Carty Finkbeiner recall, Toledo, Ohio, 2009
A decision of the Ohio Supreme Court on July 27, 2009 ended the recall effort. After a pro-recall group collected about 40,000 signatures, a lawsuit was filed saying that the petition forms omitted one sentence and therefore, all the signatures should be discarded. All of the court's justices agreed with this assessment.
As the recall effort gained steam, Finkbeiner announced that he does not intend to seek a fourth term as Mayor of Toledo.
Finkbeiner earned $136,000/year and was in his third four-year term as mayor when the recall started.
For the recall effort to succeed, its supporters needed to collect 19,753 valid signatures from registered Toledo voters in a 90-day window ending April 18, 2009. According to the Lucas County Board of Elections, as of April 16, there were 19,827 valid signatures. If the effort succeeds, Finkbeiner would be removed from office with about three months left in his four-year term.
Signatures verified, then challenged
The Lucas County Board of Elections spent three days verifying 39,994 signatures, leaving 5,000 unchecked, but available if need be. The board determined 20,444 to be valid, meaning the effort has enough signatures to put the recall on the fall 2009 ballot.
Finkbeiner then hired an attorney to challenge the validity of the signatures. According to Finkbeiner's legal team, there were around 2,500 signatures that are invalid. They also alleged false signatures, doctored affidavits, and language that doesn't meet state requirements.
Petition language questioned
Finkbeiner's legal team said that the petition forms were missing the sentence, "Whoever Commits Election Falsification is Guilty of a Felony of the 5th Degree."
Finkbeiner's team appealed that decision to the state's highest court, ultimately winning a verdict that although the Toledo City Charter does not say that recall petitions must include the sentence that was left out, the state's election laws do require the missing sentence.
Supporters of recall
As reasons for going ahead with the recall effort, the group cites:
- "Three years of nationally embarrassing gaffes."
- "Increased taxes and fees."
- "Creating an atmosphere decidedly unfriendly to the creation and expansion of business within the City of Toledo."
- Spending money on the Erie Street Market while cutting funding for new police officers and firefighters in the proposed 2009 budget.
o Mayor Finkbeiner's order in February 2008 that a Michigan reserve unit of the Marine Corps stop training in downtown.
- A November, 1994, statement Finkbeiner made referencing deaf people living near Toledo Express Airport.
Finkbeiner says of the recall, "In a time of national and local severe recession, instead of pursuing their selfish personal and political agendas, they should help us raise money for the United Way and Salvation Army, and fight for auto jobs just as hard as I did to keep Jeep a few years back. They should also support us in working to bring alternative energy jobs and companies to Toledo."
Finkbeiner also believes the recall effort is fueled by personal vendettas against him.
On May 9, 2009 the Finkbeiner announced that he would cut his own salary by 40%. On September 17, 2009 the mayor release a statement that read, "Mayor Finkbeiner voluntarily imposed a 10 percent pay reduction upon himself for the better part of the first six months of the year. He pays back to the city treasury on a quarterly basis and has written checks totaling $5,000 through June 30th, including $2,000 to pay for police overtime for the July 4th weekend."
Previous recall effort
Tom Morrissey, a University of Toledo student, ran an unsuccessful "Recall Carty" petition drive in 2007.
- Toledo Blade, "Take Back Toledo group seeks recall of Finkbeiner," December 2008
- Thurber's Thoughts, "Recall Carty 2 gets under way," December 5, 2008
- Toledo Blade, "Justices halt Finkbeiner recall effort," July 28, 2009
- Toledo Free Pres, "Mayor recall to be on November ballot," June 10, 2009
- Toledo Blade, "Toledo mayor's decision to not seek re-election ends speculation as recall bid heads for ballot," July 13, 2009
- Toledo Blade: "Petitions to remove mayor get needed number of signatures," April 16, 2009
- Toledo Free Press, "Should you sign the petitions?," January 16, 2009
- Toledo Blade: "City Council clerk to tell mayor: Quit or face recall," April 18, 2009
- FoxToledo.com: "Attorneys to look at recall petitions," April 22, 2009
- Ballot Access News, "Ohio Recall Petition Invalidated Because of Missing Sentence," July 28, 2009
- Fox Toledo, "Voters get chance to recall mayor," June 10, 2009
- Swamp Bubbles, "Take Back Toledo to Launch Recall effort," January 7, 2009
- Toledo Blade, "Mayor: Personal vendettas fuel recall," January 17, 2009
- Toledo Blade, "Mayor trims his own pay cut," September 18, 2009