By Daniel Karell
GEORGETOWN — The Brown County Board of Elections isn’t the only body in turmoil in the county.
At a specially called meeting, the Democratic Central Committee voted unanimously that they had no confidence in central committee Chairman Dallas Hurt, according to several central committee members. The central committee members said they would like to expel Hurt from his position as chairman and to ask Hurt to resign his seat on the Board of Elections.
Hurt declined to comment when contacted for this story.
According to central committee member Don Thomas, the central committee did not take too kindly to Hurt’s leadership and his actions on the Board of Elections, including not being in favor of re-hiring Kathy Jones to be the Board of Elections director.
Thomas said that the central committee plans on removing Hurt from his position at their next scheduled meeting, whether at a specially scheduled meeting on Friday, September 25 or at their Democratic Party dinner on Thursday, October 8.
“Everything we do will be done by a roll call vote because we want to know exactly how people feel and we want to encourage more participation from Democrats,” Thomas said.
Thomas also hinted that they could look into adopting a measure in the central committee that states if a committee member misses three consecutive meetings, they’re removed from their position.
Thomas was one of three Democratic central committee members and another Democrat who is active in the party who attended the most recent Board of Elections meeting on Friday, September 11. Joining Thomas was central committee members James Castle and Duke Snyder, as well as Carol Myers.
The quartet expressed their misgivings with Hurt during regular session at the Board of Elections meeting, asking why Hurt refused to re-hire Jones to be director and generally disagreeing with Hurt’s decisions as a board member.
Earlier in the Board of Elections meeting, Hurt confusingly nominated Jones for the director position only to vote against Jones when it came up to a vote. Hurt explained his reasoning by stating that because Jones had left the position twice in the past year, he didn’t feel that she really wanted the position and it was time to look for a new director.
The timing of the Democratic central committee turmoil couldn’t have come at a worse time for the party, and the Board of Elections. With Republican Moriah Votel remaining as chairwoman of the Board of Elections, the director of the board must be a Democrat. However, Democrats Hurt and Jo Ann Kattine can’t come to an agreement on who should be the next director.
At the September 11 board meeting, Hurt later nominated former Georgetown News Democrat editor and Georgetown Village Councilman Steve Triplett while Kattine nominated former Brown County Commissioner and current Emergency Response Coordinator with the Brown County Health Department, Margery Paeltz. Both nominations failed to gain second motions of approval, which meant the original motions were unsuccessful.
As of press time, the Board of Elections hadn’t interviewed any of the applicants for the position.
Another interesting twist to the Board of Elections was the nomination from the Republican Central Committee of former Republican Party Chairman Paul Hall. On Tuesday, Votel confirmed that Hall’s nomination to fill Bill Herdman’s seat on the Board of Elections had been approved by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
With Hall on board, the Board of Elections are now back to a full four members, and perhaps can return to business as usual.
Reach Daniel Karell at 937-378-6161. Follow him on Twitter @GNDKarell