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Published: Wednesday, 3/13/2002

Toledo council resumes appointments to city commissions

Toledo City Council approved appointments to 14 voluntary boards and commissions yesterday, four months after refusing to act on any appointments from former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

Also yesterday, council voted to hand over the power to approve banners to the Division of Transportation, with two members dissenting.

Council confirmed 83 names for voluntary boards and commissions recommended by Mayor Jack Ford.

Shortly after Mr. Ford's election in November, council stopped approving a flood of appointments from Mr. Finkbeiner.

Council President Peter Ujvagi said Mr. Ford had the right to make appointments that would last several years into his term.

Missing from the stack of appointments was the Charter Revision Committee. Mr. Finkbeiner had recommended John Irish, deputy and political aide to Lucas County Treasurer Ray Kest - Mr. Ford's opponent in the mayoral race.

Megan Vahey, the mayor's public information officer, said the mayor wants to talk with council leadership before making appointments to the charter committee.

Mr. Irish said he has not been contacted about the committee.

Churches, neighborhood groups, and others who have come to depend on banners strung across the city's streets received some assurance that the banners will be allowed for at least the rest of 2002.

Council ceased approving them individually and gave the Division of Transportation the power to approve them until Dec. 31. By then, council is expected to have passed a new ordinance setting up regulations for banners.

They are banned in the city code, but council has waived the ban on a regular basis to allow church festivals and other nonprofit groups to advertise for up to 30 days.

The vote was 7-2, with council members Betty Shultz, Louis Escobar, and Gene Zmuda absent. Council members George Sarantou and Rob Ludeman voted against the measure.

Both men said council should not give up its authority to approve banners.

Council member Peter Gerken said council should follow the law.

“It seems inappropriate to have an ordinance on the books and then waive it 98 times,” Mr. Gerken said.

The number of banners has skyrocketed in five years to nearly 100 after sign companies began promoting banner sales to their customers. The new legislation establishes 40 approved locations for banners. It also requires the organization to have $1 million in liability insurance.

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