July 06, 2005

Report by David Hickman on Hocking County Meeting and Rally

Rally for Sherole Eaton, Deputy Director of Hocking County Board of Elections

Tuesday. July 5, 2005

By David B. Hickman, Jr.

Logan, OH - Progressive Ohio 2006 Backbone Campaign members drew applause at a demonstration to speak-out against the firing of an elections whistleblower.

Over 30 people gathered to support Sherole Eaton at the town square gazebo across from the Hocking County Courthouse where a Board of Elections (BOE) meeting was later held.

With newspaper and radio reporters present, about 25 people attended the meeting in a small room chosen by BOE officials who maintained a closed agenda that did not allow concerned citizens to discuss issues or ask questions.

Several people were prevented from speaking by Gerald Robinette who repeated the phrase "you're out of order" numerous times. Each member of the BOE spent an inappropriately long amount of time discussing mundane matters.

After patiently waiting, Clifford Arnebeck, attorney for The Alliance for Democracy, interrupted the meeting to serve notice of a Hocking County Common Pleas order issued by Judge Gerken (case # 05CIV247) that stated:

"For good cause shown Defendant Hocking County Board of Elections is hereby ordered to take no action to replace Sherole Eaton as Deputy Director of the Hocking County Board of Elections until further order of this court in this matter."

This marked the moment when BOE officials opened the meeting for discussion and questions

One notable discussion addressed accusations that Lisa Schwartze, BOE Director, violated the law by organizing aspects of a Republican Party "Silent Auction" fundraiser from the BOE office that is supposed to be non-partisan.

Schwartze publically admitted that various people delivered goods for this silent auction to the BOE office. Schwartze also publically admitted to using BOE phones to talk with people related to the silent auction.

Upon hearing Schwartze's admission, concerned citizens called for investigation. Schwartze dismissed accussations as "personal attacks" but was countered by Evan Davis who stated expectations for BOE officials to uphold the law should not be defined as personal attacks.

The BOE voted to table discussion of an investigation until next month and abruptly adjourned the meeting without further discussion or explanation.

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