The Monarchy of Montgomery County

How many “political families” do we have in Dayton that collect tax-dollar supported paychecks? Civil service standards? Whatever. We’ve got a “famiglia” in town that takes care of its workers, it’s called the Montgomery County Democratic Party and its patronage system is what keeps the good “earners” in line.

I can’t do all of this, but, I’m sure with your help, we can start to map out the family tree.

Starting with two of our Dayton City Commissioners:
Nan Whaley who “Served as assistant to Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith from 2001-2005” before getting elected to the Commission virtually unopposed (running in a three way against Lorana M. Kelly). Her boyfriend, who became her husband, Sam Braun also works for Karl. There is also a Terry L. Whaley on the city payroll- but, it could be coincidence and no relation.

Matt Joseph, who worked somewhere in the County building in a similar position, has his brother Russel Joseph working for the Dayton Municipal Courts under Montgomery County Democratic Party Chair, Mark Owens. The name Owens is common enough, but inquiring minds want to know if City employees Charlene or Betty are related to Mark just for giggles.

The city employee list also has a bunch of names on it that are the same- and I’m not just talking “Smith” or “Jones”- right next to Mayor McLin is also “Gary S. McLin” and I have no way of telling if he’s related. Of course Rhine got into politics by being appointed to finish her father’s term in the Statehouse- a policy that should have ended when we declared our independence from the British Crown in 1776.

I’m not sure about the two Lovelaces on the City payroll- Dean is the City Commissioner and Richard D. – well someone will have to verify or deny.
The former VP of the Dem Party is Tom Ritchie, with AFSCME, and who sits on the Board of Elections with former Party chair Dennis Lieberman (his wife is Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman). The BOE pays that board at least $19k a year to meet a few times per month (I believe these figures are correct). The City of Dayton also employs six Ritchies (not sure they are all related), with at least one we definitely know is related and gets a little extra wiggle room when he screws up. Tom the 3rd works for Karl Ketih too.

There is also the son in law of former Mayor McGee, Michael Cromartie and his wife, Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Frances McGee Cromartie to add to the long line of Dayton Royalty.

Montgomery County Clerk of Courts run by Greg Brush, who employs his father in law. Greg’s mother in law works for Steve Harsman at the Board of Elections.

The Board of Elections is a parking lot for the party faithful. These nice paying jobs are staffed entirely down party lines, with one of each- Democrat and Republican. The whole place is a yin-yang maze, totally excluding any third party or any kind of local tie breaker opportunities. If you want to see what totally partisan politics looks like- look no further.

Democrat Board of Elections Supervisor Bev King who is a good friend of Rhine, has her son, David working for Karl Keith as well.

Steve Harsman’s son works for Karl Keith, and so does his ex-wife. Karl seems to employ a lot of the party faithful, including the mayor of Vandalia (a part-time job that apparently allows this kind of double dipping) and Loy’s wife works at the BOE and their daughter was a part-timer this summer. Their son also works for Karl Keith.(updated- he no longer works there). The mayor of New Lebanon, Craig Roberts and New Lebanon city councilwoman Glena Madden also work for Karl Keith.

Judy Dodge, Montgomery County Commissioner, has her daughter at the BOE as well.


Former Ohio Dem Party chair, Paul Tipps has his son Tony at the Board of Elections, his sister works for Jennifer Brunner in the Secretary of State’s office. Tipps is now a lobbyist.

Susan Martin, who is former State Senator Tom Roberts’s sister works at the BOE, and another sister works for Karl, Tom Roberts’s ex-wife Regina Roberts works for the City, and stretching way back, they were caught getting the city to pay to send their daughter to swim camp on the taxpayer’s dime (even though the City had no organized swim teams).

Jefferson Township Trustee Brice Simms has a nephew and daughter working at the Board of Elections too.

Harsman even hired his son’s girlfriend to work for him at the Board of Elections.

Word is State Rep. Clayton Luckie has a whole bunch of people on the public payroll, again hard to verify thanks to name changes by marriage, or aunts, uncles, cousins etc.

Other names that make me go hmmm, are Blackshear as in related to Willis in the County, Dixon as related to Richard Clay who “worked” for the School Board as did his wife while he was mayor (he was caught turning in sick days to the School board while traveling on City Business and only got a slap on the hand).

I’m not a full-time investigative reporter, but considering you have to fill out financial disclosure statements to run for office, shouldn’t you have to fill out a family tree of all the other relatives you have working for the government, just to reveal any possible improprieties?

I don’t mean any harm by exposing these connections, or possible connections, I just feel that the public has a right to know what their tax dollars are being spent on. The City of Dayton is facing some serious hiring challenges in the public safety departments as the DROP program starts to force a lot of veteran police and firemen to retire- and it would be nice to know that you don’t have to be related to a politician to even consider applying for a job.

I’m sure some of these people are absolutely fantastic at what they do, but, I know that there are very few “family” businesses that thrive with second, third and fourth generation leadership. We seem to be full of it in our local government offices.

If you know more- please add in comments. Thank you.

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