Once upon a time there was a great lion, the monarch of all he surveyed. But one day the lion noticed a pesky thorn in his paw. The thorn hurt like the dickens, but try as he might, he couldn’t remove the thorn.
He fumed and wailed, until a curious mouse came near. “Please remove the thorn from my paw,” the lion begged. “If I do, will you promise not to eat me?” the mouse asked. “Yes, yes, get the thorn out of my paw and I will be your greatest protector and benefactor!” the lion exclaimed.
So Toledo City Council fired the City Auditor who had been poking around Toledo Mayor Wade’s fiscal policies, and they all lived happily ever after.
See, the former City Auditor had the audacity to dig into City finances in the name of protecting taxpayer interests. He went on to allege that Wade was cutting back-room deals with big donors and breaking city ordinances. Wade fumed and wailed and refused meetings with the City Auditor. But only Toledo City Council could remove this thorny problem.
And they did, firing the City Auditor in late twenty twenty-two. But that left one more thorn in Wade’s paw. One of the votes against removing the City Auditor was Council member Katie Moline, a CPA herself.
Moline has been outspoken in questioning Wade’s use of millions of dollars in federal COVID funds. She frets over the budgetary implications of using a one-time infusion of cash without mending structural flaws in the city budget. She has demanded better fiscal accountability in the name of protecting taxpayer interests. But Wade couldn’t remove this thorny problem.
Until now. . . As we predicted, County Auditor Anita Lopez has been appointed to the County Commissioner position vacated by the retired Tina Wozniak. Who better to slot into the County Auditor’s seat than CPA Moline? The county Democratic Central Committee will decide whether to pluck Moline from Council and elevate her to Auditor.
That will get the thorn out of the lion’s paw once and for all!
Council of mice
But alas! What if another pesky do-gooder gets appointed by Council to replace Moline?
The lion has that all taken care of for the sycophant mouse. In a surprise move, the least experienced member of Council, Carrie Hartman, was inexplicably elected Council President. Hartman was appointed to Council a scant year ago, but is now the head of the body.
She’ll have an outsized role in choosing Moline’s replacement, as well as a replacement for outgoing Council member Tiffany Whitman, who was recently hired into Wade’s administration. Two appointments will be important in determining whether Council will act as a co-equal branch of government, as the city charter envisions, or a weak lickspittle, as recent Councils have demonstrated.
The lion doesn’t want any more thorns. You can bet he’ll be browbeating the mice on Council, reminding them he didn’t eat them when he could have. He’ll remind Hartman that he has been her greatest protector and benefactor.
And they’ll all live happily ever after.
But who’ll be protecting taxpayer interests?