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Published: Friday, 10/2/2009

LCIC board adopts contract, president's $109,000 salary

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The new president of the Lucas County Improvement Corp. will be paid $109,000 and get 15 vacation days annually under a contract adopted yesterday by the economic development group's executive committee.

Ford Weber, who was hired Aug. 31, also is entitled to reimbursement of car and travel expenses and the costs incurred in obtaining and maintaining a certification in economic development by the International Economic Development Council.

His employer will pay dues and fees of memberships in professional associations related to his work. He'll also get the same health and term-life insurance the other administrative staffers at the LCIC have. The contract extends for 16 months from his hiring date.

Mr. Weber, 49, replaced Matt Sapara, who had been on loan from the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority since January, 2008.

Mr. Weber was a commissioner of real estate for the city of Toledo, but resigned in 2005 to become director of housing and neighborhood services for Roanoke, Va.

He then became director of Virginia Local Initiatives Support Corp., but was downsized out of that job this year.

Earlier, he had been a senior attorney in Toledo's law department specializing in real estate law, and had a private law practice for 14 years before that.

The executive committee also approved moving the LCIC's offices to Two Maritime Plaza from 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive for a big savings in rent. At its new address, the agency's monthly rent will be $3,771 a month, compared to the $12,636.70 it now pays.

Executive committee member Mark Rasmus, who was in charge of the search, said the choice came down to space at Two Maritime Plaza or One SeaGate. The One SeaGate space would have cost $4,210 a month when $460 for parking was included. There'd be no parking charge at Two Maritime Plaza. He recommended Two Maritime Plaza, and his colleagues agreed.

Mr. Rasmus said the new landlord will repaint, recarpet, and install a new ceiling before the LCIC moves in. "I would hope we could be in there by Dec. 1 at the very latest," he said.

In other action, the executive committee deferred action on a proposal by chairman Joseph H. Zerbey IV that the panel endorse Issue 3, which will be on next month's ballot and which would legalize casino gambling in Ohio.

Since the proponents of Issue 3 have pledged to locate a casino in Toledo, the success of the measure would have significant economic development ramifications, said Mr. Zerbey, who is president and general manager of The Blade. Moreover, construction of a casino would mean substantial county real estate conveyance fees, which fund the LCIC.

But committee member Baldemar Velasquez expressed concern that the casino would be nonunion. Ex-officio committee member Pete Gerken, president of the Lucas County Commissioners, noted that many labor leaders and unions were supporting Issue 3, but Mr. Velasquez said he wanted time to consider the matter.

The proposal was put on hold for later consideration.

Contact Carl Ryan at:

carlryan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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