The Year of Accountability continues apace. In a statement released Thursday Ohio's new Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner, lays out the case against the two remaining Cuyahoga County Board of Elections members.
On Wednesday, The BRAD BLOG reported that Brunner would be personally delivering termination notices to members of the board after she'd sent notice, asking for their resignations, on Monday. That came in the wake of the conviction and sentencing of two county elections works for rigging the 2004 Presidential Recount, and a subsequent, newly announced criminal investigation in the county this week.
One of the two Democrats on the board resigned Wednesday, as requested, and the other resigned Thursday. This leaves Bob Bennett, the state Republican Party chair and chairman of the board in Ohio's most Democratic-leaning county, as well as the board's other Republican member, Sally Florkiewicz. They're the only two remaining hangers-on. And as a witness to Bennett's public statement yesterday described it to us, he was "raving" and succeeded in even shocking many of the Republicans present by blaming everyone but himself for the county's string of failed elections.
Bennett's recalcitrance at leaving has led Brunner to begin spelling out precisely why they are being fired. The list of accusations against the two remaining members will be aired in full during an April 2 hearing and, according to the SoS's statement, includes "numerous instances of misfeasance, nonfeasance and violations of state election law." Among them:
· Failure to manage competently the board's financial affairs.
· Failure to ensure the efficient administration of elections in 2004 through 2006.
· Failure to ensure an acceptable level of performance of voting equipment.
· Election administration in Cuyahoga County has led to a lack of public confidence in elections in the county.
After the April 2 hearing, a report will be issued to Brunner by the appointed hearing officer, William Owen, the first assistant prosecuting attorney of Delaware County. According to the statement, she will then rule on the removal of Bennett and Florkiewicz, as "under state law, the secretary of state may 'summarily remove' board members for cause, upon complaint and hearing."
We'll note again here --- despite the claims of former SoS J. Kenneth Blackwell and other Buckeye State officials in the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential Election disaster in the state who said nothing untoward could happen anywhere in Ohio due to their "bi-partisan elections boards" --- all such board members always served at the pleasure of the SoS. Many of them, therefore, were loath disobey or incur the wrath of Blackwell, who was also state co-chair for Bush/Cheney '04, in light of his horrendous, partisan oversight.
What goes around, comes around, Mr. Bennett. Consider the worm now turned.