Board of Elections members from left: Meghan Gallagher, Jon Stainbrook, Ron Rothenbuhler, and John Irish, during a meeting at One Government Center on May 24, 2013.
The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
With the usual acrimonious displays at meetings, a majority of the Lucas County Board of Elections opted Monday against a Christmas Eve lump of coal and less time to party on New Year’s Eve for its employees.
The board voted 3-1 during a special meeting called Monday to give elections board employees a half-day paid holiday for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve — something that traditionally was done in years past but not officially codified until Monday.
Board member Jon Stainbrook, a Republican, objected and cast the lone no vote.
Mr. Stainbrook and Director Meghan Gallagher said employees should be allowed to take either or both days off by using vacation days.
“It’s not that they are taking the day off,” Mr. Stainbrook said. “It’s who is paying for it. I think this is a frivolous way to spend the taxpayers’ money because [employees] have enough time off.”
Dan DeAngelis, the Democratic deputy director, requested the board approve the paid holiday time.
Mr. Stainbrook chided Mr. DeAngelis for not providing documentation in advance of the meeting.
Ms. Gallagher responded by supplying board members with documents showing the cost for the 77 hours of annual paid holiday time for each employee, which totals $38,961. She also handed out a list of employees’ vacation time, which totals $64,386 annually.
Board member Anthony DeGidio, a Republican who sided with the two Democrats for the vote, quickly chided Ms. Gallagher for not providing those documents in advance.
The tone of the meeting deteriorated from there, with members talking over each other, and Mr. Stainbrook at one point saying to Mr. DeAngelis: “You need to get with the program, Dan, if you want to pretend you’re the director.”
In the audience was Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken, whom Mr. Stainbrook tried several times to draw into the conversation about the vacation time. Mr. Gerken declined each time.
Most Toledo, county, state and federal government offices will be closed or on a half day today and all day on Wednesday in observance of Christmas, Mr. DeAngelis said. Among those open for a half day today and on Dec. 31 are the county treasurer, auditor, and common pleas court clerk’s office, he said.
The Lucas County Canine Care & Control office is closed today and on Christmas.
Ms. Gallagher said the elections board budget is “extremely tight” and the board’s vote results in about 150 hours of lost work time.
The board members Monday also sparred over 19 hours of November vacation pay denied to employee Gina-Marie Kaczala, the executive assistant to the director.
Ms. Gallagher said Ms. Kaczala was not paid for the time off because she did not follow procedures, ask for time off with enough advanced notice, and left the building before a vacation request was even viewed.
The board voted 3-1 to overturn Ms. Gallagher’s decision to deny that pay and treat Ms. Kaczala’s time off as unpaid leave days. Mr. Stainbrook voted not to overturn.
After the meeting, Mr. DeAngelis said other employees — Republicans such as Mr. Stainbrook and Ms. Gallagher — were approved for vacation time in September and November with only a one-day notice.