Newsmakers: No end date set for SOS oversight of BOEWritten by Maggie Dziubek | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Representatives from the Lucas County Board of Elections (BOE) and the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office were satisfied with the board’s administration of the Nov. 6 national elections and are optimistic about the board’s future, despite recent controversies.
On Aug. 12, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that he would assign a “special master” to each party within the BOE to oversee daily operations. This decision was in response to the board’s failure to produce position descriptions and a bipartisan organizational chart.
“We’ve tried to work with the board. There’s obviously been some internal issues and some issues with personnel. That’s ultimately what led the secretary of state to install [his representatives],” said Ohio Secretary of State press secretary Matt McClellan.
Internal issues within the BOE included intrusive political partisanship.
“Actually, to tell you the truth, I was glad [the secretary of state representatives] came,” said Ron Rothenbuhler, BOE member and chair of the Lucas County Democratic Party.
He added, “I was happy to see people come in to reduce some of the tensions. It’s a job. Do your job and don’t worry about the politics, because the politics are part of the negative component.”
According to Rothenbuhler, the Nov. 6 elections ran smoothly in Lucas County.
“Not only myself but the administrative officials from the secretary of state’s office said we did a very good job. I’m very happy to hear that from them,” Rothenbuhler said.
This assessment was echoed by the secretary of state’s office.
“The recent election ran smoothly overall. We didn’t see any major issues,” McClellan said.
Despite positive feedback on the recent election, the secretary of state’s office does not have a timeline in place for removing their representatives from the BOE.
“It’s premature to get into what’s going to happen,” McClellan said “Now we’re looking at what options are on the table for moving forward, but we don’t have a timeline for that.”
Having completed this year’s national election cycle, the BOE has identified two major goals for the near future.
According to Rothenbuhler, the BOE will revisit job descriptions and work on creating a progressive disciplinary policy, which will help clarify the BOE’s rules for its employees.
“Those things haven’t been revisited for the two years I’ve been on the board and some of them probably haven’t been updated in 10 years,” Rothenbuhler said.
Along with working on solutions for administrative issues, the oversight of the secretary of state’s office in the past few months has provided an opportunity to grapple with the BOE’s partisan tensions.
“I am positive that the communication levels have increased and the Republicans and Democrats on the board have learned the same lesson,” Rothenbuhler said. “You have to work together. You don’t have to love each other, but you have to work together.”