CLEVELAND -- Mayor Frank Jackson wants to continue his role as leader for the city of Cleveland.
But one day before Tuesday's election, his opponent, councilman Zack Reed, is speaking out against Jackson's decision to hire a convicted judge.
Reed held a press conference Monday to discuss the issue.
Lance Mason, a former Cuyahoga County judge, had been removed from the bench and sent to prison for a violent attack on his wife.
He spent nine months behind bars for the 2014 signed off on hiring Mason in late August as the city's director of minority business administrator.
“You would think that a mayor, who would understand the plight of our families, our neighborhoods and our communities, would not hire someone when you look at the landscape of our city, that in the last four years, we’ve had 60 women killed in the city of Cleveland," Reed said.
If elected mayor, Reed vowed to fire Director of Public Safety, Michael McGrath, and Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Special Projects, Martin Flask.
"We’ve got to put a new face on public safety here in the city of Cleveland. You cannot continue to walk down this pathway. You look at an administration that has seen over 1,200 people killed in the city of Cleveland. What continues to be? McGrath and Flask. McGrath and Flask continue to reign here in this building. When I become mayor, that no longer will be. Those two individuals on day one will be fired.”
Before the press conference, Reed issued the following statement early Monday morning:
"The hiring of Lance Mason is another example of how out of touch Frank Jackson is with the neighborhoods of Cleveland. Given the attacks and abuse that have taken place against women, this hiring shows how insensitive he is to women's issues of safety. I am a believer and example that every person is worthy of a second chance, but this hiring and the cover-up are just another example of Frank Jackson taking care of his friends. In the last decade, Cleveland has been the epicenter of violence against women and this hiring shows a complete lack of sensitivity to women and their issues of safety."
Jackson's campaign manager, Michael Bowen, issued the following statement in response to Reed Monday afternoon:“With his last-minute stunts, Zack Reed is playing politics about important issues, and trying to mislead voters.
As Mayor Jackson has said previously: City Hall doesn’t disqualify someone from applying for a job because of a previous conviction. Mr. Mason was hired through the city’s standard, open process by the department director for this low-level position because she felt he was the most qualified applicant.
Mayor Jackson wasn’t a part of the hiring process, but he stands by the director’s choice. As Mr. Reed knows well, people deserve second chances even after committing awful crimes.No one condones Mr. Mason’s crime. But he pled guilty, lost his law license and position as judge, and he served his time. Our community benefits if ex-offenders can find work and turn their lives around, as Mr. Reed will surely agree.”