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Isenberg remains in the driver's seat


Michael Lieber, Sylvania's town crier, reads a proclamation declaring a new year of politics at the outset of the Lucas County commissioners' meeting.

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Harry Barlos paused dramatically after saying he had a motion to make for president of the Lucas County Board of Commissioners for this year.

Never one to let a silence linger, Sandy Isenberg, president for the last 10 years, quickly quipped, “Thank you - so what is it?”

The moment couldn't be called suspenseful because the outcome was never in doubt. Commissioner Barlos nominated Ms. Isenberg, and Bill Copeland seconded the motion. After a few complimentary words, Ms. Isenberg was reinstalled as president of a board that she's been a member of since 1985.

“Being a politician, you're just a public servant,” Ms. Isenberg said, stifling tears. “People can put a negative connotation to that. But it is, in fact, a noble profession to want to serve at a government level your fellow man, woman, and children.”

Yesterday's organizational meeting was attended by Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, a town crier, and various county department heads.

Mr. Ford said he looks forward to teaming up with the commissioners on issues that affect the city and the county.

“We're going to work together,” Mr. Ford said. “I think the community wants to see cooperation.”

Ms. Isenberg told the mayor that she'd like to work with him on issues such as getting unemployed workers back on the job, social-service programs, and making it possible for rural areas to receive city water. She's often spoken about frustrations she had when butting heads with former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner on regional matters over the years.

“You have demonstrated over the last month that you are a man of action as far as regional cooperation,” Ms. Isenberg said. “We've renewed our pledge for regional cooperation, and we just hope that's heard on the 22nd floor this time.”

Ms. Isenberg said her priorities over the next year, apart from seeking re-election in November, includes seeing businesses in the buildings the county owns around Fifth Third Field so the Warehouse District can come back to life.

She also wants to continue working on a one-stop shop the county would operate for delivering welfare money, job training, and employment assistance. “I appreciate your confidence in me,” Ms. Isenberg told her fellow commissioners. “I'll certainly do the very best job I can for the people of Lucas County.”

Mr. Copeland said Ms. Isenberg has worked hard for county residents rather than being concerned with issues that were of more benefit to her than the people who elected her.

“Under your leadership we've accomplished more important things over the past few years,” she said.

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