Sep. 6—Toledo Mayor Steve Dobosh resigned Tuesday, citing ongoing disagreements with the council members and recent health concerns.
"Members of this council have made the City of Toledo (a) toxic place to work," he said during a city council meeting.
Dobosh made the announcement, while at times holding back tears, at the start of the meeting and left immediately afterward to an ovation from the packed Toledo City Hall. The council has 90 days to appoint a successor to the part-time role. Dobosh's term expires at the end of the year.
Councilor Eric Hayes will serve in the role of mayor pro-tem.
Disagreements between the mayor and council have long simmered in Toledo. In December, Dobosh wrote a letter to the community in which he said multiple city employees resigned "due to what they described as a very difficult place to work," according to previous Chronicle reporting. The letter claimed council members, including Hayes, belittled staff and have "meetings outside of city council meetings to fit their own agenda."
Dobosh declined to comment Tuesday beyond a prepared statement he read at the meeting.
During the meeting, Dobosh said he recently was discharged from the hospital and is on medication after "some issues with my blood pressure and breathing."
"Unfortunately, this was an eye opener to me and I realized my health must be my priority," he said. "Therefore, I'm resigning as mayor of Toledo, effective immediately."
During the roughly two-minute statement, Dobosh said he tried to "keep this council on track from spending money we do not have, and I have not been successful."
Dobosh said he was excluded from the hiring process for two police officers and said the city has had high employee turnover "due to this council's micromanaging of the staff."
"This meant we lost years of experience that we will never get back," Dobosh said. "Think of thousands of dollars we have spent on training that is now being utilized by other cities."
In an interview, Hayes said of the turnover in recent years, "It's not me. It wasn't because of me."
Dobosh alleged that Hayes "has taken over the role as mayor without my approval."
"Therefore, it is now time for ... Mr. Hayes to step up and be the mayor he always wanted to be," Dobosh said.
In his statement, Dobosh said he appreciated his time as mayor.
"We are the greatest little city that I know," Dobosh said. "I love this city, and it has been very difficult to watch this council destroy so many years of hard work by others. I wish this city well."
Council members were sympathetic toward Dobosh's health concerns but defended their actions.
After Dobosh left, Hayes moved to the mayor's seat on the dais. He gave a brief statement where he said the city is trying to increase revenue and transparency and establish a more effective land development approval process.
"We have people who want to build like crazy, and we're making sure that they do the right thing and don't turn this place into a subdivision," Hayes said. "Hopefully, we can continue to be the amazing little town I moved to five years ago. The only reason I'm sitting up here is to help it move forward and not be destroyed by what's happening anyway."
Following the meeting, Hayes said, "I'm not going to bash the mayor, but I hope he isn't going to bash me."
Hayes said he was concerned when he heard Dobosh was in the hospital.
"I'm very sorry about his illness," Councilor Jaime Scalise said during the meeting. "I reject every other statement he made. And I won't be silent about it anymore."
Hayes said he had never intended to be mayor and that "I'm not a political person." He added he was surprised Dobosh hadn't resigned sooner, following an extended absence last year due to health concerns.
Hayes said several new developments in town have led to discussions about potential impact fees to fund the additional resources needed.
"We're going to almost double our homes in the next five years," he said.
Councilor Emily Morgan cited a "disconnect between the mayor and the council's goals and the city's goals."
According to Dobosh's December letter, city staff said in their resignation letters that "Morgan was not a part of the council's actions against them."
While sitting in Dobosh's vacated seat, Hayes said he believes the council members listen to residents and that members serve on the council for "the right reasons."
"We are running a much more open council than we've ever run, than the city's ever run before. All of our ... packets are up for every single one of you to see," Hayes said in a statement. "We are on YouTube, we are recording. We are trying to do the best that we can."
Hayes was reappointed as the mayor pro-tem during the meeting.