GOP chair appointed to elections board

After three roll call votes, the Seneca County Republican Executive Committee voted to recommend David Koehl as the new member of the Board of Elections at the committee meeting Saturday.

The recommendation is to be taken to the Secretary of State, who then may approve the recommendation to the board.

Janet Leahy resigned from her position on the board earlier this month. She started her new term about a month ago and previously serviced 24 years with the board.

Her resignation letter to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said she was concerned with the direction the board was moving, along with having her suggestions discounted by the board.

Koehl, chairman of the Republican executive committee, said he was concerned with the instability of the board and he promised fix the problems that exist.

He said with his experience in the community, he has learned how to deal with all types of people and will use those skills to communicate and fix the issues within the board.

He also said he would stand up for the recommendations and wishes of the committee to the Board of Elections.

Mike Bridinger, Paulette Miller and Kent Nord also ran for the position.

Along with Leahy’s resignation came the resignation of both Board of Elections clerks. Friday, Lorrie Wolfelt and Jennifer Lee, Democratic and Republican clerks respectively, turned in their resignations effective May 2.

In Wolfelt’s letter to the board, she said her core values were not aligned with the direction of the board and considered the environment hostile.

She said Saturday the Board of Elections was a great place to work and she planned on retiring from the board.

Board member Jim Fruth said much like Leahy’s resignation, Lee and Wolfelt did not discuss their resignation with the board.

He said it was sudden and he questioned their motivations.

Board member Mary Puffenberger also said she questioned their loyalty, as their resignation came just prior to the May 6 primary election. She said Wolfelt made no attempts to discuss with board members or members of the Democratic Party regarding issues she had with the board.

Puffenberger said she was confident the election will run smoothly.

Board of Elections chairman Charles Knight said the resignations came at the worst possible time and that the situation was unfortunate.

Deputy Director Jim Ehrman had no comment. Attempts to contact Director Karl Erbland and Lee were unsuccessful.

The committee is to host a Candidates Night Potluck at 6 p.m. April 30 in the Junior Fair Building at the Seneca County Fairgrounds. The committee also is to complete its business meeting during the potluck.