LIKE the partisan sandbagging undertaken by Republicans in Washington and Columbus after the Nov. 7 election, the hasty unionizing of middle-management employees in the Lucas County Auditor's office smacks of sore loserism.
It's an obvious case of pure spite on the part of outgoing Auditor Larry Kaczala, the longtime GOP stalwart who was ousted by Anita Lopez, the county recorder, in last month's Democratic sweep.
Ms. Lopez doesn't object to the union drive, which involves at least 24 of 36 currently non-union employees. But she should have been given the chance to be part of the process after the auditor's office changes command in March.
Mr. Kaczala's claim that party politics had nothing to do with the hurried action is absurd and, worse, two-faced. We remember the outcry from local Republicans when employees of Toledo Municipal Court were quickly unionized in 1993 after Maggie Thurber defeated Democrat Jim Holzemer for the clerk's post.
As one of his last official acts, Mr. Holzemer signed a contract with a division of the American Maritime Officers union to represent 11 supervisory employees. Ms. Thurber and GOP officials, including then-county Republican chairman Tom Noe - remember him? - loudly protested that the Democrats were only trying to protect the jobs of partisans.
The situation in the auditor's office now is no different, except that the partisan shoe is on the other foot.
The auditor employs about 150 people, of whom only 52 are not already union members. Twenty eight - more than half - of the 52 are registered Republicans; two are Democrats.
It's hardly news that elected officeholders tend to give jobs to members of their political persuasion. Patronage is as old as the republic, but that doesn't mean it's good business.
If Mr. Kaczala were truly concerned about continued smooth operation of the office he's held for 13 years, he wouldn't be party to the quickie union drive, and he wouldn't be claiming that politics isn't involved.
Indeed, the auditor's rationalization is more of what we've come to expect from an officeholder who could never quite decide whether he wanted to be auditor or a common pleas court judge.
With his defeat, Mr. Kaczala is out trolling - again - for a judicial appointment, so it appears that voters made the right choice in replacing him in the auditor's office.
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