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Mayor D. Michael Collins had nearly 14 minutes Thursday to meander through the office space he'll occupy for at least the next four years before rushing down for his first official act as Toledo’s new leader.
His brief stop in the mayoral suite was punctuated with a joke: “Is this where I hang out?” It preceded Mayor Collins presiding over the promotions of Toledo police Lt. William Moton to police chief and two police captains to the rank of deputy chief.
“This is the first time a city of our magnitude has taken an individual from the rank of lieutenant and trusted that individual with running this police department,” Mayor Collins said before dozens of uniformed officers present for the morning ceremony at One Government Center in City Council chambers.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to accept this great responsibility,” said Chief Moton, 68, who choked on his words during his acceptance remarks. “In Toledo, my childhood dream came true to be a police officer, and to be given this opportunity to lead one of the best police departments in the nation, I must say I am honored.”
The chief recited the oath of office, which when given by city Law Director Adam Loukx bucked a past practice of having the previous chief swear in the incoming chief.
Derrick Diggs, whose two-plus years as chief ended Thursday, was not at the ceremony. Mr. Diggs announced he would step down from his position weeks after the Election Day defeat of his longtime friend, Mayor Mike Bell, citing “irreconcilable differences” in policing philosophy with Mr. Collins.
Mayor Collins spent nearly an hour after the ceremony talking with officers and receiving congratulatory handshakes. He admitted to having trouble getting used to his new title.
The mayor returned upstairs to continue inspecting his new office, vacated the previous day by Mr. Bell. The room was stripped of pictures, plaques, and memorabilia Mr. Bell collected there for three years.
Mr. Collins had not been in the mayoral suite since former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner was in charge.
“Is this the $10,000 shower?” Mr. Collins said, referring to an installation Mayor Finkbeiner authorized in 2006 for the 22nd-floor office.
On his new desk, Mayor Collins found an envelope with his name handwritten on it. Inside, he found a note from Mr. Bell.
“Mayor Mike, Welcome to the toughest governmental job in America, mayor,” the letter said. “I wish you all the luck in the world. We are all depending on you.”
Mr. Collins’ new administrative assistant — Jackie Brown, who is a Rossford Board of Education member — handed the mayor his new business cards. Unlike Mayor Bell, who made international travel and seeking foreign investment a hallmark of his administration, Mayor Collins’ business card does not have a Chinese translation on the flip side.
Other than the police promotions, Mr. Collins said his day would be spent making sure Toledo streets were clear Friday and that crews were ready for another approaching snowstorm.
The new mayor and the new police chief did not cross paths again after the promotion ceremony.
Mr. Collins, a retired police officer, said he would not micromanage public safety, and it is up to Chief Moton to run the department.
While the chief’s office is on the third floor of the Safety Building downtown, Chief Moton spent much of Friday on the second floor — in and out of his old office.
“I’m lost,” he laughed as he headed toward the office he occupied as the lieutenant overseeing the crimes-against-persons investigative bureau.
Two captains, George Kral and James O’Bryant, were sworn in as deputy chiefs Friday morning.
Deputy Chief Kral, 47, who joined the department Dec. 14, 1990, will serve as assistant chief and oversee support services.
Deputy Chief O’Bryant, 51, said the new leadership team will work well together and described the trio as good communicators.
“We have a really good team,” he said. “I think that’s the whole key to this.”
Staff writer Taylor Dungjen contributed to this report.