Toledo Talk

Sarantou Out

http://www.toledoblade.com/local/2017/08/02/Toledo-finance-director-resigns-after-8-2M-sat-idle.html

So, the question remains. Was it deliberate misdirection in order to pass the continuation of the tempermanent .75% tax, or just plain stupidity from all parties?

Who cares? Both answers are pretty much at criminal levels, BUT NOTHING WILL CHANGE.

created by JoeyGee on Aug 02, 2017 at 11:07:45 pm     Comments: 35

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Comments ... #

It's all about safety in Toledo finance.

Ss-ah-ff-ee-tt-yy
Safety-dance!

Ah we can dance if Sarantou, we can leave your friends behind
Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're no friends of mine
I say, we can go with Sarantou, to a place where they will never find
And we can act like we have our own budget
Leave the real one far behind,
And we can dance

We can dance if Sarantou, we can leave your friends behind
Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're are no friends of mine
I say, we can go where we want to a place where they will never find
And we can act like we don't have to fudge it
Leave the real one far behind
And we can dance.

Dansez!

Ah we can go when we want to the night is young and so am I
And we can dress real neat from our hats to our feet
And surprise 'em with the victory cry

I Say we can act if want to if we don't nobody will
And you can act real rude and totally removed
And I can act like an imbecile
I say we can dance, we can dance everything out control
We can dance, we can dance we're doing it wall to wall
We can dance, we can dance everybody look at your hands
We can dance, we can dance everybody takin' the chance
Safety dance
Oh well the safety dance
Ah yes the safety dance

Ss-aa-ff-ee-tt-yy
Safety-Dance

posted by justread on Aug 03, 2017 at 10:29:08 am     #   13 people liked this

Hall of Fame! Justread just won all the Internets!

posted by JoeyGee on Aug 03, 2017 at 10:39:30 am     #   1 person liked this

So, Waniewski just lost my vote. Quoted from the article linked above.

Republican District Councilman Tom Waniewski, also running for mayor this year challenging Ms. Hicks-Hudson, praised Mr. Sarantou.

“George is a competent public servant, and I hope he continues in the public service of our great community,” Mr. Waniewski said.

posted by Erin on Aug 03, 2017 at 05:23:41 pm     #   1 person liked this

I haven't had much respect for Sarantou since he was on council and advocated reducing the capital improvements portion of the 3/4% income tax. (I think that was back ... during W re-election?)

But beyond that, how did the state auditor (or whoever the state auditor allowed to actually do the audit on Toledo) sign off on this $8.2 million if it was actually illegally being accounted for as Douglas has said? I don't get that. And quite honestly, I'm not sure I trust Douglas to understand the ins and outs of accounting when - I've tried to find his professional background and can't - was he an accountant prior to a judge?

Sarantou is the fall guy in this. He's a financial planner, and probably relied upon his staff to make sure the entries were accurate. He didn't know, understand, or realize there was anything wrong.

posted by not_me on Aug 03, 2017 at 06:03:22 pm     #  

The 3/4 percent does not go to the capital budget. It goes to police, fire, and garbage pickup.

Sarantou is just a fall guy. He's the one that found it. It was moved by the Bell administration to debt service to impress auditors in showing that the money was there to service Toledo's debts in the event of the failure of the 3/4 percent levy. It was then left there.

Paula Hicks-Hudson and her PIO, Janet Schroeder, have been lying about this from the start, just like they lied about the offer on Southwyk. I don't know if Janet is being told to lie or if she is taking upon herself. This I know, her credibility is shit with the media. I still talk to lots of reporters. She dodges phone calls and texts and does not respond to document requests.

Sarantou will tell his side eventually and I don't think Paula is going to fare too well in that telling. I'm also confident he'll have the documentation to back up that telling.

posted by MemyselfandI on Aug 03, 2017 at 06:22:33 pm     #   3 people liked this

The 3/4 percent does not go to the capital budget. It goes to police, fire, and garbage pickup.

It may currently go to police, fire and garbage; at one time part of it went to capital improvements.

Had to do some digging but I finally found it in a 2004 Blade article:

http://www.toledoblade.com/Editorials/2004/10/20/No-on-3-4-tax.html

At present, one third of the surcharge revenue goes for police and fire services; one third to capital improvements, and one third to the city's general fund. Approval of Issue 5 would cut the capital improvements share by half, allowing the city to move up to $8.75 million into the general fund to help offset an expected $14 million budget deficit.

At the time, IIRC, Sarantou was on council and chair of the finance committee and this 'had' to be done to save the city's because otherwise they couldn't afford the unsustainable police and fire budgets. Huh, not much has really changed. Toledo is going on 13 years of taking from the roads to fund police and fire.

