Board of Election answers….when is choice just an illusion?

We received a telephone call, from an affable Dale Fellows, addressing our previous post about the Board of Elections.  He is the current leader of the  Lake County Republican Party and one of four appointees to the Board of Elections.  He stated that he did not mind that this conversation is “on the record”.  We also received emails from Ross McDonald, Director of the Lake County Board of Elections, and Mike Matas, Lake County Finance Director,  confirming the compensation and benefits received by the four appointees to the Board of Elections.

We have not heard at all from ANYONE in the Democrat Party, and we welcome their input.  As we have said before, we are apolitical and non-partisan on issues.

The Board of Elections operates under the Ohio Revised Code 3501.06 –  (LFC Comment: If anyone has read the Ohio Revised Code, they realize it can be a bit convoluted, and sections can be superseded by other sections. It is in English – but barely comprehensible by the average citizen)

Dale Fellows and David A. Vitaz are appointed to the Elections Board  by the Lake County Republican Party Executive Committee.  Thomas A. Tagliamonte and Robert G. Schiebli are appointed by the Lake County Democratic Party Executive Committee.

The four appointed board members get paid $15,915.12 per year, and they hold monthly meetings. [$15,915.12 / 12 = $1,326.26 per meeting]  All four members receive life insurance.  However, only Thomas Tagliamonte and David Vitaz have health coverage.  The total cost to the taxpayers for of all the fringe benefits is $2,591.12 per month.  We can therefore say that the four appointees to the Board of Elections cost the Lake County taxpayers $94,753.92 annually. [($15,915.12 x 4) + ($2,591.12 x 12) = $94,753.92]

Fellows believes that appointing the board members is a better alternative rather than electing the board members. In his opinion, the citizens will get better qualified board members with appointees. He reminded me that the Election Board members in Broward County, Florida were elected by the citizens; the policy of having equal representation of the two major parties ensures that elections are fair, honest, and transparent.  (LFC Comment: We are assuming that his point is that by appointing someone currently involved in the daily politics is better than electing a citizen that may not have the experience in the election process). 

We have been told that there is an effort by the State to ensure that all minor parties (those that get a small percentage of the votes) have representation on the ballot.  (LFC Comment: The Libertarian party may take issue with that statement)

(LFC Comment: Unfortunately, a great deal of the Lake County taxpayers, the independents and those with other party affiliations,  are not represented with our current system of using appointed officials. We support the need for greater representation, and not just accepting that the ‘party bosses’ are looking out for the best interests of the taxpayers.)

Regarding the issue with the political parties paying for the primary election of their candidates, it would not happen because of the costs.  It cost approximately $1,000 -$1,500 per precinct to place an issue on the ballot.  It would mean that the political parties would by-pass the electorate and select their own candidates by a vote of their precinct representatives, and that individual would then appear on the ballot in the general election.

(LFC Comment: Some would argue that without the financial backing of the party it is VERY difficult for candidates to mount a serious campaign against an entrenched party favorite or incumbent – so in many cases the primaries are merely formalities;  the voters are led to believe that they have a choice, when, in reality, it is just another illusion foisted on the uninformed taxpayer.)

Fellows  does not know if the political parties at the National level are corporations, but the local Lake County Republican party is not a corporation.  (LFC Comment: we still need to find out what type of entity they are)

(LFC Comment: We discovered this in document provided to us by the Board of Elections): Compensation for county commissioners along with other elected and appointed officials was included in the state fiscal year 2016-2017 budget bill (HB 64 of the 131st General Assembly).

Board of elections’ members also receive 5 percent increases in 2016 and 2017. Pursuant to ORC Section 3501.12, members of boards of elections are deemed to be appointed and not elected, and therefore not subject to Section 20 of Article II of the Ohio Constitution. Thus, they are able to receive the increases during those calendar years

Categories: Board of Elections, Lake County


1 reply

  1. I don’t know about the assumption. Why would we assume that electing folks to these positions would bring unqualified folks into the election process? When Becky Lynch was elected County Recorder, she traveled to Columbus for intense training and education about the duties and responsibility of her office. She’s one smart cookie and was totally prepared during her campaign and did a bang up job in the debate…I believe the training was really more about the logistics of the position, the code, etc. but you’d have to ask Becky. Becky Lynch has done a GREAT job as Lake County Recorder thus far and has saved the taxpayers money. Like Recorder training and other training for newly elected county officials, I’m assuming there is some training and education given to the appointees if they are new to the position. If they were to be elected…same thing. How long have these appointed folks been in these positions, i.e. how many times have these folks been re-appointed by their party? Why on earth do we let fear and even some self-loathing (the people in D.C. and elsewhere in government and party are way smarter than the electorate…right?). The ORC dictates these things…I will have to read that section of the code…duties are likely contained therein. Great read.


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