BOE chooses replacement for deputy director

Published 9:11 am Tuesday, December 20, 2011


A poll worker with more than a decade of election experience is the choice of the county board of elections to become the acting deputy director of the elections office.

At its December meeting on Monday the board unanimously approved naming Toni Stevens to replace Eric Bradshaw, who has gone on sick leave, while awaiting approval of disability retirement.

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However Stevens’ appointment is pending a decision from the county prosecutor’s office on whether it is in violation of the Ohio Ethics Law.

Stevens, who has been a poll worker for 13 years, has been working in the board office since the fall on a part-time basis. She is Bradshaw’s daughter.

The board sought advice from the Secretary of State on whether this decision would be in violation, Mark McCown reported to the board.

“They didn’t believe it is a problem because Eric had not participated in any of the discussions,” McCown said. “(The matter) is referred to the prosecutor’s office to confirm (if) the secretary of state is in accordance with the Ohio Ethics Law.”

Bradshaw informed the board Monday via a letter that he was taking his remaining sick leave days and then going on leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act. That act allows certain employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave.

Since Bradshaw has yet to vacate the position, the board cannot hire a replacement.

In mid-November a committee comprised of Craig Allen, board chair, and McCown interviewed six candidates who had applied for Bradshaw’s job using a standardized format provided by the Secretary of State.

“Toni Stevens was the top scoring candidate as far as election experience,” McCown said. “Nobody else had that vast experience.”

This fall Bradshaw, who has been with the elections’ office for six years, applied for a disability retirement, but the date of his leaving has not been finalized pending approval from the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.

The deputy director must be a Democrat since the director, Cathy Overbeck, is a Republican. There are also two assistants in the office, representing each political party.

The deputy director is second in command in charge of day-to-day operations.

Currently Stevens remains classified as a part-time office worker at $11 an hour with no benefits. Bradshaw’s salary is $50,715.

The BOE is made up of two Democrats — McCown and Allen and two Republicans — Freddie Hayes and Carl Lilly.

At the first of the year the Republican Central Committee will choose a successor to Lilly, who is not running again for the board. Right now Ironton attorney Randy Lambert and Harriet Scragg, chair of the central committee, want the seat.

This is the second time for Scragg of Proctorville, who tried for a board seat in 2010 when longtime board member Bob Griffith did not seek another term. Scragg lost to Hayes by four votes.

“You need someone with experience,” Scragg said. “I don’t think we the people are getting a fair shake. We want free, honest elections.”

Lambert, who ran for state representative in the 1980s, cites litigation work done for other boards of election as qualifications for the post.

“I have experience with the laws and procedures of the board of elections,” Lambert said. “The Democrats have two attorneys as board members. The Republican party should have at least one attorney.”