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Published: Saturday, 12/13/2003

City dept. head steps down to run for office


Anita Lopez voluntarily took a demotion as director of affirmative action for the city of Toledo yesterday, one day after getting the Democratic Party s nod to run for Lucas County recorder.

Mayor Jack Ford appointed Yulanda McCarty-Harris, an attorney in the office of affirmative action/contract compliance, as acting director.

Ms. Lopez, a lawyer, was reassigned by Mayor Ford to the finance department where she will assist the STAX program, which goes after unpaid taxes. Her salary will be reduced from $67,000 to $55,000.

She said her new job will leave her more free time to conduct her campaign, and that her previous job could create potential conflicts of interest. The director of affirmative action also oversees the city s purchasing division and the awarding of contracts.

“As a candidate, I am responsible for raising funds and seeking endorsements. As a director, that would be difficult to do,” Ms. Lopez said.

She was one of Mr. Ford s first appointments after he became mayor in January, 2002. She oversaw a stepped-up effort to increase opportunities for businesses owned by minorities and women to bid on city contracts.

The Lucas County Democratic Party endorsed Ms. Lopez, who is also a member of the Toledo Board of Education, to run for the recorder s job in November. The current recorder, Sue Rioux, is not seeking re-election.

Ms. Lopez will file court actions and negotiate complaints for the STAX program, under which the city finance department uses federal income tax information to identify Toledoans who are not paying Toledo income taxes.

Ms. McCarty-Harris, 37, joined the city s law department in June, 2002, as a labor and employment attorney. She was appointed manager of the Toledo Waterways Initiative project in October. The waterways initiative is the $450 million program to upgrade Toledo s sewer system to eliminate sewage runoff into rivers.

Ms. McCarty-Harris is a graduate of Southern Methodist University School of Law in Dallas. She will be paid $65,000.

Attorney Tyrone Riley will replace her as manager of the Toledo Waterways Initiative.

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