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Larry Sykes: City Council Presidency Is Next Goal

By Fletcher Word
Sojourner’s Truth Editor

Toledo City Councilman Larry Sykes just won re-election to Council this past November and is ready to start his second term on the City’s legislative body . This term, however, he wants to add a little something special to the mix. Sykes wants to serve as president of Council and is actively pursuing that goal as he tries to round up the necessary seven votes from his colleagues.

“There are a lot of things I see as president in terms of leadership that are missing,” he says of the current structure. “We need someone who has the time to work with our new people – we have new people and we have no orientation, no guidance on how to be on City Council”

Larry Sykes

The newly-elected councilmen (Nick Komives and Gary Johnson), notes Sykes, will be assigned to as many as five committees the moment they arrive and will “have to learn fast and quick,” he adds.

Sykes, a retired banker, certainly brings a wealth of experience to the task. He spent  years on the Toledo Board of Education before winning election to City Council and, over the years, has served on dozens of boards in the community, most notably Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority, Metroparks, United Way, Cordelia Martin and Planned Parenthood. He currently is on the boards of Lucas County Children Services, St. Vincent Mercy and the University of Toledo African American Community Advisory Committee.

“On the boards I have served on, I have left them better than when I started,” he says.”These are key boards that have impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in the community.”

Sykes’ main points of emphasis for his next term include neighborhood safety, the opioid crisis, early childhood education, implementing the lead safe ordinance which he led the fight to pass, responsible banking, diversity and inclusion, government consolidation/reorganization, regional water and information technology.

Sykes, very aware of the danger posed by lead in so many old central city buildings, is very proud of his involvement in getting the lead ordinance passed. “Going into the city [government] I was able to pass a lead ordinance that had been floating around for years,” he recalls. It’s an ordinance that has set a standard for other Ohio cities.

That sort of accomplishment is why Sykes feels he has evolved from a newly-elected councilman who did not know where to park when he first arrived on council four years ago, into an effective legislator and a leader among his peers.

“I have the knowledge, the talent, the time and the resources,” he says of his qualifications to lead City Council effectively over the next four years. “I have a better understanding of the City and how it works and the finance committee has done work that has led to outstanding reports on City finances from Standard and Poor’s  [Financial Services] and Moody’s [Investors Services] and from the state government.”

Knowledge, talent, time and resources notwithstanding, Sykes has a few challenges to overcome in his quest. No stranger to controversy, he is now faced with the recent publicity that surrounded him following an altercation with a community activist that brought about the involvement of law enforcement and caused charges to be filed. And it brought on Sykes’ head, the condemnation of The Blade.

“Do I worry about The Blade? I can’t,” he says. And he advises his colleagues not t worry either. The impact of that advice is yet to be determined.

Meanwhile Sykes will continue to seek the presidency and to take pride in what he has achieved as an elected official. He did not raise a great deal of money during this last campaign for office and he feels no ties to any sort of special interests. “The only ones I’m obligated to are my constituents and the community,” he says.




Copyright © 2017 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/16/18 14:12:35 -0700.

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