
Two Persian-type rugs were rolled up and stacked in another closet near a cabinet were typewriter ribbons are kept. Several video-cassette recorders were stacked in a closet, just below a dusty electric typewriter. A Polaroid camera and 22 boxes of film that expired in 2006 also turned up in the housecleaning conducted Monday.
Mayor Finkbeiner’s affinities for lapel pins and the now-defunct “Toledo Pride” organization were apparent to the Collins staffers taking inventory. Bags filled with hundreds of Toledo lapel pins were located along with an over-sized sign reading “This Property has Toledo Pride, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.”
Mayor Bell often handed out souvenir Toledo coins.
Collins staffers learned this week that Mayor Ford did the same thing. A bag of the coins stamped with the city seal and “Mayor Jack Ford” on the flip side turned up in the 22nd-floor cleanup.
“No idea what we will do with these,” Ms. Ward said.
Contact Ignazio Messina at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6171, or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.