The Lucas County Board of Elections officially resumes business today, with plans to elect a chairman and get a pep talk from Jon Husted, Ohio’s secretary of state.
The new board members are Republicans Mark Wagoner, Sr., an Ottawa Hills lawyer, and retired state judge Peter Handwork of Sylvania Township; and Democrat Brenda Hill of Toledo, a retired teacher and former Toledo Board of Education member.
Continuing board member John Irish, a Democrat, said he’s prepared to nominate Ms. Hill to be the chairman, which is the second item on the board’s agenda, after Mr. Husted’s remarks.
“I think it’s good to have a fresh face at the top, and she provides that for us,” Mr. Irish said. He noted that Ms. Hill served as president of the Toledo Board of Education, so she has experience running meetings of official bodies. A Democratic board chairman is likely because the board’s top staff position is held by a Republican, Gina Kaczala, who is the interim director.
Ms. Hill was president of the school board during 2013, the last year of her term. She did not seek re-election that year.
The elections board has been in limbo since June 5, when Mr. Husted fired three board members and put the fourth, Mr. Irish, on suspension until the new board members were sworn in. The three who were terminated were Republicans Jon Stainbrook and Tony DeGidio and Democrat Ron Rothenbuhler. Mr. Husted said at the time that he took those actions because the long-running “dysfunction” of the elections board had to come to an end.
The special meeting is set for 12:30 p.m. in Government Center.
Matt McClellan, a spokesman for Mr. Husted, did not indicate what topics Mr. Husted would address.
The new members took the oath of office last week and received a training session from secretary of state staffers on Thursday.
Mr. Husted, who is a Republican on the ballot for re-election this year, is at odds with the Lucas County Republican Party over the appointments. The local party is appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court to overturn the appointments of Mr. Handwork and Mr. Wagoner. The party, headed by Mr. Stainbrook, contends that Mr. Husted was required by state law to accept the two nominees offered by the party’s executive committee.
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