As a Democrat, he has added another option for local Dems to choose among. So far, the Republicans have only one declared candidate, Jim Moody, though former Fire Chief Mike Bell (a Democrat who plans to run as an Independent) is likely to garner support across political lines.
From The Blade:
Mr. Konop plans to argue that he has executive experience, having served on the three-person commissioner board for more than two years.
"You're managing budgets and personnel - two big aspects of being mayor," he said.
Having been a county commissioner (as well as an elected clerk of court and a business manager), I can certainly attest to the difference between 'managing' a budget and 'preparing' one.
Yes, commissioners manage a budget, but they don't create it, they don't set priorities (those are set by the Ohio Revised Code) and they don't have many options in denying other elected officials the ability to spend. Some might say a mayor does the same thing - but we've seen the detrimental impact of electing mayors who've never prepared a budget...can you say 'deficit'?
As for 'managing' personnel, I will concede that a commissioner does this. But managing as one of three people responsible is vastly different from what the mayor must do.
A commissioner votes on hiring/firing staff and hears and decides grievances filed by unions/employees. A commissioner doesn't determine the job descriptions, conduct performance evaluations, participate in union negotiations, interview potential employees or even impart the bad news when a person is let go. Konop's only individual hiring experience is of his personal assistant - and I don't believe he's ever had to tell someone, 'you're fired.'
His public track record on filling positions isn't the best, either. He was placed in charge of the search for a new director of the Lucas County Improvement Corporation, after pushing for the resignation of the prior one, but did not complete the task.
A mayor must select people to fill key positions: directors and commissioners, chief of staff, etc. While I never negate someone's ability to gain such expertise, I'm very confident I don't want the learning to occur first in the mayor's office.
Even if you decide that the personnel and budget management as a commissioner is equivalent to what is needed by a mayor, Konop has only two years of doing this - and nothing in his previous positions to contribute to that. If the ability to manage budgets and personnel is high on your list of needed skills, Konop's experience will put him near or at the bottom of the list of the major candidates at this point.
So what does that leave him to offer the voters? Why 'change' of course. And grandstanding - though he calls it 'challenging the status quo.'
"There's no one running that represents the kind of change that this community needs," Mr. Konop said in an interview with The Blade on Friday.
"I have a track record that shows I'm willing to aggressively challenge the status quo. I'm the only candidate who can deliver that."
There's more to being mayor than 'challenging the status quo' with ideas and gimmicks that cost taxpayer dollars. (Remember art assist - Konop's brilliant idea to subsidize loans for purchasing art?)
And though current mayor Carty Finkbeiner has had many public gaffs, none have been anything as severe as standing with a group who called our local Sheriff Deputies 'nazis' but not uttering a word of protest or objection, which Konop did just last week at the Foreclosure Defense League press conference.
Konop's working relationship with his fellow commissioners is not a good one. I'm not sure what he expected when he was elected, but I'm certain he thought he would have more support from his two Democrat colleagues. His difficulty in garnering support for his positions will be magnified when he has to work with quadruple the number on city council - and his lack of a track record with fellow Democrats does not result in good expectations for dealing with the political implications of A-Team, B-Team and Republicans in council chambers.
The good news about his entry into the race is that it will split the Democrat vote. The primary for mayor is non-partisan. The top two mayoral vote-getters go on to the general election, so if Democrats have to choose between multiple candidates, it is possible for a Republican to make it to the general election. However, that requires outstanding campaigning by the Republican, and it is as likely that the top two vote-getters will be Democrats, as we've seen in the past.
Additionally, The Blade, by the subtle clues we've all learned to recognize, has shown a preference for candidate Keith Wilkowski. They've also been highly supportive of Konop. Which one they end up favoring may influence a portion of the primary vote and their coverage of the candidates will be interesting to watch.
Now the only unknown is Finkbeiner. I've previously thought that he would enter the race and seek re-election no matter what. Now I'm not so sure. If the recall effort gathers sufficient signatures to place the matter on the primary ballot (which seems likely at this point), Carty may decide not to run. However, the logic of such a choice must be balanced by his ego and his perception that being the best cheerleader for the city is the highest qualification for the office.
This is going to be an interesting political season.
Tim Higgins at Just Blowing Smoke has more to say about Comm. Konop's claim of 'challenging the status quo'.