It’s time for an elected ethics officer in the county

[UPDATED WITH CLARIFICATIONS – 1 DEC] We elect a coroner, an auditor, a clerk of courts, an engineer and a sheriff. But, when it comes to the people who oversee those elections- they are appointed by the political parties- people we don’t elect.

And- for every position, the taxpayers get to pay two people- one Republican and one Democrat- as if this balance of power is somehow going to keep our elections honest.

The problem is that there is no one watching over the hen house- and the hen house is full of foxes, liars and people of limited morality.

If we as voters had a choice, maybe we should be electing a chief ethics officer for the county,  who would  oversee a department that investigates complaint about government employees breaking the rules and to oversee elections to keep things honest.

We need a total housecleaning in the Montgomery County Board of Elections- and the removal of all four current board members, who have chosen to look the other way on so many things it would make your head spin.

But, let’s start with an easy one. Back in 2006 the board set a policy of residency required in Montgomery County to work there – because you have to be a resident to work at the polls. They fired a Chris Heizer appointment who lived in Miami County over it [The fired worker got a job at the Miami County BOE]. Yet, for the last 6 months, Mark Owens, our Clerk of Courts and the Dem Party Chairman, has managed to get his brother, Dave, a job at the BOE despite living in Fairborn- Greene County.

UPDATE

This means Mr. Owens can’t work at the polls or troubleshoot on election day

There is also the question of why Ricky Boyd who was placed in the BOE to do, well, menial work while waiting for his court case to finish on his termination for cause at the Health Department. Conveniently, his case wasn’t resolved until he had his 30 years in, and while “working” at the BOE he was often seen reading the paper- or even caught taking naps in his car. This is in an office where security cameras are  in place to allow the director and deputy director to watch employees to make sure they aren’t doing something like Facebook on the job, and aren’t allowed to listen to MP3 players while doing data entry.

And while we saw a public firing of Tony Tipps for forging a signature on an absentee ballot, we also saw a 3-day suspension handed out to Beverly King who hired her brother, a Tier 3 sex offender, without a job application, and the quiet firing of another employee for sexual harassment, for contacting another employee outside the workplace- despite her discussions in the workplace about the size of a senior employee’s “package” in the office.

And while no laws were broken when the chatterbox took a trip to Miami to bunk with a high-level employee on BOE business, proof was presented  to by the Board- and no action was taken- despite the high-level employee being married and being the direct supervisor of the chatterbox.

Yes, if we had a chief ethics officer in Montgomery County- the “Monarchy of Montgomery County” would be no more- and we’d have a lot less Peyton Place going on, and probably get more for our tax dollars than we’re getting now.

But, since we don’t have an ethics officer, or an investigative journalist at the “Newspaper”- you have me. I apologize for not doing a better job in advance.

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