Democrat Phil Copeland today took the oath of office as Lucas County recorder in front of a crowd of supporters that included prominent members of the labor, Democratic, and African-American communities.
Mr. Copeland, who resigned his seat on Toledo City Council this morning, replaces Jeanine Perry, also a Democrat, who did not seek another four-year term.
In his remarks in the county commissioner's meeting room in One Government Center downtown, Mr. Copeland thanked supporters along the way and expressed loyalty to the union that he continues to work for as business manager, Laborers Local 500.
The swearing-in was conducted by Toledo Municipal Judge C. Allen McConnell. Sarah Copeland, one of Mr. Copeland's four children, stood with him as he took the oath of office.
Mr. Copeland, 67, defeated Republican George Sarantou in November. His departure from council sets up a struggle for the vacancy appointment on the 12-member city council. The Lucas County Democratic Party has endorsed labor union organizer Shaun Enright, who was in the audience of well-wishers today. However, two council Democrats, council President Joe McNamara and East Toledo Councilman Mike Craig, have announced their backing of former Toledo Mayor Jack Ford for the position. So far, neither Mr. Ford nor Mr. Enright has the necessary six votes to win the seat.
Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken praised Mr. Copeland as someone who would represent working people in county government, and noted that Mr. Copeland followed him on Toledo Council. Mr. Gerken also came from a labor background, having worked as the co-administrator of a Chrysler-United Auto Workers training center.
"We act as a team and this is a great team member. He took my seat and did an admirable job holding down the viewpoint of labor," Mr. Gerken said.
Mr. Copeland was also lauded by WilliAnn Moore, a regional coordinator for the Ohio NAACP, who said she and Mr. Copeland went to elementary and high school together.
"You have worked your way up from the ranks. You never, ever took a shortcut," Ms. Moore said. "You always did what was expected and you earned everyone's respect."
Mr. Copeland's uncle, the late Bill Copeland, also served as county recorder, 1985 to 1990. The younger Mr. Copeland was appointed to Toledo Council in January, 2005, and was elected later that year and again in 2009.
Contact Tom Troy at: email@example.com or 419-724-6058.