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Published: Friday, 5/12/2006

Apparent new councilman disciplined

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Craig Craig
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Mike Craig, the apparent winner in the District 3 Toledo City Council special election May 2, berated a female co-worker who told him to stop talking on his cell phone while on the job last week.

Mr. Craig has apologized and will receive "coaching" - the first rung of disciplinary action, his boss, Lucas County Clerk of Courts Bernie Quilter, said yesterday.

Mr. Craig is a deputy title clerk in the auto and watercraft title office at 1600 Madison Ave. He and his co-worker, Vickie Halsey, both said yesterday there was an argument May 4 during which Mr. Craig lost his temper and raised his voice.

"He said his piece and walked out. I was real nervous," Ms. Halsey said. "To me, it's over and done with."

Ms. Halsey, 59, a 19-year employee of the clerk's office, was serving as an acting supervisor when she noticed Mr. Craig talking on his cell phone while serving a customer.

She said she became concerned about the length of time it had gone on.

Office rules prohibit the use of cell phones by employees while working.

"I tapped his shoulder and made a motion about the phone," Ms. Halsey said. "I looked up a few minutes later and he was still on the phone. I went to the chief deputy."

Mr. Craig, who received 12 more votes than second place finisher in the District 3 race, said he put down the phone when confronted by the chief deputy, but later went to Ms. Halsey and wanted to know why she was telling him what to do.

Mr. Craig said he had been expecting a call during his lunch hour from a Columbus lawyer who had been hired to monitor the vote-counting for him, but the call came while he was at the counter processing a customer's auto title work.

"I couldn't very well hang up on this guy," he said. "I've never been in violation of the policy before."

He said his feelings were hurt that a fellow employee would turn him in over a short phone call.

Mr. Craig said if his election to council is certified he will probably resign from the clerk's job because of the time demands of being a council member.

His job in the clerk's office pays $28,912. The council position pays $27,500 a year.

Mr. Quilter said Mr. Craig acknowledged that he should not have argued with the acting supervisor and that he should not have been talking on his cell phone while on the job.

He said that under the office's contract with the United Auto Workers, the first stage of disciplinary action is coaching. He said there are no previous disciplinary problems on his record.

The outcome of the election is still not certain because Mr. Craig, 50, holds the dozen-vote lead over Taylor Balderas in unofficial returns. Both are Democrats; Ms. Balderas was appointed to the post by council in January.

The Lucas County Board of Elections has 28 provisional ballots to count, but won't count those until May 22, Lucas County elections director Jill Kelly said.

The winner will serve the 20 months remaining in the District 3 term that was vacated Jan. 3 by former City Councilman Bob McCloskey, a Democrat.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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