On Sunday, August 22, 2021, Carty Finkbeiner, three-term Toledo Mayor, former member of Toledo City Council, as well as a candidate for this year’s mayor’s race, issued a statement calling council’s actions at last Tuesday’s meeting disgraceful after Ordinance 445-21 was pulled and assigned to council’s budget committee.
Ordinance 445-21 would have changed the Toledo Municipal Code in part to recognize June 19 as the newly created federal Juneteenth National Independence Day Holiday while eliminating the long held Good Friday Holiday.
“I attended last Tuesday’s Toledo City Council meeting where the Mayor and City Council managed to insult not one, but two, community groups with great influence — African Americans and the religious community,” said Finkbeiner. “Never in all my years of service as a three-term mayor and a veteran member of Toledo City Council have I seen such insulting behavior. Numerous community leaders in attendance were shocked and appalled that our elected city leaders would make a federal holiday a question of duress as opposed to the righteousness of the people.
“The city has 15 paid holidays, so our elected leaders should already know how much this will cost the city. It makes no sense to refer this to the budget committee unless they plan on treating Good Friday and Juneteenth as political auction items going to the highest bidder. The fact is the city has $70 million in the Rainy-Day Fund showing it can easily afford to add the Juneteenth National Independence Day without sacrificing Good Friday.
“The way this ordinance was handled shows Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and city council’s blindness and a lack of respect when it comes to the significance of the President and Congress in authorizing the Juneteenth holiday. To hold Juneteenth and Good Friday hostage like this shows that our Toledo elected leaders pitted the celebration of Good Friday for the religious community against a civil rights initiative.
“This is an absolute disgrace to the religious and African-American communities. The mayor and council should apologize to both groups and move immediately to revise the Toledo Municipal Code to keep the Good Friday Holiday intact while adding the new federal Juneteenth National Independence Day.”