Lucas County's Board of Elections twice deadlocked 2-2 along party lines Friday in trying to fill a top information technology job.
The position of information technology manager has been vacant since Michelle Dudley was fired April 3 over accusations of leaving test votes in voting machines during the March 6 primary election.
The information technology manager oversees the "global election management system," or GEMS, which controls the database and ballot layout for touch-screen and paper voting.
The four-member board first voted on Jeffrey Shelnick of Toledo, a former KeyBank employee, on a motion by Democratic board member Keila Cosme. Democrat Ron Rothenbuhler seconded her motion.
GOP board members Tony DeGidio and Jon Stainbrook said they didn't think Mr. Shelnick had enough network or government sector experience and voted no; the two Democrats voted yes. "We need to have somebody right now that can hit the ground running," Mr. DeGidio said. "Mr. Shelnick is very well qualified, but I'm not sure he can hit the ground running in this position. That would create delay and chaos here."
Mr. Rothenbuhler, elections board chairman, said he was confident Mr. Shelnick was the right candidate. He said he liked his "relaxed" demeanor and said his lack of a partisan background counted in his favor. "Certainly time is of the essence" because of the presidential election, Mr. Rothenbuhler said.
Mr. Stainbrook then offered a second candidate: Rick Erel of Maumee, a former employee of the Lucas County Auditor's Office. The board again split 2-2, this time with the two Republicans voting yes and the two Democrats voting no.
The information tech manager's job is considered a Democratic appointment to keep political balance in the office.
Both tie votes will be sent to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to decide or to send them back to the board to reconsider.
The board has deadlocked over personnel before, including the firing of Ms. Dudley. It asked Mr. Husted to intervene but he refused, telling the board to solve its personnel issues. The board ultimately voted to fire her. The position pays a $59,934 annual salary.
The board hired Noel Hahn of Toledo for the vacant position of information technology team leader supervisor. The last person in that job was paid $39,999 a year.
Contact Tom Troy at email@example.com or 419-724-6058.