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Published: Friday, 2/22/2008

City phone greeting calls mayor a 'moron'

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A Toledo city hall prank at the expense of Mayor Carty Finkbeiner created a downtown whodunit yesterday.

For several hours during the day, the telephone voice mail greeting for the city's purchasing hot line was, "Carty Finkbeiner is a complete moron."

Katerina Bekyarska, a spokesman for Mr. Finkbeiner, said the outgoing message was changed immediately after it was brought to her attention.

"Someone obviously went in and - trying to do a joke, not a very good one - went in and recorded the message," Ms. Bekyarska said.

A security code is needed to access any of the city's voice mail systems and change an outgoing greeting, she said.

The system automatically transferred callers to an attendant after the greeting.

The message was changed about 2 p.m. to start with the city's usual telephone greeting: "Thank you for calling Toledo, the most liveable city."

Ms. Bekyarska said she had no idea whether it was a city employee or someone else who recorded the greeting.

"We are looking to see if there is an issue that needs to be addressed with our phone lines and if they need to be better protected," she said.

The automated hot line is used to record messages about outstanding bids and awarded contracts for the purchasing department.

Mr. Finkbeiner did not have a comment on the recording, Ms. Bekyarska said.

The mayor has been under fire for his Feb. 9 decision to cancel a planned weekend urban-patrol exercise for a company of U.S. Marine Corps Reservists on downtown streets.

Two hundred members of Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., arrived to drill in the city, but instead were greeted by police officers at a roadblock on the mayor's order.



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