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Published: Friday, 5/8/2009

LCIC renews search for a chief executive

The Lucas County Improvement Corp. is looking for a president again, only two months after the agency's executive committee hired one.

That's because a complication developed with the employment of Matt Sapara, who was hired March 5 after serving as interim president since January, 2008.

Mr. Sapara, 36, had been on loan from the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, where he was employed for seven years and earned credits for a pension and medical insurance from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

The LCIC, however, doesn't belong to OPERS, and Mr. Sapara said family health issues prevented him from forgoing the medical insurance benefit he would be vested with after 10 years in the retirement system.

Mr. Sapara said he would stay on as interim president until a new hire is made, then return to the port authority, where he was director of development.

The LCIC's executive committee hired Mr. Sapara in a unanimous vote. The agency's proposed 2009 budget includes a $109,000 for the president's salary.

Mr. Sapara lives in Oregon with his wife and two sons. A native of Euclid, Ohio, he earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Toledo and is a specialist in real estate law.

Selected from a field of 45 applicants, he impressed the executive committee with his knowledge of the economic development process and familiarity with the port authority.

Joseph H. Zerbey IV, the executive committee's chairman, called an executive session at yesterday's meeting, then announced afterward that no resolution to the OPERS issue could be found.

"We're all disappointed. Matt would have been a great leader," said Mr. Zerbey, who is president and general manager of The Blade.

He said the economic development agency would run advertisements soliciting applications, and that he planned to divide the executive committee into two groups to interview applicants.

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