By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer
Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner shaved $8,000 from the salary of the city’s director of neighborhoods yesterday because Anthony Reams has not been meeting the mayor’s standards in his job performance.
“Tony Reams is someone I have a lot of affection for, and I want Tony to be a very successful person, but he needs to pick up the pace assertively,” the mayor said.
Mr. Finkbeiner would not discuss any specific problems with Mr. Reams’s performance, but he said he has not “been a visionary” and has not done as much as possible to “bring home the bacon” from federal and state government.
As neighborhoods director, Mr. Reams oversees housing developments and some elements of the Jeep plant expansion. He has had the job since October, after Paul Hubbard resigned to open a Toledo office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Mr. Reams has been public service director, city staff manager, commissioner of streets, bridges, and harbor, and chief operating officer. His salary is $80,000 a year.
“The only comment I have is that the mayor was unhappy on the progress of a couple of projects, and he cut my salary,” he said.
In his two terms in office, the mayor has cut the pay of at least 10 top officials to discipline them. Two – executive officer Tom Crothers and housing commissioner James Thurston – quit after the mayor docked their pay.
Mr. Finkbeiner defended his record of using money to motivate employees. He said he has raised 14 workers’ salaries since Jan. 1, and his pay cuts get more attention than they should. He said he uses pay cuts as a last resort to motivate people he feels aren’t doing their best.
“I attempt to get their attention – in this case, by taking a few dollars out of some body’s pocket. Is Finkbeiner an ogre? No. Finkbeiner is one of the better motivators or taskmasters,” the mayor said.