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Published: Tuesday, 7/29/2008

Lucas County interim director to remain in post until end of year


Matt Sapara, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority official who has served as interim director for the Lucas County Improvement Corp., will continue with his dual roles until the end of the year.

He was appointed interim director on Jan. 25.

I recognize the value that the organization adds to the community, said Mr. Sapara, the port authority s director of new project development.

My goal since January is to help stabilize the organization. We ve stabilized the organization a lot in the last couple of months, but we still have a lot to do.

Despite his willingness to finish out the year at his post, Mr. Sapara said he is not interested in taking the position full time.

Mr. Sapara currently is paid a $3,000-a-month stipend to serve as interim director, on top of his port authority annual salary of $100,000.

His initial six-month contract with LCIC was to expire yesterday.

The LCIC s executive committee, during its meeting July 15, voted to extend the agency s contract with the port authority until the end of the year.

With a 28-member board from representatives from throughout the county, the LCIC acts as a regional economic development agency. Most of its funding comes from the Lucas County government.

Since the resignation of its director, Shawn Ferguson, in October, the LCIC has been searching for a new director but that came to a standstill in April when the search committee s chairman, Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop, stepped down.

Mr. Konop, a persistent LCIC critic, resigned as chairman after learning the LCIC did not have any money in its budget for its director position beyond Mr. Sapara s monthly stipend.

The LCIC has been under fire from critics for months, following the resignation of Mr. Ferguson and the decision by Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner to pull the city s funding for the economic development agency.

The commissioners voted 2-1 to approve a $200,000 allocation to get the agency through 2008, but the funding did not include enough to hire a new, full-time executive director.

Mr. Konop offered a resolution last week to pull the LCIC s funding from the county and rescind its status as the county s economic development agency. His resolution was voted down by fellow Commissioners Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Pete Gerken.

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