A former candidate for Toledo City Council who is at odds with the mayor over the notion of returning to a city manager form of government told the Charter Revision Committee yesterday he agrees that the number of city council seats should be reduced.
Dave Schultz, 38, who last year vied for the at-large council seat currently held by Joe McNamara, told the committee he supports Mayor Carty Finkbeiner s proposal for shrinking the number of council seats from 12 to 8.
Mr. Schultz is the leader of a political group called Citizens Organized to Bring Reform and Accountability, or COBRA, which supports reducing the number of council seats and reverting from Toledo s strong mayor form of government to a city manager style the latter of which is strongly opposed by Mr. Finkbeiner.
Mr. Schultz outlined to the committee yesterday COBRA s proposal to eliminate all of Toledo s at-large council seats and create two additional district seats, bringing the total number of council seats to eight.
Mr. Finkbeiner last month asked the committee to consider recommending a city charter amendment that would reduce council to eight seats but doesn t specify which seats to cut and another that would reduce the mayor s salary by 10 percent.
Mr. Schultz seemed to impress the committee yesterday with his knowledge of the topic of council s number of seats and declared he was willing to work with the committee.
The funny thing is the mayor ripped me a few weeks ago on the radio because I also support revisiting a city manager government, Mr. Schultz said. I think he accused me of political grandstanding. But I m not running for anything and I m not going to run. I just want to get something positive done in this community.
Brian Schwartz, Mr. Finkbeiner s spokesman, said he has encouraged Mr. Schultz to contact the mayor about the possibility of working together but didn t know if Mr. Finkbeiner would be amenable to a meeting.
Mr. Schwartz said Mr. Schultz and the mayor agree on downsizing council, but they diverge greatly on returning to a city manager form of government, which I believe most people view as a step backwards.
Mr. Finkbeiner said the council should shrink to reflect the decline in Toledo s population.
His proposals were considered by some council members to be another jab in a political fight between the mayor and City Council.
Councilman Michael Ashford said he was concerned African-Americans and others living in the central city would not be fairly represented if council loses four seats, but Mr. Schultz said his plan of adding two representative districts would give minorities more of a voice in city government.
Even if Mr. Finkbeiner and Mr. Schultz don t work together directly, the Charter Revision Committee appears to be interested in consulting with Mr. Schultz about one of the mayor s suggestions.
Arturo Quintero, a Toledo assistant prosecutor and committee member, said Mr. Schultz could be an asset for the committee in its research.
Mr. Quintero was picked yesterday by John Irish, the committee s chairman, to lead efforts in studying Mr. Finkbeiner s proposed charter amendments.
I think [Mr. Schultz] could certainly be a resource, Mr. Quintero said. That doesn t mean I m embracing his proposals. The more information we get from various sources, the better off this committee will be.
As expected, the committee did not make any recommendations to council yesterday.
Mr. Irish and others on the 15-member committee said it is unlikely a recommendation will be made by Sept. 7 the date by which council must place an issue on the November ballot.