Democrat Jim Ruvolo and Republican Jonathan Allison reviewed operations at the Lucas County Board of Elections and found numerous problems. They are calling on Secretary of State John Husted to make sweeping changes.
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Sweeping changes could be on the way at the Lucas County Board of Elections. A report delivered to the Ohio Secretary of State is calling for a change in office leadership.
Secretary of State John Husted assigned one Republican and one Democrat to examine how the board of elections operates. Husted says he expects the recommendations in this report to be implemented and it should serve as a final wake-up call to the Lucas County Board of Elections about improving its operations.
"It's one of the worst I've seen in my 20 years of either working elections administration or observing it," said Republican Jonathan Allison.
Allison and Democrat Jim Ruvolo, former Lucas County Elections board member, are recommending the immediate removal of the director and deputy director of the Lucas County Board of Elections. They also are recommending a series of sweeping reforms within the office and how it operates.
Allison and Ruvolo were chosen to review the operations at the Lucas County Board of Elections. Besides recommending the top two elections employees be fired, they are calling for an evaluation of all elections employees, as well as a complete overhaul of policies, procedures and protocols. They suggest having Husted appoint "special masters" to run daily operations until replacements are found.
According to their report, the office runs with complete mistrust and paranoia between the Republican and Democratic workers. They say the office is lacking in accountability when it comes to keeping records and tracking how taxpayer money is spent. They also say organizational and cultural deficiencies need to be corrected.
"I'm not a taxpayer in Lucas County, but I am a taxpayer in Ohio. The fact of the matter is the complete lack of management, fundamentals, policies and procedures are mind-boggling," said Allison. "Voters and taxpayers - at a minimum - ought to know there's a budget being managed. They ought to know records are managed and stored according to state law."
Ruvolo also had negative remarks on the office and its operations.
"No more basic requirement of a government body than to produce a budget, a line item budget, that says: Here's how we're going to spend the money. This board didn't do it," said consultant Ruvolo.
The big question is what will happen if the four-member board does not follow the recommendations of the report.
"We're going to take time to look for a positive response to the conditions they've set upon us and we will take this under advisement," said Board Chairman Ron Rothenbuhler.
Rothenbuhler and board member Jon Stainbrook both say they are working together to improve operations at the local elections office.