Putnam election board settles dispute, names new deputy director

The Putnam County Board of Elections has ended its feud over the appointment of a deputy director, voting today to name a new officer.

Chairman Virigina Price said the board voted 3-to-1 to name Rebecca Hermiller, a Republican, as the new deputy director. Hermiller replaces fellow Republican Shelly Burkhart. Burkhart has served as the board’s deputy director since January 2009.

The dispute over the appointment of both the director and deputy director began March 5, as the board attempted to reorganize. Republican board members Price and Tom Jerwers favored replacing both Burkhart, and Karen Lammers, a Democrat, who has served as director since October 2008.

Price said the elections board, which includes three recently-appointment members, needs to appoint its own, new directors. However, Democrat Anthony Wobler accused both Price and Tom Jerwers, another Republican board member, of holding grudges and acting on misinformation.

In September, Husted appointed both Wobler and Democrat Carla Tooman to the board to finish the unexpired terms of Ann Dillinger and Martin Kuhlman. Dillinger and Kuhlman were removed from the board in 2013 by Husted after they were found to have violated Ohio’s open meeting laws.

On March 11, the board reappointed Lammers as director in a 3-to-1 vote, with Price dissenting. However, there was no decision made on the deputy director, and an appeal was made to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to settle the dispute.

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