Sorry if I diverted the conversation from the $8.2 million, but I've never respected Sarantou's financial abilities because of it.

posted by not_me on Aug 03, 2017 at 06:42:15 pm     #  

Maybe they'll create a six figure job for him in the Water Department. That seems to be a trend for employees that mess up and resign or get fired.

posted by classylady on Aug 03, 2017 at 11:26:33 pm     #   2 people liked this

There's no question he'll be recycled somewhere. We haven't seen the last of ol' George. We've got to keep all those spots filled up. We'd hate to see anyone new and fresh come in and take a job one of the old guard can fill. No siree, we can't have that.

posted by JoeyGee on Aug 04, 2017 at 07:26:24 am     #   2 people liked this

classylady posted at 11:26:33 PM on Aug 03, 2017:

Maybe they'll create a six figure job for him in the Water Department. That seems to be a trend for employees that mess up and resign or get fired.

Funny you mention the water department "demotion"....

http://www.toledoblade.com/Politics/2017/08/04/Errors-cost-Toledo-chance-at-1-1M-grant-for-job-training-Administrator-demoted-to-water-department.html

posted by Xbuckeyex on Aug 04, 2017 at 08:15:34 am     #   1 person liked this

That's amazing. We joke about it, but unfortunately, it's not a joke in Toledo. I don't believe anything that the mayor said for this story. Sounds like lies to me. Who agrees to a drastic pay cut because the person is needed in another department?

Toledo’s onetime grant writer was demoted to the city’s water department with a substantial pay cut after a snafu that cost the city and the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority any chance of landing a $1.1 million grant to start a jobs training program.

... a former University of Toledo employee who was fired twice by the school ...

Her transfer to the Department of Public Utilities followed a series of blunders ...

Mayor Hicks-Hudson said Ms. Spurlock was moved because of “the need for stronger grant-writing skills” in the water department.

Spurlock was hired by Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson in January, 2016, as the city’s grants administrator for $67,000 a year. Officials could not reveal the salary for her water department job Thursday. It will be $30,286 to $40,381, according to the city’s salary schedule.

The mayor said the loss of the $1.1 million grant had nothing to do with the transfer and salary cut.

[Last year] Mayor Hicks-Hudson asked ex-Toledo Neighborhoods Director Tom Kroma to resign for his role in the loss of a different grant that was half of that amount.

[The mayor] would not comment on Mr. Kroma’s forced resignation compared with Ms. Spurlock’s transfer and demotion.

posted by jr on Aug 04, 2017 at 09:17:44 am     #  

That's egregious. The two are not even comparable in terms of experience and employability. In fact, Tom was scooped up by Mercy soon after.

posted by justread on Aug 04, 2017 at 09:31:19 am     #  

JoeyGee posted at 10:39:30 AM on Aug 03, 2017:

Hall of Fame! Justread just won all the Internets!

Well, all the internets came. They were emailed to me as a gigantic zip file full of porn, rewritten history, and bad advice. My antivirus wouldn't let me open it. So I deleted it. One of those prizes that sound good but you can't really win it. Like one of those "dream homes" you can't afford to pay the tax on. :(

posted by justread on Aug 04, 2017 at 09:34:00 am     #   2 people liked this

jr posted at 09:17:44 AM on Aug 04, 2017:

That's amazing. We joke about it, but unfortunately, it's not a joke in Toledo. I don't believe anything that the mayor said for this story. Sounds like lies to me. Who agrees to a drastic pay cut because the person is needed in another department?

Toledo’s onetime grant writer was demoted to the city’s water department with a substantial pay cut after a snafu that cost the city and the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority any chance of landing a $1.1 million grant to start a jobs training program.

... a former University of Toledo employee who was fired twice by the school ...

Her transfer to the Department of Public Utilities followed a series of blunders ...

Mayor Hicks-Hudson said Ms. Spurlock was moved because of “the need for stronger grant-writing skills” in the water department.

Spurlock was hired by Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson in January, 2016, as the city’s grants administrator for $67,000 a year. Officials could not reveal the salary for her water department job Thursday. It will be $30,286 to $40,381, according to the city’s salary schedule.

The mayor said the loss of the $1.1 million grant had nothing to do with the transfer and salary cut.

[Last year] Mayor Hicks-Hudson asked ex-Toledo Neighborhoods Director Tom Kroma to resign for his role in the loss of a different grant that was half of that amount.

[The mayor] would not comment on Mr. Kroma’s forced resignation compared with Ms. Spurlock’s transfer and demotion.

Maybe Spurlock v. The University of Toledo 2015 has something to do with her caution in this case.

posted by justread on Aug 04, 2017 at 10:47:34 am     #   2 people liked this

justread posted at 09:34:00 AM on Aug 04, 2017:
JoeyGee posted at 10:39:30 AM on Aug 03, 2017:

Hall of Fame! Justread just won all the Internets!

