Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lucas County GOP - Jon Stainbrook's foolishness and dereliction of duty

The executive committee of the Lucas County Republican Party met last night at Mickey Finn's Pub to handle two agenda items:

1. Discussion of whether Anthony J. DeGidio Jr. provided false information to the Executive Committee in order to secure a recommendation to the Lucas County Board of Elections.
2. Retraction of the previous recommendation made to the Ohio Secretary of State for the appointment of Anthony J. DeGidio Jr. to the Lucas County Board of Elections.

Here is a copy of the postcard notice.

In case you're at a loss, here's a quick summary:

* DeGidio used to be an FoS (Friend of Stainbrook) until he disagreed with LCRP Chairman and fellow Board of Elections member Jon Stainbrook over a Secretary of State report that recommended firing close friend (sometimes girlfriend) of Stainbrook, Meghan Gallagher.

* Before DeGidio could actually vote on any firings, Gallagher filed an ethics complaint against him with the local bar association. DeGidio, an attorney, had represented her in an unrelated car accident case.

* With the ethics complaint pending, DeGidio was 'conflicted out' of any discussion and action.

* DeGidio, having failed to support Stainbrook, was now an enemy and the dirt started to fly with Stainbrook trying everything to see what might stick and get DeGidio removed from the board.

Last night's executive committee meeting was the most recent step in that process, though I did expect another hit piece in The Blade as a result.

If you want all the details you can read this post: "Blade bias, Board of Elections and abuse of process"

or otherwise titled:

Everything you didn't want to know about what's going on at the Lucas County Board of Elections

I'm not a member of the executive committee, so I didn't attend the meeting, but I understand that the executive committee did vote and 'unrecommended' DeGidio, though there were some who expressed their disagreement with the action.

What does the 'unrecommendation' mean?

Absolutely nothing.

The executive committee recommends individuals to the Secretary of State, who then has the sole authority to appoint them to the BOE - or not. The SoS has not always followed the recommendations of the local party. Appointees serve a four-year term, unless being appointed to fill a vacancy, then they serve until the end of the term.

Only the SoS can remove an individual from the Board. The fact that the local party chairman has a fellow board member who disagrees with him is NOT a valid reason for removal.

Ah - that's where the dirt comes in. He has a girlfriend who is much younger. He doesn't live in the county (though that issue was resolved, after a BOE hearing, in DeGidio's favor). He has an ethics complaint pending against him - though that is not yet decided.

But, but, but....he disagrees with me, Stainbrook whines. He has to go!

This is the foolishness of what remains of the Lucas County Republican Party under Stainbrook's leadership.

Interestingly, DeGidio (the accused) was not invited to the meeting to present his side of the story - not that he would have gone if he had been, I'm sure.

I reached out to him to ask for a comment. His written reply:

"This is just another example of Jon and Meghan spending their time attacking people that have evidence against them. I really wish they would spend some time doing their jobs at the BOE and the LCRP then we might have a vibrant party instead of a joke with the two jokers in charge."

Violating the LCRP Bylaws

DeGidio wasn't the only one not invited to the executive committee. I understand that several others conveniently didn't get a notice of the meeting, including former LCRP Chairman Patrick Kriner.

Now, Kriner is certainly not a FoS, especially after Stainbrook tried numerous ways to kick Kriner off the BOE when Stainbrook first became party chair. But he is a former chairman and the bylaws of the party clearly state that members of the executive committee include all "LCRP past chairmen who reside in Lucas County."

Kriner, who is also a duly elected member of the central committee, was tired of not being notified so he could attend both meetings, especially the central committee where it is his responsibility, as an elected official, to communicate back to his precinct on the activities of that body. So on Feb. 28th he wrote a letter to Stainbrook, copied Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett, and sent it certified. He wrote:

Dear Chairman Stainbrook,

This letter is written as a request to include me in any and all communications regarding the Central Committee of the Lucas County Republican Party as well as its Executive Committee. I am a duly elected representative to the County's Central Committee from the Sylvania 13 Precinct. And, according to the LCRP By Laws, as a former Chairman residing in Lucas County I am a member of the County Party's Executive Committee. Since my election to the Central Committee during the 2012 Primary Election, I have only received one notice regarding Central Committee meetings. The meeting being the organizational meeting held shortly after the Primary. Since then I have not been informed of any meetings of either the Central Committee or the Executive Committee.

