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Mayoral aide resigns, interviews for port post

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The Blade/Lori King
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More than two months after a three-week suspension for off-air vulgar comments spoken to a Detroit radio station producer, Toledo mayoral spokesman Brian Schwartz announced yesterday he would be leaving his job.

He is an applicant for a job at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, where he worked before going to work for Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

Mr. Schwartz submitted his resignation Tuesday, effective June 20, to Mr. Finkbeiner.

When he accepted the job in June, 2006, Mr. Schwartz agreed to become a resident of Toledo by next month, when his son completed high school in Oregon and where the Schwartzes own a home.

"The main issue is residency," Mr. Schwartz said yesterday. "Given the housing market as it stands, I can't afford to sell my house right now."

As the mayor's spokesman, Mr. Schwartz is paid $74,998.

Before joining the Finkbeiner administration, Mr. Schwartz had been director of communications for the port authority.

He recently applied for a new job at the port authority, director of resources mobilization, and was among 10 of about 70 applicants who received initial interviews, port officials said yesterday.

According to a port authority advertisement for the resources-mobilization job, the starting salary will be between $69,500 and $87,000, depending on the chosen candidate's job-related experience.

The position is a revised version of the port job formerly held by James Mettler, who resigned as vice president of new project development in January after he was provided with $40,000 severance and six months of health insurance coverage.

While acknowledging the recent city disciplinary incident involving Mr. Schwartz, James Hartung, the port authority's president, said Mr. Schwartz was granted an interview "because of his credentials and background, his grant-writing skills, and his understanding of the political system."

Mr. Hartung said applicants were screened initially by five top port authority administrators who made individual top 10 lists from the applications and then compared notes.

Following initial interviews, the field has been narrowed to six for a second round of interviews, the port president said, but he declined to say whether Mr. Schwartz survived the cut.

More aggressive pursuit of grants is "a need that we have," Mr. Hartung said. "I'm not satisfied with how effective we've been at it."

In his resignation letter to Mayor Finkbeiner, Mr. Schwartz said "The sale [of his Oregon home] would not leave me with adequate funds to purchase similar accommodations in Toledo."

Toledo employees are required to live in the city unless they are granted an exception.

Robert Reinbolt, Mayor Finkbeiner's chief of staff, could not be reached for comment last night.

Mr. Schwartz was accused of using vulgarity while speaking off-air to a producer for WJR-AM, 760.

Staff writer David Patch contributed to this report.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.

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