Interested in jumping into the surging waters of the cesspool that is City Politics? Wait just a skinny minnit, Buckster. First we must decide which elected office is the right fit for your twisted bad self.
You see, boyz and girlz, there are several types of elected offices here in the Swamp, and each calls for a distinctive sort of personality.
First things first. Check yer personality at the door. Do you enjoy constant public scrutiny, unrealistic expectations for results, but little opportunity to meet these bizarre demands? Then we have the perfect office for you! Run fer the TPS School Board!
That’s right, kideez. While members of the Board are expected to make lemonade out of spoiled tomatoes, they don’t really have much authority. The real power lies in the administrators over at Manhattan and Elm, who work their tender days away attempting to make chicken salad out of the chicken guano shoveled their way by unrealistic state standards and ever diminishing resources.
Like impossible tasks?
The Board consists of folks paid a pittance to oversee the lurching behemoth from afar. But never mind all that. The public expects results! Whatever that might mean at the moment. And the Board shall be held accountable. Not the superintendent, whose responsibility includes daily oversight of the district, nor the treasurer, charged with fiscal decisions. Not the state legislature and Board of Ed, who keep moving the bar of standards and siphoning off resources and students through expanding charter schools and voucher program eligibility.
Kwik kwiz. Name a single member of the state Board of Education! Better yet, name one from the Toledo area. That’s right! There isn’t one! Toledo is represented by someone named McGervey from Avon!
So if you have latent masochistic tendencies, the TPS Board is the place for you! Or mebbe you prefer direct access to the levers of power, but enjoy a bit of commiserating with peers in the exercise. We have the perfect spot. Run for county commissioner!
While the school board has slight oversight over an administration, the County Commission is in fact the administration of the big ol’ County! And there will be three of you, so you can bask in any glory your decisions might bring and spread around the pain of any mishaps. But never fear! You have people for that!
There’s a county administrator to do the actual dirty work of daily operations, so relax. Most of your work, for which you are handsomely rewarded, consists of ceremonial appearances at senior events and ribbon cuttings. You can take credit for successes actually achieved by well-run institutions like the Toledo Zoo and the Port Authority. Be sure to distance yourself from the Board of Elections, though! Claim you have merely fiscal oversight, while all the bumbles and fumbles can be laid at the feet of the appointed board itself.
If you like a bit more hands-on approach, there are other county offices like treasurer, auditor and recorder where you will be the sole administrative honcho. And you have people for that! Each office has an office administrator to do the heavy lifting, and lifers working behind the scene to handle daily operations. Which explains why holders of these offices tend to keep them tenaciously until they retire. So forget about ‘em. They never come available.
Even worse are County offices which require specific certification, like sheriff, coroner, and engineer. Sorry we even brought those up. Forget these, too.
Megalomaniacs apply here
Which brings us to the City its own self. Have delusions of megalomania? Think yer poop smells peachy? Want the pomp as well as the circumstance, the rock star status with the big breeches to go with it? This is the year, baby! You wanna be the mayor!
At least, that’s the way the office has been run by folks residing there since the advent of the strong mayor in 1993. Currently, Hizzoner Mikey P. has ended a stalemate with City Council over allocation of federal funds by cutting them out of the game completely, claiming their only role is to say “Yessir!” and further stating his role is to make them do his bidding. Forget that messy separation of powers dookey you learned in school. This is raw power, Bellbottoms style!
Of course, there’s the Council side. If there’s a bit of the quisling in you, you might fit into Council like Adam Martinez, playing the Yes Man to Hizzoner. Or if you like to tilt at windmills, you could play that role on Council like D. Mike Collins, fretting and blustering but getting little accomplished. If you like to work around the margins on stuff like Public Utilities, like Joe Mac, or Parks and Rec, like Lindsay Webb and Steven Steel, or simply fly under the radar, like Rob “Who?”deman, you might fit on Council.
But if you want to do more than just know the man, if you want to Be The Man, it’s mayor-time! Of course, you could run for mayor with a goal of working hard through differences with Council in an attempt to craft meaningful legislation through the difficult process of compromise in the democratic spirit.
Jk, lol! Run roughshod, baby!