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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
Toledo Mayor Mike Bell will have to try to win re-election this year without something he had four years ago.
In 2009, Bell had endorsements from the Toledo Police Patrolman's Association and Firefighters Local 92. In that year, Mike Collins finished fourth in the primary. Now, Collins is hoping those new endorsements will help him become Toledo's next mayor. On Friday, both the TPPA and Local 92 announced their support for Collins, who is a former head of the police union.
Tensions between the unions and Bell heated up in 2010 when the mayor proposed suspending union contracts to force concessions, in order to balance the general fund budget. Council approved the measure, but Collins voted against it.
"While the mayor of the city of Toledo went forward to the collective bargaining organizations and sought concessions, neither he nor any member of his executive staff took any concessions whatsoever," said Collins.
According to TPPA President Dan Wagner, that started what he considers "a major morale problem" within Toledo's public safety forces.
"He's claimed he's hired more police officers in the last three and a half years than the last 12 years. We are still left today with fewer officers on the streets than when he took office, and that is because the attacks on the officers. They no longer want to work for this city or that man," explained Wagner.
Collins believes this endorsement is very important for his campaign because public safety is a top priority in the Glass City, and he now has the support from 1,000 men and women who provide those services.
"As a former police officer, it is no surprise that Councilman Collins has picked up the endorsement from Toledo police and firefighters. His endorsement is further evidence of the deteriorating relationship between Mayor Bell and his safety forces," said Diane May, campaign spokeswoman for Anita Lopez.
A statement from the Bell campaign says difficult decisions were made to erase a multimillion dollar deficit, and the mayor is proud to have the endorsement of the Toledo Fire Chiefs' Association.