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A group in favor of overhauling Lucas County government has gathered just under 24,500 signatures in support of its effort. Four large boxes of petitions were turned in Friday to the Lucas County Board of Elections.
"[The group] is going to let the voters decide," said Bob Reinbolt, one of the campaign's leaders, after delivering the petitions.
The home-rule government proposal calls for the traditional structure of county commissioners and row offices to be replaced with an elected county executive and an elected county council.
The campaign needs about 14,500 valid signatures from registered voters to get the issue on the Nov. 6 general election ballot; organizers turned in 24,498 Friday. The board of elections has 10 days to certify the petitions and to validate the required number of signatures to place the proposal before voters.
Mr. Reinbolt said the group canvassed door to door using registered-voter lists, campaigned on primary election day among registered voters, and also registered about 1,000 new voters as part of the effort, so he believes the group will have enough valid signatures.
Said Thomas Palmer, another leader of the reform effort, "We will get this on the ballot. We are confident."
If the measure goes before voters, the next step will be a substantial marketing campaign to let the community know about the potential changes, Mr. Palmer said.
Under the new form of government, the county council would have six district members and three at-large members.
It would eliminate the elected posts of county commissioner, auditor, coroner, clerk of courts, engineer, recorder, sheriff, and treasurer.
Only the elected prosecutor would remain.
Other county departments would be led by professional administrators appointed by the county executive.
Cuyahoga and Summit counties are the only others in Ohio with such a form of government.
If voters approve the plan, the revamped offices would be filled during the November, 2013, general election.
The plan's proponents say it would create a more efficient county government and would do a better job of promoting economic development.
A previous effort to reform Lucas County government went before the voters in 1959 and was rejected, 72,235 to 40,719.