Lake County Auditor Compatibility Issues

Written by Brian Massie

[LFC Comments: While trying to attend a JEDD meeting, I saw the Lake County Auditor, Mr. Chris Galloway, at the meeting, and later learned that he is the Chairman of the JEDD board.  This required me to do some research to determine if holding both positions is appropriate. We sent an email to Ms. Rita McMahon, Administrator for the JEDD.  Her responses to our questions are in red.]

*****

Hello, Ms. McMahon:

Upon reviewing the JEDD documents, we have a few questions.
 

1. Are any of the JEDD Board members, administrators, or staff members receiving any compensation, of any kind, for being on the board? If they are, how much has been received by each board member, administrator or staff member for 2019  and 2020?

Ms. McMahon’s Answer: The Board members do not receive any compensation.  As the Administrator I receive a $1000 per month retainer for my services. I received $12,000 in 2019 and have received $7,000 so far this year.   There are no other staff to the JEDD Board. 

 

2. Is the Town Center concept that was voted down by the taxpayers still being considered as part of the JEDD?

Ms. McMahon’s Answer: No Town Center concept was voted down by the taxpayers.

 

3. Did the board even consider hiring any Lake County or Ohio firms before they hired the Alabama firm called NextSite?  

Ms. McMahon’s Answer: The Board looked for several similar entities, however there are none in Ohio.
 

4. We are very concerned that the Lake County Auditor is also the Chairman of the JEDD Board. We believe that Mr. Galloway is violating a 1979 Ohio Attorney General Opinion No. 79-111 since it is physically impossible for one person to discharge the duties of both positions.   Is it the Board’s opinion that Mr. Galloway is not in violation of 79-111?  

Ms. McMahon’s Answer: There is not a violation of Ohio law.  See the attached memorandum from Board Legal Counsel.

[LFC Comment: Here is the link to the memorandum created by Mr. Michael Lucas, Legal Counsel for the  JEDD Board, Concord Township and a couple of other Lake County municipalities]

 
To be totally transparent with you, we will be asking the Lake County Prosecutor for his opinion on this matter.
 
Thank you,

Brian Massie

Lobbyists for Citizens
a 501 (c) (4) Non-Profit
*****
We do not agree with Mr. Lucas’ opinion that there is no violation of Ohio law.  As competent as Mr. Lucas may be, having Mr. Lucas, with his long term relationship with Mr. Galloway, give his opinion on this matter for Mr. Galloway would be akin to asking your Mother to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf to a future employer.  We would be much more impressed if the State had offered their opinion as permitted here: https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/About-AG/Service-Divisions/Opinions
Excerpt from the website:
“As chief law officer of the state, the Ohio Attorney General provides written opinions on legal questions at the request of designated public officials on issues arising in the course of their duties.  The Attorney General’s Office does not prepare opinions for private citizens. [LFC Comment:  This is a huge club, and you aren’t in it] The Opinions Section researches, writes, and prepares for issuance and publication all formal opinions of the Attorney General.”

Here is the 121 page State document dealing with compatibility issues.

compatibility-book-web-site-version-as-of-3-4-20-to-upload-WCAG-passed

Mr. Galloway cannot physically be in two places at one time.  Holding JEDD meetings at the same time the Auditor’s office is open for business is shortchanging the Lake County taxpayers.
We sent an email to the State of Ohio Auditor’s office asking them to look into this matter, but, once again, the State’s bureaucracy is absolutely no help to average citizens.  They stated that they have no jurisdiction, and suggested that we contact the Lake County Prosecutor’s office, the State Attorney General or the Ethics Commission.
Our prior experience with the Ethics Commission told us that we are wasting our time, and it is our opinion that the whole Ethics Commission should be abandoned and the millions in their budget would be better spent on social programs. THEY ARE USELESS!!
We sent the following letter to Mr. Charles Coulson, Lake County Prosecutor.  We will let our readers know what he says about the compatibility issue in question.

LETTER TO PROSECUTOR 7-14-20 (1)

LETTER TO PROSECUTOR 7-14-20 (2)

*****

crystal ball image

[LFC Comments: Let’s look into our crystal ball to see the future, shall we? What do we see???

The image is becoming clearer now…..Yes, we can see that it is Mr. Coulson reading our letter… He has an anguished look distorting his face….oh no, he is grabbing his heart.

He utters: “How dare LFC question an elected official, a fellow Republican to boot…my buddy Chris, and fellow club member Mike Lucas.   After hyperventilating for a few minutes Coulson breaks into an uncontrollable laughter….He is yelling for his assistant, Mikey.  You have got to read this Mikey…LFC is at it again…stirring the pot…they are too much.

Regretfully,  the image is starting to fade, but we hear low murmurs…mere whispers….something about a fox and a hen house, and let’s punt it to the State so they have to take it to court and spend their money…you know the drill….]



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    On Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 7:52 AM Lobbyists for Citizens wrote:

    > Staff Writer posted: “Written by Brian Massie [LFC Comments: While trying > to attend a JEDD meeting, I saw the Lake County Auditor, Mr. Chris > Galloway, at the meeting, and later learned that he is the Chairman of the > JEDD board. This required me to do some research to determi” >

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