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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
Mayoral candidate and Toledo City Council President Joe McNamara has decided to step down as president while running for mayor.
The decision comes because McNamara says he's concerned mayoral politics is getting in the way of council business. He says Mayor Mike Bell, who is running for re-election, is taking shots at council while he's president.
"I'm really concerned that Mike Bell lacks the professionalism needed to have a council president be running against him for Mayor," McNamara said. "I am perfectly content to sit next to him and run the meetings and do the people's business, but I've seen him do some very small things recently with regards to council."
McNamara was elected unanimously to be president by his colleagues at the start of this current Council term. He was previously elected by a different Council in 2009, to serve as Council president for the remainder of that year.
He says he has always believed elected leaders should put forward interests of the people they represent before their own political interests, which is why he did not seek the Council presidency while he was running for a state Senate seat in 2010.
Under McNamara's leadership, Toledo City Council passed two budgets unanimously, consolidated committees, rewrote Council rules, plus took steps to make Council more transparent.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as Council president," said McNamara. "But being in public office is not about advancing one's self interests; it's about serving the people and always picking the difficult right over the easy wrong. I will not allow the mayor's race to cloud Council's ability to work with the administration. The best interests of the people always have to come first."
The resignation will result in a $4,500 pay cut for McNamara. He will remain as an at-large Council member and continue with responsibilities during the campaign.
"McNamara is a man of strong character, integrity and honesty and has done a great job leading our Council through very difficult times," said Craig.
McNamara officially resigned during Tuesday night's Council meeting.
Three council members - Adam Martinez, Paula Hicks-Hudson, and George Sarantou - were nominated to fill McNamara's newly-vacant position. Council voted multiple times, but no candidate could obtain the required seven votes to win.