Council member accuses mayor’s office of attempted cover-up - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Council member accuses mayor’s office of attempted cover-up

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

More sparks were flying at Toledo City Hall, over what some council members are calling an accounting cover-up attempt by the Bell Administration.

At issue during Toledo City Council's Finance Committee hearing on Thursday was proposed legislation to transfer more than $437,646 from the General Fund to the city's vehicle replacement fund, but some council members including Mike Collins objected, saying it was a measure to cover over recent purchases of a GMC Terrain and a Chevy Tahoe used by the mayor's office.

"I don't think we should be a party to providing a blanket to cover over what I consider to be a gross misrepresentation and a very significant lack of transparency," said Collins.

 The administration said the measure was necessary to correct accounting errors going back to some police vehicles purchased in 2004, but that argument raised a red flag for others of council, including Joe McNamara.

"I think all council wants is an apology. Is the Bell Administration sorry that a deceptive ordinance was passed through council?" said McNamara.  

Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat responded to McNamara's question.

"The ordinance could have been clearer," said Herwat.

In the end the administration told council it will be withdrawing the legislation. Councilman George Sarantou says it's time for city leaders to focus on the future.

"I think they made a mistake and I think they just ought to say they made a mistake and let's move on with our work," said Sarantou.

During the committee hearing council was also informed the city's 2012 budget will be closing out with a surplus, possibly a 7-figure surplus. Also, council was informed total tax collections through February of this year were down 1.5 percent compared to 2012.