Cleveland's First Female Mayor Takes Oath

CLEVELAND (AP) - Jane Campbell (pictured, right) became the city's first femalemayor just after midnight Monday.

As Mayor Michael R. White's third term expired, Campbell wassworn in at 12:01 a.m. in a private ceremony at her downtowncampaign headquarters.

Campbell, the city's 55th mayor, chose an early-morning transferof power because she did not want to leave key departments withoutleadership, even for a few hours, spokesman Rodney Jenkins said.

"If we had a snowstorm at 12:02, someone would have to give theorder to plow the streets," Jenkins said. "The city has to alwayshave a leader."

Campbell, 48, took the oath of office again later Monday in apublic ceremony attended by about 500 people. In her first speechas mayor, Campbell talked about Cleveland's diversity and her goalsof bringing unity to the city.

Across the state, a woman also became mayor of Dayton for thefirst time. Democratic Sen. Rhine McLin was sworn in Monday in aceremony attended by about 700 people.

Campbell takes over as Cleveland-based LTV Steel, once thenation's third-largest integrated steel producer, prepares for apossible shutdown if a buyer cannot be found by the end ofFebruary. The company has been in bankruptcy protection for about ayear.

The new mayor also must decide what to do about the city healthdepartment. A committee she appointed has warned that thedepartment has inexperienced leaders and high staff turnover.

In addition, the state auditor in August criticized Cleveland'sfinancial management. An audit said the city made $4 million induplicate payments to contractors in the first half of 2001; hadlost track of more than $1.5 million in auto parts from citygarages; and had failed to reconcile bank accounts with cash onhand.

White said last week that most of the problems cited in audithad been resolved.

White, the city's longest-serving mayor, was credited withhelping resurrect Cleveland's downtown and improving the cityschool district during his 12 years in office.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)