Well, all the internets came. They were emailed to me as a gigantic zip file full of porn, rewritten history, and bad advice. My antivirus wouldn't let me open it. So I deleted it. One of those prizes that sound good but you can't really win it. Like one of those "dream homes" you can't afford to pay the tax on. :(

Too bad they couldn't just send Reddit. You could have taken over the world.

posted by JoeyGee on Aug 04, 2017 at 11:37:43 am     #   1 person liked this

Every time I see a PHH quote, I seriously question if she knows exactly what truth is and how to use it. I'm serious. I think she truly believes we're idiots--well, to be honest, the minuscule number of Toledoans that actually voted for her are, so I guess it's a good strategy for her.

posted by JoeyGee on Aug 04, 2017 at 11:42:36 am     #   1 person liked this

"... I think she truly believes we're idiots ..."

In my opinion, all local politicians believe that they are the experts on every known subject, and the rest of us are morons.

Once again, refer to the guiding principles of government:

  • First rule: Assume the citizenry are stupid.
  • Second rule: Pass legislation to protect the citizenry from themselves.
  • Third rule: Assume all citizens are criminals.
  • Fourth rule: Create schemes to take money from the citizens.
  • Fifth rule: Create lies to justify the actions.

posted by jr on Aug 04, 2017 at 11:53:52 am     #   4 people liked this

"They think we are idiots" we have a proven track record of it by continuing to re-elect them and confirming it.

posted by In_vin_veritas on Aug 04, 2017 at 12:54:38 pm     #   2 people liked this

I wonder how many positions are created in the water department for city department screw ups? There was the one today that messed up the $1 Million+ grant (and why won't they release her exact salary), there was Tom Carrothers who made that huge screw up with Southwyck, Ed Moore who "unknownly" got reimbursed for tuition that was covered by his wife, etc.

I go to the Ohio Building at least once a day to the 5/3rd branch and the amount of waste I witness is unbelievable, they need to be cutting staff, not adding. Why isn't there any an audit being done with the water department seeing how much they raise our rates and all the waste?

posted by classylady on Aug 04, 2017 at 01:13:26 pm     #   1 person liked this

and why won't they release her exact salary

I have the enhanced Super Google.

$67,000 early last year when they hired her. About $20,000 less at the division of blaming the lake for the water.

posted by justread on Aug 04, 2017 at 01:28:11 pm     #   1 person liked this

In other words apprx. $47,000 too much for anything but being the mayor's pal.

posted by Mariner on Aug 04, 2017 at 02:28:32 pm     #  

Well, she is Yvonne Harper's pal also.

posted by justread on Aug 04, 2017 at 03:11:04 pm     #  

And Larry (where did I put my cowboy hat) Sykes?

posted by Mariner on Aug 04, 2017 at 03:16:58 pm     #  

classylady posted at 01:13:26 PM on Aug 04, 2017:

I wonder how many positions are created in the water department for city department screw ups? There was the one today that messed up the $1 Million+ grant (and why won't they release her exact salary), there was Tom Carrothers who made that huge screw up with Southwyck, Ed Moore who "unknownly" got reimbursed for tuition that was covered by his wife, etc.

I go to the Ohio Building at least once a day to the 5/3rd branch and the amount of waste I witness is unbelievable, they need to be cutting staff, not adding. Why isn't there any an audit being done with the water department seeing how much they raise our rates and all the waste?

And again I ask: where are the local media watchdogs?

Perhaps if we put a bug in the media's ear that there's a Russian connection at the water dept..............just sayin'

posted by Foodie on Aug 05, 2017 at 07:13:17 am     #   3 people liked this

"And again I ask: where are the local media watchdogs?"

Local media orgs don't have the resources. Digging takes time and money. And the orgs know that detailing the wastefulness, incompetence, and possible malfeasance of local government does not play well on social media. Such stories don't garner the desired number of shares, likes, referrers, etc. It seems that journalism today creates stories based upon metrics and not based upon informing the public.

In my opinion, Ignazio Messina at the Blade is the only person
in this area capable of knowing what crevices to search for the gory details about our local politics. For him personally, it's unfortunate that he toils in an area infested with extreme apathy.

Anyone of us can make Freedom of Information Act requests of our government. But government only needs to respond in a "reasonable" amount of time. How many days and weeks are in a "reasonable"?

Unless a private citizen is wealthy enough to hire a legal team, local government can stonewall a FOIA request indefinitely. When that happens to an org like the Blade, the Blade wakes up its lawyers and sues the government for the info.

posted by jr on Aug 05, 2017 at 09:17:45 am     #  

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
Abraham Lincoln, (attributed)
16th president of US (1809 - 1865)

George Sarantou managed to walk the tightrope for decades before falling on his face.

posted by 6th_Floor on Aug 05, 2017 at 11:47:19 am     #  

Mariner posted at 03:16:58 PM on Aug 04, 2017:

And Larry (where did I put my cowboy hat) Sykes?

