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Published: Tuesday, 3/19/2013

LUCAS COUNTY

Board of elections officials strike back at consultants' critical report

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Director of the Lucas County Board of Elections Meghan Gallagher Director of the Lucas County Board of Elections Meghan Gallagher
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge | Buy This Photo

A month after receiving a stinging critical report of an office in turmoil, the Lucas County Board of Elections is seeking to rebut the charges.

In a detailed response to be distributed to the board members at their regular meeting today, elections Director Meghan Gallagher contends many of the criticisms in the report were off-base or reflect a culture that was in place long before she and Deputy Director Dan DeAngelis took over their jobs.

Ms. Gallagher’s rebuttal is in response to the report issued Feb. 25 by two consultants appointed by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, Democrat James Ruvolo of Ottawa Hills and Republican Jonathan Allison of Columbus.

They criticized the board’s lack of policies in personnel, budgeting, records retention, and inventory management and said that the working atmosphere was one of paranoia and mistrust. They recommended Ms. Gallagher and Mr. DeAngelis be fired.

Instead, the board of elections today is expected to consider a resolution from board Chairman Ron Rothenbuhler to give Ms. Gallagher and Mr. DeAngelis until the board’s April meeting to come up with a working organizational chart or face possible dismissal.

In her response, Ms. Gallagher in part blames the oversight by the Secretary of State’s office, from August, 2012, to February, 2013, for obstructing work that needed to be done or failing to do things they were supposed to do.

One point on which Ms. Gallagher and the consultants agreed is confusing personnel policies that leave the director with little authority to actually supervise the board's staff.

The consultants said the board lacks an employee manual that clearly define the responsibilities of the board members, senior managers, and other managers within a standard personnel and employee discipline process.

For example, Ms. Gallagher wrote that the office has new policies for electronically storing records but, “despite repeated requests from senior management, employees refuse to place their documents in a centralized location which would allow all employees access to this publicly held information.”

In another section, Ms. Gallagher says the board has a staff to regularly audit campaign finance reports, but they fail to do so.

“This is another example of how some staff members refuse to perform their job responsibilities and refuse to do what management instructs them to do,” she wrote.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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