Government job- no posting required?

I sat on this story until after the election, alluding to it in my post on November 3rd. The election process wouldn’t have been well served had this news been made before the election. But, it’s time to stop making excuses for people serving the public trust- and it’s time to bring accountability to our county.

While one reader chastised me as a Democratic Precinct Captain as endorsing Republicans for County Office and State Rep- it’s because the current rulers of the Monarchy of Montgomery County aren’t fit for office. How can we have a constant stream of “woops” without a single firing up until now- and the only person fired was an easy target who should never have been hired in the first place?

Read the story from the DDN- which left out the part about Ms. King also securing a patronage job for her brother:

A temporary worker who has a 2008 felony conviction for rape was fired Oct. 28 by Montgomery County Board of Elections Director Steve Harsman, who acknowledged he hired the relative of one of his supervisors without requiring an application from the man.

Jimmy Fitzgerald Anderson, 45, began work as part of the voter registration crew on Sept. 27.

He was recommended for the job by his sister, Beverly King, supervisor of registration. Harsman said King knew of Anderson’s felony conviction in California but did not mention it to Harsman…

Temporary workers are not subject to background checks, but if Anderson had filled out a job application he would have been required to say if he had a felony conviction.

Had Harsman known of the conviction, he said he would not have hired Anderson…

Anderson is registered with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office as a Tier III sex offender, having been convicted of rape by force or fear in San Diego County…

Harsman and King are registered Democrats.

Anderson, who registered on Sept. 26 to vote in Montgomery County did not name a party…

The board of elections hires equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans.

Jobs are not posted. Typically, they are filled through recommendations from employees, county party members and from the pool of previous temporary workers, Harsman said.

He said people typically are required to fill out job applications for regular and temporary jobs. The county’s 1,500 poll workers — who also must be hired in equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans — do not fill out applications or go through background checks. The law prohibits felons from being pollworkers and Harsman said he construes that to also mean that board employees also cannot have felony convictions.

He said the situation with Anderson will result in the board looking at its hiring policies and possibly consider expanding background checks.

Harsman said Deputy Director Betty Smith, a Republican, had all 12 of her temporary hires fill out applications.

But through an oversight, Harsman said the 12 Democrats he hired were not asked for applications this time. Harsman said in the rush to prepare for the election he did not realize the new hires had not filled out the proper paperwork.

“I take full responsibility,” Harsman said.

via Elections board fires convicted sex offender.

Harsman is saying he takes “full responsibility”- yet, this is really just another black mark on our Democratic Party “leadership” which thinks it’s perfectly OK to hire friends and family for every position available.

It’s time to set up an independent panel to evaluate every hire of a relative or friend of the political class in the county. No more hiring of the deputy sheriff’s sister as an appraiser, the husband of a city commissioner as a glorified clerk, the son of the head of public works as a gopher, the brother of….

Proof must be shown that every one of these positions was fairly posted and competed for. Anyone who has hired friends and family without posting a job competitively should be fired and fined.

Government jobs, funded with our tax dollars require a higher level of trust and responsibility than a private sector job- yet this has proven, time and time again, not to be the case.

Harsman and King should both be fired immediately. The Democratic representatives to the Board of Elections, former party chair and former vice chairmen, Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, should both resign for supporting an obviously incompetent director. County Administrator Deb Feldman has once again shown that anything goes in her administration- and that the County Building is run more like a frat house than a public office.

If we hope to see any change in how things get done in the region, we at least need to follow the basic rules of hiring and accountability.

If the locals can’t take care of this- maybe it’s time for the Feds to investigate, like they did in Cuyahoga County, where the whole system of government was restructured due to the same kind of malarkey.

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24 Responses

  1. truddick November 5, 2010 / 6:47 am
    They must hire equal numbers of democrats and republicans.  How many Independents, Libertarians, Greens, Natural Laws, Constitutions, and Socialists do they have to hire?
  2. David Esrati November 5, 2010 / 8:13 am

    @truddick- zero. Part of the problem.

  3. Ice Bandit November 5, 2010 / 10:01 am
    I sat on this story until after the election, alluding to it in my post on November 3rd. The election process wouldn’t have been well served had this news been made before the election. (David Esrati)
    ….and why, is the electoral process not served by information even if it is damning to your own party? For a guy who prides his ability to scoop  the DDN your admitted self-censorship smacks of partisan cover-up. Newsweek spiked the Monica Lewinsky story, and it made them look like partisan hacks in the service of the White House…….
  4. David Esrati November 5, 2010 / 10:29 am

    @ICeBandit- because we still needed people to focus on distributing and counting ballots-

    the witch hunt could wait. The people we elect don’t pick the people at the BOE.


