The Lucas County Board of Elections voted Wednesday to give new Democratic Director LaVera Scott a raise and to instruct new independent Deputy Director Theresa Gabriel to report to Ms. Scott.
The board voted 3-0 to give Ms. Scott a $5,000 raise, increasing her salary from $94,934 to $99,934, said Republican board Chairman Dr. Bruce Saferin.
Board members decided to increase her salary because of her “knowledge and her skill and her ability, and that she is moving into the director’s position,” Dr. Saferin said.
Ms. Scott was promoted to the director’s position last week in a board of elections shake-up. Ms. Gabriel, a member of Toledo City Council, was made the deputy director, after Republican Director Gina Kaczala’s contract was not renewed.
Ms. Gabriel is expected to resign from council.
The board also voted to instruct Ms. Gabriel to report to Ms. Scott, a move Dr. Saferin opposed, with the two Democrats supporting.
Dr. Saferin said he does not believe the move meets state requirements, although Democratic board member Joshua Hughes said he knows of no restriction against placing the director in charge of the deputy, and said the board’s legal counsel also raised no objection.
Mr. Hughes said he proposed the change because Ms. Gabriel has no experience working with the board of elections, while Ms. Scott has about two decades of experience, and he did not think it right to keep them on equal footing. He had proposed a reduction in Ms. Gabriel’s pay from $94,934 to $83,874.70 — Ms. Scott’s salary in 2014 when she was made deputy director — but the move was blocked by Dr. Saferin.
“My concern was, we would have the director of the board of elections with almost two decades of experience ... on equal footing with someone with zero days of experience, making the same amount of money,” Mr. Hughes said.
James Hartley, a Republican board member, did not vote because he was suspended March 28 for his alleged failure to respond to a request for information, as well as for trying to fire Ms. Kaczala last August and for nominating Lucas County GOP Chairman Jon Stainbrook as director.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Tuesday that a hearing in the suspension will take place at 9 a.m. Friday in Columbus. Mark Landes, a partner at the law firm Isaac Wiles, will preside and make recommendations to Mr. Husted about what, if any, action is warranted. Mr. Husted will make a final decision.
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