New political action committee pushes for Toledo charter changes

New political action committee pushes for Toledo charter changes
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 6:45 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - You may be starting to hear from a recently formed political action committee pushing those Toledo charter changes in front voters.

That committee was formed last year and has some familiar names as part of it. The group calls itself Forward Toledo. That’s not to be confused with the Forward Toledo initiative announced a few weeks ago, which was a comprehensive land use plan.

This Forward Toledo wants voters to change the charter on issues ranging from streets to allowing mayors to have an additional term.

The URL pretty much spells it out. wants people to do just that -- vote yes on issue 21. It’s paid for by Forward Toledo.

Issue 21 is one question with 12 potential Toledo charter changes. They include allowing city funds to improve all streets, including unimproved streets. Those changes would also allow the administration to spend $25,000 without council approval instead of $10,000, reducing petition signature requirements and allowing mayors to potentially serve 3 consecutive terms. Right now it’s 2 terms.

That includes Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz if it passes and if he chooses to run again. Speaking of the mayor, campaign finance documents list one of his deputy mayors, Karen Poore, as treasurer of the Forward Toledo political action committee started in 2021. It was not a ballot issue PAC at first but in a September filing it became one.

Forward Toledo has money on hand, receiving $10,000 in April from Johnson Controls. That’s the same company the city is spending around $87 million with for water meter replacements. Forward Toledo also received $2000 from Crestline Paving and $1000 from Cleanwood Recycling in 2021. So far the committee’s only expenditure is $8000 Greathouse Partners out of Dayton for consulting.

The I-Team spoke with the Ohio Elections Commission about any potential conflicts of interest. Here is their statement:

“There is no specific preclusion on a city employee serving as a Treasurer for a Political Action Committee such as you outline. It is, however, paramount that the employee only conduct their duties as treasurer at such time as they are not conducting any public duties.

Ohio Revised Code §9.03 places certain prohibitions on a public institution from participating in electoral activities and public employees are expected to only conduct their public duties while on public time.

Acting as a Treasurer for a Political Action Committee that is a separate, non-public entity would not be considered conducting public duties.”

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