This communication includes my current address, on file with the Board of Elections, and my email address for your use. Please keep me up to date on scheduled meetings.

Kriner got a follow up from Bennett:

Dear Pat,

I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I have spoke (sic) with Jon in regards to this matter and informed him that he may be in violation of the party's bylaws by not informing the entire committee of scheduled meetings.

Please let me know if he does not get in touch with you in the future.

Apparently, Stainbrook didn't heed whatever advice Bennett offered.

Dereliction of Duty

Clearly, failure to follow the party bylaws is a dereliction of his duty as chairman. But that's par for the course for Stainbrook.

However, that's not all.

Rumor has it that the delay in appointing a replacement to fill Judge James Jensen's seat on the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas is due to the failure of the local party to actually screen the applicants.

Jensen was elected in November to the Appeals Court. Six individuals applied to fill the vacancy. The normal process is that the local party screens the candidates and then makes a recommendation to the governor who then appoints the replacement. Sometimes, the party recommends several candidates. The deadline for applications was January 28th.

I was told that Stainbrook informed the candidates they would be screened following the party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner which was on Feb. 21st. This makes sense since it is a major event and primary fundraiser for the party. I can't imagine anyone being upset at letting the party focus on the dinner, though past chairmen have managed to do two things at once. But scheduling a screening after the dinner didn't cause any concern.

However, by March 14th, no screening had been scheduled and a Blade article profiling some of the applicants said:

"Applicants submitted their names to the Lucas County Republican Party, which is expected to screen candidates sometime in the next three weeks, party Chairman Jon Stainbrook said."

That was five weeks ago - and still no word on when the screening will be scheduled.

But the executive committee can meet to "unrecommend" a new enemy of Stainbrook's.

Definitely, this qualifies as a dereliction of duty, and a complete and total disservice to the residents of Lucas County who depend upon a full court to hear their issues.

Stainbrook's failure to perform the necessary duties of chairman while pursuing his own personal vendettas is not new.

He doesn't raise anywhere near the money for the party and its candidates as all previous chairmen have done. And some of the money he raised went not to local candidates, but to his own, personal race for state central committee. At least, that's what the mandatory disclosure on his campaign signs indicated when they said "paid for by the Lucas County Republican Party."

He doesn't field candidates and has said nothing about recruiting and endorsing a candidate for Toledo mayor or council - and the primary is less than five months away! That's not nearly enough time to do a proper job of running for office, I know.

He can't even keep the LCRP webpage current, for goodness sake! As of the publication of this post, it still had the Lincoln Day Dinner as the landing page. That was nearly two months ago!

He doesn't act as a spokesman for Republican principles, rarely - if ever - taking a position on issues or matters in the community. He and his executive committee (probably without many of the actual members present due to lack of notification) even endorsed tax increases!

Many are afraid to even speak privately with him for fear he is secretly recording their conversation and will edit it and use it against them in the future.

He is known for suing fellow Republicans for slights real or imagined (and most believe they are imagined). In fact, a common phrase heard among Republicans in the county is "I wish he spent as much time actually recruiting and supporting candidates as he does on going after fellow Republicans."

He uses the office of Chairman of the party for his own personal advancement and revenge on those he has perceived as enemies. He tries to execute ages-old vendettas against any and all who might have offended him in some way years ago. He definitely holds a grudge and never forgets a slight.

He needs to go, many agree.

But who is willing to stand up and face his onslaught and the vindictiveness of the Blade which continues to support Stainbrook because of his "close, personal relationship" with John Robinson Block, the publisher?

As the Bard wrote so long ago, "aye, there's the rub."

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