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Published: Friday, 9/18/2009

Official suspended one month

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The high-ranking Finkbeiner administration official who reportedly admitted she tried to steal a campaign sign from the yard of a laid-off Toledo police officer will spend a month off the job without pay, the city announced Thursday.

Susan Frederick, acting commissioner of streets, bridges and harbor, who has worked a decade for the city, "agreed that her behavior constituted conduct unbecoming an employee of the city of Toledo," according to a statement from Mayor Carty Finkbeiner's office.

The sign Ms. Frederick is accused of trying to take promoted Issue 1, a ballot question the mayor had vehemently opposed.

"This discipline takes into account the years of dedicated public service that Ms. Frederick has given the city while at the same time recognizes the seriousness of the allegations against her," the statement said.

Ms. Frederick is paid $70,000, but has been paid 20 percent less since May, when Mayor Finkbeiner slashed the salaries of nonunion city employees.

Laid-off Toledo police Officer Aaron Riter said he caught Ms. Frederick outside his home Sept. 10 trying to take the sign promoting Issue 1.

The ballot question failed at the polls Tuesday. It would have reallocated a portion of the city's

0.75 income tax from street repair to police and fire forces.

The Toledo Police Patrolman's Association paid for 500 yard signs promoting the issue. Police union members claimed other city employees - such as members of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Local 7 - stole some signs as well.

Ms. Frederick, who lives on Springbrook Drive, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Mr. Riter said Ms. Frederick was dressed all in black when she took the sign at 11:30 p.m.

He confronted her, threatened to call police, and took back the Issue 1 yard sign he said she stole.

The following day, Mr. Riter said, she returned to his home and offered to take his resume and put it in for a manager's position in her division that pays $52,000 to $68,000 a year, he said.

Ms. Frederick has been criticized regularly by Toledoans for coming onto their properties, writing citations, and having vehicles towed away.

In June, she sparked outrage in a South Toledo neighborhood for writing tickets in the 400 and 500 blocks of North Holland-Sylvania to people who parked on their own properties. Some vehicles were on gravel or stone-covered surfaces and many were on turnarounds not leading to garages.

Ms. Frederick carries a city-issued badge on the job and is permitted to ticket vehicles in her role as commissioner of streets, bridges, and harbor. She was formerly manager of the city's code enforcement.

In 2005, a dispute over a parked car and a city recycling truck escalated into police arresting her. She was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.

Ms. Frederick allegedly argued with the owner of a vehicle and threatened to have his vehicle towed. After police asked her to stop, she continued and was arrested.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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