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Published: Thursday, 6/3/2010

Konop releases restructuring plan for Lucas County

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop Thursday unveiled his proposal for county home-rule government, with an elected county executive and an 11-district county council.

Mr. Konop e-mailed the draft to about 100 other elected officials of Lucas County, and said he's looking for suggestions before the proposal takes its final form.

The proposal would have to gain more than 14,000 valid voter signatures on a petition to go on the ballot this November, and voters would have to approve the plan for it to take effect.

If approved, the new county officers would be elected in 2012.

Mr. Konop's plan is based on the new Cuyahoga County charter.

Under it, most current elected offices would be abolished — the commissioners, sheriff, clerk of courts, treasurer, recorder, auditor, engineer, and coroner, and those functions would be taken over by appointees of the county executive and confirmed by the county council. The county prosecutor would continue to be independently elected.

The elected county executive would be paid $125,000 a year. Ten of the council members would be paid $30,000 and the president of council would be paid $35,000.

The 11 proposed districts would likely lead to greater ethnic and political diversity, Mr. Konop said.

He said a modernized county charter would improve economic competitiveness and encourage collaboration between cities, suburbs, and townships.

The other two commissioners — fellow Democrats, Pete Gerken and Tina Skeldon Wozniak — have endorsed a different approach aimed at studying the best solution for Lucas County rather than putting a question on the November 2 ballot.



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