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Published: Saturday, 8/13/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Stainbrook allies hired for board of elections

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Meghan Gallagher Meghan Gallagher
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The Republican shift at the Lucas County Board of Elections continued Friday as two close allies of board member Jon Stainbrook were hired to replace the employees ousted earlier this week.

Meghan Gallagher will take over as the Republican election manager, while Thomas A. Morgan will be the new Republican booth official. The board also voted to hire Glynis Fuentes, who is working as a temp at the board, to fill a vacant Democratic registration clerk position.

All three hirings were by unanimous vote.

Mr. Stainbrook, on a campaign to overhaul the board and reverse what he sees as a lack of trust by voters, said he was pleased with the moves.

"I have a lot of experience with these people and this is a team we want to use to move forward," he said about the Republican hires. "This is the same team that was very successful in cleaning up the Lucas County Republican Party. They're also the team I think will help us fortify the board of elections as well."

He also said he believes Ms. Fuentes is well-qualified.

Ms. Gallagher is the party's central committee chairman. Mr. Morgan serves on the central committee.

In 2009, Ms. Gallagher was Mr. Stainbrook's nominee for election manager, but was passed over by the board in favor of Kelly Mettler, who at the time was a campaign finance clerk. Ms. Mettler held the position until Tuesday, when she was fired on orders from Secretary of State Jon Husted. The board had split a decision on party lines whether to keep her and booth official Dennis Lange, with Mr. Stainbrook and fellow Republican board member Anthony DeGidio favoring termination.

Mr. Husted made his decision to order their firings after concluding the board could not come to an agreement on its own.

Ms. Gallagher will be paid $59,934, the same as Ms. Mettler. Mr. Morgan will be paid $32,938.

Both said they are eager to start.

"I'm happy they entrusted me with this critical position to help bring trust and integrity back to the Lucas County Board of Elections," Ms. Gallagher said.

Thomas A. Morgan Thomas A. Morgan
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Mr. Morgan, who is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, now serves as co-chairman of the Ohio Veterans United political action committee. He echoed Mr. Stainbrook's line of seeking to restore trust and confidence in the board. He said he is hopeful a smooth November election will get the board out from under administrative supervision by the secretary of state's office.

The state office has overseen the board since the firings earlier this year of the board's director and deputy director in connection with a provisional ballot-counting error.

Ms. Fuentes could not be reached for comment Friday. She has been a seasonal employee with the board since 2009. She will be paid $26,704.

Deputy Director Daniel DeAngelis, a Democrat, said the party had been looking to fill the empty position and had considered several candidates.

Discussion was brief before the vote, but took place in open session. Board chair Ron Rothenbuhler, a Democrat, said he preferred to not enter executive session, in an effort to be more transparent and give the board more credibility.

Mr. DeGidio told fellow board members he had served as Ms. Gallagher's attorney. He said he does not currently represent her, but wanted to disclose it, as the representation could be seen as a possible conflict of interest. No one on the board objected, and all three hires were approved separately.

"I think they'll fit in very well with our group upstairs," Rita Clark, the other Democratic member of the board, said after the vote.

The board also certified 29 more candidate petitions.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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