Miami County’s Board of Elections last week welcome two new Democratic members and heard a recently appointed Republican member would be unable to serve.
In the meantime, the board will have Democratic members Dave Fisher of Bethel Township and Audrey Gillespie of Piqua and Republican member Ryan King, who joined the board in 2016. King also is from Piqua.
The county’s Republicans had appointed Andrew Johnston of Troy as the second Republican board member, but the board was told at its March 3 meeting that Johnston would be unable to serve due to personal reasons.
John “Bud” O’Brien, county Republican chairman, said later March 3 that the Republicans would meet again to make an appointment.
The two Democratic board vacancies came with the year-end retirement of Kelly Gillis of Tipp City and the decision by Dean Tamplin, also of Tipp City, not to seek another board term.
The Republican vacancy came with the end of board member Jose Lopez’s term in February.
The board held its reorganization meeting March 3 with Fisher elected as the chairperson.
The board then reappointed Bev Kendall, a Republican from Troy, as elections director.
Kendall, Fisher and Gillespie received their oaths of office from Gary Nasal, county Municipal Court judge and a former elections board member.
The deputy director’s position remains vacant following the previous board’s vote in late January to terminate Democrat Eric Morgan from the position he had held since 2013.
Board members agreed March 3 to advertise the position in the newspaper and digitally and take applications. They also agreed to not hire for the position until there is a full four-member board.
Gillespie also requested that the new deputy director’s hiring be made by the full board, not the Democrats. The deputy director would be a Democrat because the director now is a Republican to comply with state law requiring the director and deputy director to be from opposite parties.
“I think it needs to be a full board decision. Historically there has been some things done where Democrats handle Democrat hires and Republicans handle Republican hires. In my mind that needs to go away. We all need to work cohesively with all of the staff,” Gillespie said.
Fisher also thanked Tamplin and Lopez for their years of service on the board. The board will meet again Friday, March 10, to take action on items in preparation for the May election.