We thank one of our Lobbyists for permission to publish the response received from Commissioner John Hamercheck on the question of Commissioner Troy’s appointment to the Board of Revisions. Here is his response:
Thank you for reaching out to me for clarification on this very important issue. I regret the delay in getting back to you. I was in Columbus yesterday working on the County Commissioners Association’s legislative platform. This morning, I had an early a.m. meeting at the office followed by a quick meeting with Prosecutor Coulson to get his blessing to fully and completely fill you in on what I know is going on with this issue. After that, we had a graded drill for the Perry Nuclear Power Plant with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that just finished up(wow, that was a lot to type).
Like you, when this was first introduced to me, I was somewhat taken aback and felt compelled to look into it. I first sought guidance from existing Ohio Attorney General opinions as well as Ohio Ethics Commission Advisory opinions. Unfortunately, neither had anything that would be instructive on this issue. We (the three Commissioners), along with staff, had an informational meeting with Prosecutor Coulson to discuss the law behind the Board of Revisions as well as alternates. We were advised that the way the statute reads that an alternate is an employee of the County and their compensation is also set by statute. So in the instant situation, Commissioner Troy was appointed to the Board of Revisions. Commissioner Troy appointed an alternate to serve on the Board in his absence, and by statute the alternate is considered an employee of the County with compensation set by statute. Prosecutor Coulson agreed based on his research and that of his staff that there were no Ohio Attorney General opinions or Ohio Ethics Commission Advisory opinions for guidance on this issue.
With that background information out of the way, I will try to address your questions in order. Commissioner Troy’s alternate was done so openly and not secretly. Once appointed, she became an employee with part-time status (I would also add she is receiving no other benefits). I believe she is a long time girlfriend, but I do not have specifics on that. I believe she has held the position for at least two years. Prosecutor Coulson speaking academically did not indicate that any laws, either civil or criminal, have been violated. The Ethics Commission does not have any Advisory opinions that would prohibit the appointment in question. Dan Troy’s alternate is not actually employed by Dan Troy, but by Lake Country through the Board of Revisions by statutory requirement.
Now, with all that stated, you can image I was still not satisfied until I looked into whether or not she was performing her position. I have been assured that she is not only performing her position, she has exceeded expectations and has served the community fairly and equitably. I have pointedly asked if anyone felt pressured to work with her, and I have been consistently told no, she is a pleasure to work with. Additionally, I was advised that the Board of Revisions appreciates consistency by maintaining qualified members and not having to retrain new people on a revolving door basis.
Hopefully this addresses your concerns. If you would like additional information or have other questions, please let me know, and I will look into getting you answers.
(LFC Comment: It is our opinion, that Commissioner Hamercheck “went to the plate, and whiffed three times”. We have to put a big “K” next to his name. For those that have never kept score of the baseball game, that metaphor means Hamercheck struck out – some would say with the bases loaded in the ninth inning of the last game of the World Series. Commissioner Hamercheck fails to understand that most taxpayers do not want even the perception of Commissioners doing something wrong.. Why make the appointment if it cast any doubt on your motives.?……….the problem is that everyone knew what was going on but were afraid to say something to a man with a great deal of power – and that applies to both sides of the aisle.)
“Don’t worry Dan, it’s not too heavy”