Official says Jenkins can run for board

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2005

ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP - She has her rights to run.

A local elections official and a lawyer for a state agency said a former Rock Hill School board member is entitled to run in the Nov. 8 school board election and may indeed take her seat if the voters say she can.

Last month, Wanda Jenkins and two fellow board members, Lavetta Sites and Paul R. Johnson, were removed from the board in a lawsuit.

Email newsletter signup

Jenkins is in a unique situation: The lawsuit verdict was handed down as she was seeking re-election, just weeks before voters will to go to the polls.

&#8220Yes, she can run,” Lawrence County Board of Elections Director Mary Wipert said. &#8220She was not convicted of anything. It was a lawsuit.

She is not a felon. This (lawsuit) did not take her off the ballot.

She is on the ballot and her votes will be counted.”

Rick Dickinson, general counsel for the Ohio School Boards Association, said he also saw nothing to preclude any of the three people from seeking office in the future.

&#8220It's an interesting issue,” Dickinson said. &#8220Off the top of my head, if I had to say, I would assume the verdict pertained to the office and term to which they were elected. If there is nothing in the judgment entry, and I didn't see anything, I wouldn't see what would preclude them from running again.”

Jenkins said some people do seem confused about the situation and have questioned her while she has been campaigning.

&#8220I had one man say he had taken my sign out of his yard and I asked him why,” Jenkins said. &#8220And he said, ‘Well, they told me you couldn't run for the board'. I told him, ‘Yes, I can run.' It's upsetting. I am campaigning and I'm working hard.”

Wipert said Jenkins, Sites and Johnson could have been precluded from seeking re election only if the final judgment entry in the lawsuit specifically stipulated they could not run again.

According to a spokeswoman for Meigs County Common Pleas Judge Fred Crow, who was appointed visiting judge in the case, the judgment entry does not at all address the issue of whether they may or may not seek re election.

Wipert said whether Jenkins gets her seat back is a questions for the voters - it is their right as citizens.

&#8220If the people elect her again, it is their right,” Wipert said. &#8220You can not take away the voter's right. They can put her on the board and take her off if they want to and put her back on again.”