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Published: Tuesday, 6/3/2008

Finkbeiner shuffles legal execs; 'lateral move' is mutual, spokesman says

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Toledo law director and the No. 2 lawyer for the city had their jobs switched yesterday by the Finkbeiner administration - which insisted the shuffle was a "lateral move."

John Madigan - who in January, 2006, was named acting law director and installed permanently in the post at the end of that year - is now general counsel for the city.

Adam Loukx was promoted from general counsel to law director.

Many of the top officials under Mayor Carty Finkbeiner were silent yesterday on the demotion and promotion.

Elizabeth Phillips, the mayor's spokesman, said it was "mutually agreed upon" and a "lateral move" for both lawyers.

"It was an administrative decision. It's not a demotion."

Mr. Madigan was Mr. Loukx's boss; now Mr. Loukx will be Mr. Madigan's boss.

Mr. Loukx's salary will increase from $80,000 a year to $86,000; Mr. Madigan's salary will decrease from $86,000 to $82,000.

Neither the mayor nor Robert Reinbolt, his chief of staff, could be reached for comment last night.

Mr. Madigan was hired in 1974 and was chief prosecutor and senior attorney before becoming general counsel in 1999.

Mr. Reinbolt announced on Jan. 3, 2006, that Mr. Madigan would be promoted from general counsel to acting law director, replacing Barbara Herring, who retired.

Mr. Madigan could not be reached for comment last night.

Mr. Loukx said he and Mr. Madigan would continue to work together closely.

"I appreciate their confidence in me," he said. "I know it does not reflect any lack of confidence in John."

Meanwhile, Toledo City Council is considering a proposal by Councilman Michael Ashford to hire its own attorney not beholden to Mayor Finkbeiner.

Mr. Ashford and fellow Democratic Councilmen Joe McNamara and Mike Craig supported the idea - stating there is an inherent conflict in one person giving legal advice to two separate branches of city government.

Mr. Ashford said he was unaware of why the mayor demoted Mr. Madigan yesterday.

"If you don't run everything by the mayor first and get his approval, this is what happens," he said. "When Madigan made a suggestion that he might be able to give independent law opinion to council, maybe that did it."

Mr. Finkbeiner has a history of demotions in his most recent term as mayor, which began in January, 2006.

Patsy Scott resigned as information and communications technology director in June, 2007, after walking out of a staff meeting where she said Mayor Finkbeiner was berating her. The mayor rejected her resignation and fired Ms. Scott.

Three black former Finkbeiner administration officials claimed racial discrimination in a lawsuit against the city and the mayor filed last month in U.S. District Court in Toledo.

Perlean Griffin, former director of Affirmative Action/Contract Compliance; Dwayne Morehead, former co-executive director of the youth commission, and Gary Daugherty, a former manager of environmental services, each want $1 million and reinstatement to their positions.

Mrs. Griffin was fired March 6, 2007, after she objected to the demotion of her office from the department level to a division within the Department of Human Resources and a reduction in pay from $70,000 to $67,000.

Mr. Morehead was fired in August, 2007, for "job abandonment" for failing to go to work. He said he was sick.

Mr. Daugherty was one of the 23 employees who received 30-day layoff notices in March, 2007, during a budget-cutting move.

In another case, former police Capt. Jack Smith, 57, a 33-year department veteran, left the chief of police job June 27, 2006, after a confrontation with the mayor.

He had replaced Chief Michael Navarre in January, 2006, after Mr. Finkbeiner, as mayor-elect, said he thought the city would benefit from a new police chief.

Mr. Finkbeiner reappointed Chief Navarre to lead the department hours after Chief Smith stepped down.

Councilman D. Michael Collins, chairman of council's law and criminal justice committee, said the announcement regarding Mr. Madigan took him by surprise.

"I have known John Madigan longer than anyone on council and longer than the mayor," Mr. Collins said. "He has always impressed me. He is not a forceful person, but there is no reason all lawyers have to be forceful and obnoxious."

During his first two terms as mayor, from 1994 through 2001, at least 15 senior staff members left city hall citing differences with Mr. Finkbeiner - beginning with then-police Chief Marti Felker, who resigned Jan. 1, 1994, saying the mayor would not "discuss the issues" of how best to provide police protection.

Other notable resignations included those of:

•Carolyn Wiley, who quit in April, 1994, as the mayor's administrative assistant after just two weeks saying she "felt like a whipped puppy" after the mayor called her into his office and berated her over a "typographical error."

•John Mattimoe, who resigned as law director three months later citing the mayor's temper tantrums "against members of my staff."

•John Alexander, chief of staff who cited personal differences with the mayor when he opted for a lower-paying job with Lucas County in June, 1996.

•G. Ray Medlin, Jr., who quit as the city's development director in January, 2000, after just 39 days on the job. He said he felt hemmed in by the bureaucratic structure of city government.

But reports of tension and difficult encounters between the mayor and Mr. Medlin suggested Mr. Finkbeiner's behavior played a role in Mr. Medlin's departure.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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