Vacancy in Office…who fills the void?

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We have been asked how vacancies in several elected offices are filled.  Here are the Ohio Revised Code sections that deal with an auditor, township trustee, and judge.

For those pressed for time here is the “CliffNotes” verison:

County Office  – the local Party’s central committee will appoint someone for the remainder of the term of office.

Township Office –  the board of township trustees shall appoint a person having the qualifications of an elector to fill such vacancy for the unexpired term or until a successor is elected.

Judge – the vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the governor.

(LFC Comment: We do not think we are going out to far on a limb with this prediction.  The political party of the group authorized to make the appointment will usually appoint a person of the same party.  It just works that way. The needs of the taxpayer, or qualifications of the position are secondary.)

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For those that want to read the entire text of the Ohio Revised Code dealing with filling the vacancies……keep reading….

O.R.C. Section 305.02 – Vacancy in county offices filled by election or appointment.

(A) If a vacancy in the office of county commissioner, prosecuting attorney, county auditor, county treasurer, clerk of the court of common pleas, sheriff, county recorder, county engineer, or coroner occurs more than forty days before the next general election for state and county officers, a successor shall be elected at such election for the unexpired term unless such term expires within one year immediately following the date of such general election.

In either event, the vacancy shall be filled as provided in this section and the appointee shall hold office until a successor is elected and qualified.

(B) If a vacancy occurs from any cause in any of the offices named in division (A) of this section, the county central committee of the political party that nominated the last occupant of the office as a candidate for that office for the current term shall appoint a person to hold the office and to perform the duties thereof until a successor is elected and has qualified, except that if such vacancy occurs because of the death, resignation, or inability to take the office of an officer-elect whose term has not yet begun, an appointment to take such office at the beginning of the term shall be made by the central committee of the political party that nominated the officer-elect as a candidate for that office for that term.

(LFC Comment: Lake County just experienced this with the resignation of the former Auditor and the appointment of Mr. Chris Galloway, the current Concord Township trustee to the Lake County Auditor’s position.)

(C) Not less than five nor more than forty-five days after a vacancy occurs, the county central committee shall meet for the purpose of making an appointment under this section. Not less than four days before the date of such meeting the chairperson or secretary of such central committee shall send by first class mail to every member of such central committee a written notice which shall state the time and place of such meeting and the purpose thereof. A majority of the members of the central committee present at such meeting may make the appointment.

(D) If the last occupant of the office or the officer-elect was elected to serve the current term as an independent candidate, the board of county commissioners shall make such appointment at the time when the vacancy occurs, except where the vacancy is in the office of county commissioner, in which case the prosecuting attorney and the remaining commissioners or a majority of them shall make the appointment.

(E) Appointments made under this section shall be certified by the appointing county central committee or by the board of county commissioners to the county board of elections and to the secretary of state, and the persons so appointed and certified shall be entitled to all remuneration provided by law for the offices to which they are appointed.

(F) The board of county commissioners may appoint a person to hold any of the offices named in division (A) of this section as an acting officer and to perform the duties thereof between the occurrence of the vacancy and the time when the officer appointed by the central committee qualifies and takes the office.

(G) A person appointed prosecuting attorney or assistant prosecuting attorney shall give bond and take the oath of office prescribed by section 309.03 of the Revised Code for the prosecuting attorney.

O.R.C. Section 503.24 – Vacancy in township office.

If there is a vacancy by reason of the nonacceptance, death, or removal of a person chosen to an office in any township at the regular election, or if there is a vacancy from any other cause, the board of township trustees shall appoint a person having the qualifications of an elector to fill such vacancy for the unexpired term or until a successor is elected.

If a township is without a board or if no appointment is made within thirty days after the occurrence of a vacancy, a majority of the persons designated as the committee of five on the last-filed nominating petition of the township officer whose vacancy is to be filled who are residents of the township shall appoint a person having the qualifications of an elector to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term or until a successor is elected. If at least three of the committee members who are residents of the township cannot be found, or if that number of such members fails to make an appointment within ten days after the thirty-day period in which the board of township trustees is authorized to make an appointment, then the presiding probate judge of the county shall appoint a suitable person having the qualifications of an elector in the township to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term or until a successor is elected.

If a vacancy occurs in a township elective office more than forty days before the next general election for municipal and township officers a successor shall be chosen at that election to fill the unexpired term, provided the term does not expire within one year from the day of the election. If the term expires within one year from the day of the next general election for municipal and township officers, a successor appointed pursuant to this section shall serve out the unexpired term.

(LFC Comments: With the appointment of Mr. Chris Galloway to the Auditor’s office, it leaves a vacancy in the Concord Township’s Trustee position.  Someone will have to be appointed to the current term that expires 12/31/21.  With a Democrat (Malchesky) and a Republican (Luhte) in the other Trustee positions it will be interesting to see which party will prevail with the new appointment.

We had three Republican commissioners appoint a Democrat (Malchesky) to the Morley library board, so it will be interesting to see the dynamics of the Galloway replacement take place.

On second thought, maybe the party affiliation is irrelevant if they are both “singing from the same song sheet”.  What’s the difference if neither party believes in the sovereignty of the United States.  They will be “judged by their fruits”!!)

O.R.C. Section 107.08 – Filling vacancy in office of judge.

The office of a judge is vacant at the expiration of the term of the incumbent when no person has been elected as the judge’s successor. The vacancy shall be filled by appointment by the governor. If the appointment is to a court of appeals, court of common pleas, or municipal court, the clerk of the court shall give written notice to the board of elections responsible for conducting elections for that court of the name of the appointee. A successor shall be elected for the unexpired term at the first general election for the office that occurs more than forty days after the vacancy occurs.

 



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