  5. Bob VL November 5, 2010 / 12:02 pm
    Good Expose David! 
    Put the blame spot on –where it belongs !
    IF  “They must hire equal numbers of democrats and republicans.”
    …albeit, the Democrats certainly have abused their privelege here .
  6. Curious suzie November 5, 2010 / 1:17 pm
    Why is this Beverly lady not on administrative leave? The paper made it sound like she was still at work. They didnt say she was. This is interesting. In the private sector this lady would have been immediately dismissed. What a joke! I have friends who work at the county building who are totally freaked out about this. The board of elections is definitely the most hated department at the county building right now.
  7. djw November 5, 2010 / 3:50 pm
    This post is helpful as it gives me some context for your endorsement of Republican candidates last week. I’ll admit this seems pretty bad, and I’m willing to believe the Montgumery County Democratic party is in desperate need of significant leadership turnover, and voting against Democrats for local offices might be justified on that basis.

    But how, exactly, does this story justify a vote against Strahorn? How is sending someone to Columbus who’ll make it easier rather than harder for Kasich to pass crappy legislation going to fix the corruption of Montgumery county? Even if Strahorn had lost a close election, a very seriously doubt that’s the lesson they’d take. And you do seem to imply that Stahorn is implicated in this mess, since you suggest this story hepls to explain your endorsements. What is the nature of his association with the “the current rulers of the Monarchy of Montgomery County” that their bad behavior and incompetence justifies withdrawing support for him?

  8. David Esrati November 5, 2010 / 5:04 pm

    @DJW- that Strahorn allowed his picture on the front of a mailing- that ignored Federal Candidates- means he is in it for himself first- the party second.

    I’m tired of excuses. I’m tired of job hopping politicians. I’m tired of people who think the rules don’t apply to them.

    @ Curious Suzi- Bev still has her job as of 3pm today.

  9. bobby November 5, 2010 / 11:22 pm
    @ Curious Suzi,  “I am very disappointed in Beverly for her recommendation,” said Harlan.  This indictment is as strong as twenty lashes with a wet noodle, My expectation is she will receive the same rigorous investigation as Reverend Trammel, then continue working as though it didn’t happen.  This is business as usual in Montgomery County with the current politicians. 
  10. Ice Bandit November 6, 2010 / 8:24 am
    “because we still needed people to focus on distributing and counting ballots- the witch hunt could wait.”
    (David Esrati’s explanation for suppressing the story about felons in the employ of the BOE)
    Sorry David, but your excuse for sitting on a story with possible public safety implications was judged “unusually lame” by the Ohio Bureau of Rationalization. The question, dear David, is would you have practiced similar due diligence had the folks hiring sex offenders been Republicans?………
  11. David Esrati November 6, 2010 / 8:31 am

    @ice- he had been fired by the time I knew. I found out on the first. The day before the election.

    I didn’t have all my details until the day after the election- I’m not a full time journalist.

    Do you really want me to publish things that I can’t verify- and might get me sued? Thanks buddy.

    Maybe you want to start making donations to the “Esrati new project” to fund the time I’d have to spend in addition to what I already spend- to do my due diligence and school the DDN on how it’s done.

    I figure about $35K a year for starters.

  12. Ice Bandit November 6, 2010 / 9:43 am
    Do you really want me to publish things that I can’t verify- and might get me sued? (David Esrati)
    No, dear David. The Old Bandito’s two middle names are “Sympathy” and “Empathy.” The Old Bandito knows full well the frustration of having information of significant import with the inability to share it, even in whispers, because of lack of confirmation. And no, nobody wants you to do things that gets you involved in the can’t-win world of cops, courtrooms, lawyers and judges. Besides, you may develop a Martyr Comlex and grow fond of the experience…….
  13. Jen Alexander November 7, 2010 / 6:15 pm
    SOS Brunner Employee Code of Ethics
    All it takes is a simple emailed public request of records to the BOE requesting documentation of each classified ad they placed in the DDN over the last 5 yrs for employment openings. Also requesting a list of all current & past employees for the last 5 yrs with start & finish dates…including & most importantly…TEMP hires (as those are the ones most commonly hired to work at hectic election times & to have the most access to items of the highest “security” interest…like machine warehouse & transport staff.  The BOE’s get away with hell, because no one ask the right questions & even when stories like this are shared with the public, rarely are they held accountable.
  14. Drake November 10, 2010 / 8:48 am
    Hiring criminals at the Board of Elections? I’m schocked! How about the Head of the Absentee Dept. Carolyn Clark has DUI’s , hit skip, and drug charges. And that is just in Miamisburg Ct. She has been caught drinking at work and it was ignored.