I have heard that Dorthy and Larry are very close friends, and that she spent as much time as possible hanging out in his office doing nothing rather than ever trying to do the job the city should have never hired her for in the first place. The whole thing stinks,

posted by glasscityguy on Aug 07, 2017 at 09:24:14 am     #  

Schroeder greased the slide of financial failure during her tenure as Executive Director at the Toledo Botanical Garden.

posted by holland on Aug 07, 2017 at 12:47:40 pm     #  

And ticked off and chased away a number of long time artists from the annual art fair.

posted by Foodie on Aug 07, 2017 at 01:07:42 pm     #   1 person liked this

Through 22nd floor, out of 1 Government Center, look out water department, here she comes. http://www.13abc.com/content/news/Toledo-sees-shake-up-in-city-administrators-439299433.html

posted by TrilbyGuy on Aug 08, 2017 at 07:17:08 pm     #  

Aug 8, 2017 Blade editorial about the water department being used as a landfill.

http://www.toledoblade.com/Editorials/2017/08/08/Banished-to-the-Toledo-water-department.html

Why do Toledo city staffers who seem to fall out of favor or make mistakes end up in the water department? Is shuffling staffers off to some purgatory department really the best way to manage personnel?

If the mayor is looking for a low-risk department where employees are unlikely to be able to do harm, surely the water department isn’t it. In Toledo, water issues have a history of being high stakes.

The latest moves are yet more evidence that the city’s administration has no real grasp of administrative competence.

Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson transferred her public information officer Janet Schroeder there Tuesday, shortly after sending grant writer Dorothy Spurlock to the department.

Ms. Spurlock [was] hired despite a citywide hiring freeze at the behest of City Councilman Larry Sykes.

posted by jr on Aug 09, 2017 at 06:14:09 am     #   2 people liked this

It almost makes sense.
Sending a bad PR person and a bad grant person to a department that needs PR and funding badly.

posted by justread on Aug 09, 2017 at 11:09:59 am     #   2 people liked this

If PHH were to operate a law firm the way she operates the city she would be fired after her first day.

posted by classylady on Aug 09, 2017 at 11:37:15 am     #  

Thank the Lord He has sent us His prophetess Opal in the darkest of times when we need her most.

posted by JoeyGee on Aug 09, 2017 at 11:58:49 am     #   5 people liked this

Aug 9, 2017 Blade editorial Toledo government needs more competence, not patronage

The Hicks-Hudson administration gets a failing grade on competence and a failing grade, also, on effort.

At the same time, the mayor and her administration seem not at all embarrassed by a cronyism that has failed them as well as the people of the city.

In fact, they flaunt their cronyism, which occasionally slips into good, old-fashioned political corruption.

Got a pal or loyalist you need to unload? Ship him (or her) to the water department. What’s the problem?


Speaking of corruption, what's the latest on Toledo's illegal ticketing of drivers who did nothing wrong? At last count, 444 motorists were wrongly ticketed. And who else knew about this criminal activity besides police chief Kral and city clowncilman Ludeman? Did mayor Hicks-Hudson know? As a finance guy, did Sarantou know? What about mayoral candidate Tom Waniewski? Clearly, the city had no intention of returning the stolen money until the Blade stumbled upon the scam. A July 2017 Blade editorial asked a simple question:

Did the ticket revenue exceed expectations because officers have been directed to nab drivers who are not actually speeding?


More from the Aug 9, 2017 editorial:

Last year, Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson hired Dorothy Spurlock — a former University of Toledo employee who was fired twice by the school. And she hired Ms. Spurlock despite being about six months into a hiring freeze the mayor ordered after announcing that the city was $2 million over budget at the time.

This from the administration that offered a $45-an-hour economic development consulting contract to the man who cast the lone plan commission vote in favor of the controversial West Toledo Kroger project. He withdrew his request to continue this work after it was revealed that city officials hired him without knowing he had a criminal record, which included misdemeanor convictions for assault, disorderly conduct, and sales to intoxicated people.

This from the administration that responded to a scathing 2015 consultant’s report alleging that the utilities department was riddled with inefficiencies, bloated management, and low cash reserves caused by granting raises and some promotions to officials running that department.

posted by jr on Aug 10, 2017 at 09:29:01 am     #   4 people liked this

Wonderful editorial written by the Blade today about moving screw-ups to the water department. I hope they remember this when they do the endorsements for Mayor in October and don't endorse PHH:
http://www.toledoblade.com/Editorials/2017/08/08/Banished-to-the-Toledo-water-department.html

A quote: "If the mayor is looking for a low-risk department where employees are unlikely to be able to do harm, surely the water department isn’t it."

The should have added they should get axed like in the private sector instead of being given another job in the city.

posted by classylady on Aug 10, 2017 at 01:00:33 pm     #   1 person liked this