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Finkbeiner welcomes old friend to new digs

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Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, right, congratulates Mayor-elect Jack Ford on the 22nd floor of One Government Center.

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One thing will change for certain when Mayor-elect Jack Ford takes over the 22nd floor of One Government Center.

University of Michigan memorabilia no longer will adorn the walls.

Mr. Ford and Michigan fan Mayor Carty Finkbeiner met yesterday for the first time since the election.

“My only concern is that we take that Michigan stuff off the wall,” Mr. Ford joked. He is a graduate of Ohio State University, where he played football for the Buckeyes.

Mr. Finkbeiner promised only that if Michigan loses to Ohio State, he'll take the Michigan pictures and pennants off the wall and give them to Mr. Ford.

Favorite college football teams was the only topic on which the two men appeared to disagree in a meeting with reporters yesterday.

“I want to help him in any way, shape, or form if I can, and I will,” Mr. Finkbeiner declared.

Mr. Ford said he went to the meeting to pick the mayor's brain.

Mr. Finkbeiner, who has been mayor since Jan. 1, 1994, and Mr. Ford, who won a landslide election Tuesday night, met to begin the transition process.

Mr. Ford said the outgoing mayor promised him a temporary office in One Government Center. Mr. Ford plans to announce his transition committee next week.

Mr. Finkbeiner said their private conversation centered on legal issues and major ongoing projects such as the Marina District slated for the east side of the Maumee River.

According to Mr. Finkbeiner, the biggest challenge facing the new mayor will be the city budget. He said next year's budget will have to be reduced by $3 million because of declining city revenues.

The current budget is $222.8 million - itself a $3 million reduction from the budget that was in place at the start of the year. The mayor is required to give city council his proposed budget for 2002 by Nov. 15.

Mr. Finkbeiner and Mr. Ford recalled that they were the co-sponsors of the city council legislation in 1992 that led to the strong mayor form of government.

Mr. Finkbeiner said he believes Mr. Ford will carry on the job that he began.

“We've got Toledo percolating again. We've got Toledoans believing we're moving in the right direction,” Mr. Finkbeiner said.

Both men were asked about plans by city council to delay action on a set of board and commission appointments sent to city council by Mr. Finkbeiner.

Several members of council want to table some or all of 30 appointments requested by Mr. Finkbeiner that are on council's Tuesday agenda. One of those is for John Irish, chief deputy of Lucas County Treasurer Ray Kest and one of Mr. Kest's top political operatives. Mr. Ford defeated Mr. Kest in the race for mayor.

Mr. Finkbeiner has recommended Mr. Irish for reappointment to the charter revision committee. Mr. Irish's term expires Dec. 15, and Mr. Finkbeiner wants to appoint him to a new three-year term.

Council President Peter Ujvagi yesterday said he would not unduly delay any appointments. But he said council wants to make sure it doesn't do anything that ties the hands of the incoming mayor.

Mr. Finkbeiner did not endorse either of the mayoral candidates. He acknowledged that he received valuable political assistance in previous elections from Mr. Kest, Mr. Irish, and Dominic Montalto, who is tax collector in the treasurer's office. But he also said that he and Mr. Ford have been friends since 1979.

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