Four ousted members of the Lucas County Board of Elections are fighting for their jobs before state officials Thursday.
Last week, after a four-week investigation into "dysfunction" at the board of elections, a state transparency committee recommended to Secretary of State John Husted that board members Tony DeGidio, Ron Rothenbuhler, and Jon Stainbrook be replaced, along with Director Gina Kaczala and Deputy Director Dan DeAngelis.
A former state official appointed by Husted to evaluate the board told the members and director at a hearing Thursday that there was a long list of problems that forced the state to act.
The board has experienced several years of infighting and accusations of wrongdoing. A series of missteps and squabbling earlier this month delayed voting results for hours in the primary election.
Husted sent letters to the five officials on Monday, advising them of his decision to remove them from their positions due to their lack of responsibility to voters. "In Lucas County, the petty infighting, personality conflicts and sloppy administration have gone on long enough," Husted wrote to each official. "I simply cannot jeopardize the integrity of future elections in Lucas County. The citizens and voters deserve better."
Each board official was invited to plead why they should not be removed at a Thursday hearing. On Wednesday, Deputy Director DeAngelis tendered his resignation .
Former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner stated her pleasure that DeAngelis had resigned. "I don't think he was capable, had the right attitude or backbone to take on a leadership role," Brunner said at Thursday's hearing.
In his defense, BOE Chairman Ron Rothenbuler told officials, "I was trying to promote goodwill and not be a dictator." Transparency committee member Jim Ruvolo claimed Rothenbuler was a professional failure after earlier being criticized for having a "lack of urgency" and being "asleep at the wheel."
All evidence and statements made at the hearing will be presented by the committee to Sec. Husted for a final decision.