    How about they only work 35 hours a week and get paid for 40. How about the two top dogs at the BOE make 100’000 plus OT with no Master Dregee or a 6 yr degree. Heck Doctors don’t make that much! Why are we paying TWO people $100,000 a year that one could do for  $50,000 a year job?

  15. David Esrati November 10, 2010 / 12:37 pm

    So there is a Carolyn M Clark in some trouble at Miamisburg courts:

    DOB 2/8/1965 There are also some court issues in Montgomery County PRO System.

    I agree that we seem to have a very expensive BOE dominated by patronage jobs from the two parties-

    however, I’m not a paid journalist- and can’t give this proper digging into- I gave it to the DDN- we’ll see what they do.

  16. Jennifer Alexander November 10, 2010 / 12:57 pm
    This is something I use to try and keep up with, being the watch dog of the Montgomery & Greene County BOE’s & board members. I have yrs worth of detailed info & have spent many hours with an election rights group from Columbus touring the Montgomery BOE & speaking with both Steve & Betty at length there. Years worth of public records request as well…this subject hasn’t even been scratched at. The big story is the Ohio Association of Election Officials (OAEO) and their lobbyist. The $ that has been spent, in tax $ from the county to cover each BOE employee & BOARD member in just dues for each of their memberships & then travel expenses to go to these “training” wine & dine events is gross over the years, to meet with the different election company vendors & be influenced & bought by the lobbyist…we’re paying, to teach them, how get our elections more screwed up & bought. (I was diagnosed with brain & spine lesions for MS, recently, or else I would personally pursue this on Dave…but thank you for the forum to share, with the hope someone or the DDN  will finally look into the bad behavior & business at not only Montgomery BOE, but all Ohio BOE’s)
  17. Bob VL November 10, 2010 / 2:18 pm
    OK These officials MUST be helpd accountable !  Same with the Lobbysists !
    @ Jennifer – keep up the great work, due dilligence – adn the heat up! 
    Keep shining the light on these PUBLIC issues …
    @David – THE DDN!?!? 
    Seriously – someone down there SHOULD be on this like a flapjack on a griddle!?
    Thanks you .
  18. Bunner November 18, 2010 / 8:13 pm
    Jennifer is on to something! The money spent at the conferances are criminal! They all go to Columbus quartly and party like its their JOB! Liquor and high prices dinnes are the norm. All on the tax dollar! CHA-CHING! I heard on year they took a lino to a Dave Matthews concert all arranged by Harsman. He also gets to take FREE vactions to conferances to every vaction city in the USA. SF-VEGAS- MIAMI-LA to name a few. He even got to take his secratary to one of his Conferance/vactions, I’m sure alot of work was done on that trip? The real kicker is both the Director and Dep. director take family members with them while attending these so called conferances. No problem, take the wife/husband and kids, the county can afford it! WTF is going on? Does anybody care anymore that thes two are ripping the tax payers off?
  19. Jennifer Alexander December 1, 2010 / 2:29 pm
    I use to have several yrs of public records request (handed them over to my election protection group in Columbus) (but still very easily obtained from the BOE  with a request) detailing the expenditures of the different associations that the county was forking the bill for memberships & dues to & all the travel involved. It was sick! It was also sick how many employees they felt the need to have memberships for & to travel to some of this stuff, compared to other counties that only covered of few different group memberships & only for the director & deputy director….not down to part time employees.
    The very worst of the memberships & involvement with the OEAO…even though we the taxpayers are footing the bill for the locals to be members…they will not disclose any info about their organization publicly. I firmly feel  this is against Ohio Sunshine Laws…I pay from the damn group…I should be able to request a copy of what they do behind their closed door “training sessions” and what vendors or lobbyist are present. The only way to get to the bottom of what has been going on the BOE’s & cleaning house is to properly investigate the trail of history with the purchase of the DRE’s, of the 2004 election ballots that are still being Federal Court Order held & secured in Columbus and getting all 88 counties on the same page of procedures & being held accountable for their wrong doings….and going to ALL paper ballots that are verifiable… until then, we will always have 88 different elections on each election day…that will continue to be questioned. I personally watched in a Dayton polling location…votes flipping from Chema to Turner in 2006…..that were eventually blamed on machines that needed to be “re-calibrated, due to the bumpy ride during transport”….sorry but, my paper ballot isn’t going to change my vote, if I drop it on the floor & jump on it repeatedly, prior to putting it in the locked ballot bag….nor will it change…yrs later in properly secured & maintained storage until it is SOS approved to be approved for destruction, after it is deemed that nothing is in question with that election.

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