I would like to respond to Mr. Coole’s statement regarding the lawsuit filed against the Fayette County Republican Central Committee. I admit I was extremely disappointed in the appointment of our new auditor. I made this statement to the committee on May 11. My recourse was to campaign for Brenda, should she choose to run for the position next year.
After the May committee meeting, I took the initiative to read both Ohio Revised Code sections as well as the Attorney General’s opinion cited in the allegations filed in Common Pleas Court. I also made a point to talk to several elected officials and committee members. I became aware that a member of the executive committee was notified on April 14, the day after the appointment, that the Sunshine Law had been violated.
The committeeman responded, “I don’t want to get involved.” The chairman admitted that he had, in fact, talked to Mike DeWine on April 19 and was told in a telephone conversation that the Sunshine Law had probably been violated. PEOPLE! PEOPLE! PEOPLE! If the Attorney General told me I had broken the law, I would have done whatever it took to remedy the situation as soon as possible. The committee had ample time to call an emergency meeting; publish the required notice stating the purpose of the meeting; and hold a “legal” vote. This could have easily been done by April 26 when the 45-day time limit expired.
Why wasn’t this done and which committee members made the decision to do absolutely nothing? What would the outcome of a new vote have been? If the members were not able to vote in SECRET and had to own their vote, would they have voted the same way? What about those six members who weren’t at the April meeting? How would they have voted?
All of these questions could have been answered had the committee acted responsibly, and there would have been no basis for filing the lawsuit.
Mr. Coole’s analogy concerning the factory worker just doesn’t work here. If an employee starts as a machine operator; gets promoted to foreman; then joins middle management and later becomes vice president, I do believe he should expect to be made the next president. This committee made Mr. Coole the president when he had never set foot in the factory.
No, Mr. Coole, I do not believe I have the right to choose new office holders. Each member of the committee is free to vote for anyone, for whatever reason they feel comfortable. Maybe they don’t like the commissioners; they don’t like Mike Smith; the real estate transfers are late; they don’t like me; or they just don’t like the other nominee. However, I do believe I have the right to insist the committee members making these appointments do so in accordance with the law.
Neither Mike Smith nor myself had anything to do with filing the original complaint. Ms. Ward knows why she filed the suit. My feeling is, the action was filed in direct response to public outcry. I only contacted Ms. Ward and asked to be permitted to join in the action after I made the effort and took the time to learn all the facts.
I do not believe the committee knew they were acting in violation of the law. They, like myself, are elected to their position. We all swear to uphold the laws of Ohio when we take office. My position requires me to know the laws that govern the duties of my office. Apparently this is expecting too much from the committeemen, since they are not paid to serve in this capacity.
When the violation was called to their attention by the Attorney General, the committee should have acted in such a way that would have remedied the situation. Even though they had time to have a DO OVER, they choose to ignore the matter entirely in the hopes it would just go away. This is unacceptable and the reason I felt obligated to join in the court action.