Friday, March 14, 2014

Public records raise questions about employee fired by BOE

Gina Kaczala being sworn in as the new
executive director of the Lucas County
Board of Elections. Her first act: fire one
 of the temporary employees in the office.
(Toledo Blade photo)
You might have heard about the recent shake-up in staff at the Lucas County Board of Elections, but you probably didn't know some of the details ... details revealed by a public records request.

The Blade has the story about Republican booth official Melissa Brogan being fired by the new Republican executive director, Gina Kaczala, and Democrat deputy director Dan DeAngelis.

She was a temporary employee, subject to employment "at will," so she could be let go without any cause or reason.

Jon Stainbrook, Lucas County Republican Party Chairman and one of three members of the BOE, strongly objected, as the news story reported:

“The only reason they did it is because they don’t like it, and they don’t like her,” Mr. Stainbrook said. “She did an exemplary job for more than two years and was an intricate part of the election process. They are abusing their new-found authority right off the bat.”

But public records tell a different story.

Brogan's time sheet
According to her time sheets, Brogan reported for work on Monday, Feb. 3rd, at 8:30 a.m. She signed in the time, but then crossed it out and wrote "sick" in the comments.

That's not an unusual event, but that's only part of the story.

On Feb. 5th, nominating petitions for five candidates were turned in to the BOE. The circulator was Melissa Brogan.

In total, she collected 25 signatures on the petitions - all on Feb. 3rd.
One of the petitions
Brogan turned in.

Now, it is conceivable that she gathered these signatures after she was feeling better, but if you're going to take a sick day and then turn in petitions all signed on the day you call off sick, you should expect questions to be raised.

In fact, I'm surprised that no one asked about it at the time the petitions were filed.

 Certainly others in the office would have known she'd gone home sick. At the very least, the director and deputy director should have asked for an explanation.

Perhaps, though, such 'oversights' in managing the staff are what contributed to the Board deciding to fire Meghan Gallagher and replace her with Kaczala? Who knows?

One insider commented that they wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing had been coordinated by Gallagher. But that speculation is probably more indicative of the lack of trust in Gallagher and Stainbrook, than of the truth.

Regardless, the existence of the questionable circumstances definitely belie Stainbrook's comment that she did an "exemplary job."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ohio legislature agrees to four extra snow days

Gongwer is reporting that a conference committee dealing with the House and Senate version of calamity days has agreed to four extra snow days and no teacher in-service requirements.

According to the report, House language was that would have required teachers to go to work for extra professional development as a condition of the extra days was eliminated.

The committee also increased the number of days from the three in the Senate version to four. Schools are still allowed to make up missed days in 30-minute increments added onto regular days.

Final votes in both bodies are expected Wednesday.
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