Husted offers BOE members chance to appeal firingsWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted moved forward May 12 with his transparency committee’s recommendations to fire five people at the Lucas County Board of Elections (BOE), but offered each a chance to appeal his or her removal.
BOE Director Gina Kaczala, Deputy Director Dan DeAngelis, board chairman Ron Rothenbuhler and board members Jon Stainbrook and Anthony DiGidio received letters May 12 notifying them Husted would “commence proceedings … to remove you from your position.”
The letter instructed each person to appear at One Government Center at 9 a.m. May 15 for a hearing, represented by counsel, at which each “will be afforded due process and an opportunity to be heard as to why you should not be removed.” Each person was also offered the option of resigning by noon May 13.
“This recommendation is the result of a four-week inquiry that revealed and, in many cases, reaffirmed, the depth of the dysfunction and overall neglect of duty that has endured at the Lucas County Board of Elections. Further, it is yet another in a long-line of intervention measures that this board has required of my office in order to assist them with the most basic of duties,” the letter stated.
“In nearly every other county in the state board members and staff are able to put aside their differences to meet their responsibilities to voters. In Lucas County, the petty infighting, personality conflicts and sloppy administration have gone on long enough. I simply cannot jeopardize the integrity of future elections in Lucas County. The citizens and voters deserve better.”
The committee’s recommendations came May 9 after a daylong meeting with the BOE during which testimony was heard regarding the handling of the May 6 primary election.
Members of the state transparency committee were chairman Scott Borgemenke, Jennifer Brunner and James Ruvolo. The fourth member, Jonathan Allison, was unable to be present on May 9, but Borgemenke said he was included by conference call during the panel’s private discussion about recommendations and that all recommendations were unanimous.
Citing a “dysfunctional board culture,” Borgemenke said starting over seemed to be the only possible solution.
Kaczala has only been director since March, after the board voted to oust previous director Meghan Gallagher, but she is part of the board “culture,” Borgemenke said.
Only board member John Irish was recommended to keep his seat. That’s because he is the newest board member and was the only one to attempt to implement the transparency board’s previous recommendations, Borgemenke said.
The transparency board also recommended all BOE employees go through retraining.