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Published: Thursday, 2/26/2009

Port board picks new president


Michael J. Stolarczyk, currently an executive with an international logistics firm, is the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Board of Directors' choice to become the local transportation and development agency's new president.

By a 10-1 vote, with two members absent, the port board chose Mr. Stolarczyk Thursday morning following a 90-minute closed-door discussion about the choice between him and Ricci L. Gardner, a former Dana Corp. executive.

"He is a great candidate with leadership skills," said Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, who made the motion to authorize board leaders to negotiate an employment contract with Mr. Stolarczyk and bring a proposal back to the board. "I think he'll carry the port authority forward into the 21st century."

"He will be the CEO and president to take us to the next level," agreed William Carroll, the board's chairman, who along with Michael Frank, the finance committee chairman, will negotiate the terms of Mr. Stolarczyk's employment before his actual hiring.

Mr. Carroll said that depending on how quickly those talks go, a special board meeting could be called to act on the hiring before the next regularly scheduled meeting March 26.

The dissenting vote was cast by Bernard "Pete" Culp, who said afterward that he did not believe Mr. Gardner got fair consideration from all of the board members as a minority candidate for the vacancy created Aug. 1 when the board voted to fire port President James H. Hartung.

Mr. Culp said his objection was "not to say he [Mr. Stolarczyk] isn't qualified" but that he believed many port directors didn't take the time to familiarize themselves sufficiently with Mr. Gardner.

Port directors Thomas Palmer and John Szuch were absent from the meeting.

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