The new SOP at the BOE and the SOS to hide from the public

by David Esrati on April 18, 2013

in Dayton Government, Dayton's flawed petition process, Open Meeting laws

Apparently, I did something wrong when I recorded my conversation with Montgomery County Board of Elections director Steve Harsman- because now, I’m getting punished. No matter who I call to talk to, the call gets routed to Harsman. There seems to be a directive against speaking to me. I wasn’t recording the call on Wednesday when I was following up on an email request I sent to Denis Aslinger in campaign finance for a fresh copy of the voter database, but Harsman came online and told me that all my requests had to be via a “formal public records request” and would be handled in the order they are received.

What used to be a same day turn-around is now a several day wait.

This is flagrant politicization of office, discrimination and further indication that Harsman and company are unfit for office.

Ohio doesn’t require that you notify someone that the conversation is being taped- as long as one party knows, it’s legal.

Furthermore, I have multiple sources that confirm that party endorsed candidates’ petitions are checked in advance by BOE employees before turn-in. Had Mr. Pace had the same courtesy, he would have been on the ballot, as would many others before him. It’s time to fully investigate the politicization of the Board of Elections, especially in this nonpartisan election.

If I don’t see a csv file in my email tomorrow, the next step will be evaluated and pursued.

One other note, in public records requests over the William Pace denial from the ballot, an internal email (below) from Kery Gray, who works for the City Commission and is a Nan Whaley campaign minion, clearly shows that Gray knew in advance of my questioning about the lack of an agenda for the illegal BOE meeting where Pace was ruled off the ballot, that Pace had problems:

From:Gray, Kery
Sent:Wednesday, March 13,20131:45 PM
To:Leitzell, Gary; Leitzell, Gary
Cc:’HarsmanS@mcohio.org’
Subject:Dave Esratl Phone Call

At about 8:45, Dave Esrati called and left a message for Mayor Leitzell and I saying “BOE meeting today@ 4:00 they
(BOE) won’t provide agenda.” BOE is Board of Elections.
I returned his call 11:00 ish and left a message as he was out. I also called Steve Harsman who indicated that they had
publicly declared the meeting and produced an agenda, and that he believed Mr. Esrati’s Issue was a dissatisfaction with
the specificity of the agenda.
About 1:00, Mr. Esrati called me back and he said that the City Charter states the City runs its election (which we do by
contracting with BOE) and that the agenda ought to have the results as they are best known on it so that interested
parties could determine If they wanted to attend the meeting. He cannot attend the 4:00 meeting because he is
celebrating his father’s birthday. He indicated that Mr. Harsman said they were doing third counts of signatures; Mr.
Esrati believes that the first and second counts must indicate something and those results should be on the agenda or
available to the public. Mr. Esrati also thought that If the Mayor wants to know the results ahead of time, he should be
able to know them ahead of time.
I agreed to share his thoughts with the Mayor and Mr. Harsman. Between the three of us, I assume that BOE does not
want to present tentative results and the third count is a step in determining the Board’s decision. This is my own
thought, based on what I know about election procedures and is not based on a conversation with Mr. Harsman.
I indicated to Mr. Esratl that if Mr. Harsman provides additional information to Mayor Leitzell and the Mayor shares it
with me, I would share it with him.
Finishing the conversation, Mr. Esrati and I had a brief pleasant conversation about restaurants.
I don’t think there is really anything to do about this. Mr. Esrati seems mostly to be unhappy that the agenda does not
reflect what he thinks it should reflect.
Kery Gray
Executive Assistant to the City Commission
City of Dayton
101 W. Third Street
Second Floor
Dayton, OH 45402

Note, on March 8, 2013 Gray was cc’d on a memo from Law Director Danish to Harsman:

March 8. 2013
Mr. Steven P Harsman. Deputy Director
Board of Elections
14 West Fourth Street
Dayton. OH 45402
RE: Petitions for City of Dayton Candidates
Dear Mr. Harsman.

You requested an opinion March 4. 2013. with regard to petitions for election to the office of
Mayor of the City of Dayton. Specifically, you ask, pursuant to the Dayton Charter, 1) whether a
candidate may notarize the affidavit of a petition circulator and 2) whether a candidate must sign
and accept the candidacy on each petition subm1tted…

There is no requirement that a candidate accept the candidacy as part of the nominating papers. A candidate
is permitted to either file his or her acceptance on n separate instrument with the Board of
Elections or as part of the nominating papers, so long as it is filed timely. Accordingly, it is the
opinion of the Law Department that a candidate is not required to sign and accept the candidacy
on each petition submitted.

Gray was in full knowledge at the time of my call that Pace’s petitions had problems and that there may be good reason for him to attend the meeting of the BOE. Had Gray disclosed this to me, or to the public in general, Pace would have had time to submit his acceptance of candidacy.

The question is, do you want civil servants that actually serve you? Or serve the political system in Montgomery County- dedicated to keeping those in power, in power?

 

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Funkenstein April 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Next time you speak with Dir. Hairsman submit a public request for travel expenses racked up he and Betty Smith since 2006.  Take a look at CERA conference expenses.  I had a source that knew what to look for in the BOE expense files and told me Smith racked up $18,000 or so in her first full year there.  Unless policy has changed they can rack up huge expenses on food and other items for themselves and family members on trips.  They are abusing travel funds as much as they are scamming overtime pay.

Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

Bone April 23, 2013 at 8:52 pm

How about the Secretary Of State Conferences where they don’t need to turn in itemized expense reports and use the money for eating at expensive steak houses like Morton’s and all night drinking parties at local bars.  Be sure to check the expense reports of dinners at the Japanese Steak House ( a Hairsman favorite ) I’m sure thousands of dollars have been spent there under Hairsman’s leadership paid by the tax dollars of Montgomery County. I’m sure one of Hairman’s visually challenged girlfriends are going to the conference, room and drinks paid by Montgomery County tax dollars. Good work if you know the right people! 

Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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