Board of elections opts to delay in making payment

ST. CLAIRSVILLE The members of the Belmont County Board of Elections found themselves in an peculiar situation during Monday’s regular monthly board meeting.

It’s not often a government-funded group will vote to not pay a bill, but that’s just what the three board members did, albeit temporarily.

The board had purchased dividers off of Dayton Legal, which is now in bankruptcy court.

Dayton Legal obtained the dividers through a vendor and then shipped it to the election board. But when the gentleman who originally produced the dividers sent the election board an invoice directly, seeking payment, the board members were advised not to pay it yet.

“(Belmont County Prosecutor) Chris (Berhalter) said it’s up to the board, but told use that if we pay now, we could end up having to pay it again,” Assistant Director Kelly McCabe explained. “The bankruptcy court could make that ruling.”

Dayton Legal itself has never sent an invoice for the particular order.

“We have a moral responsibility to pay, but my head says we cannot pay Dayton Legal right now,” Board president Frankie Carnes said. “We’re not dealing with our money. It’s the people of Belmont County’s money and he have to be fiscally responsible as we can and ensure we don’t pay twice.”

A motion was made that “regretfully, the board cannot pay this invoice until the outcome of bankruptcy court is determined, or until directed otherwise.”

It passed 3-0.

McCabe noted she also asked Berhalter if the board simply returned the dividers could it still be responsible for also paying an invoice. She was told yes in that instance as well.

  • The board took a moment to reflect on the passing of Congressman Charlie Wilson, who was laid to rest Monday.

“It was a pleasure to know and work with Congressman Wilson,” Board member J. Carl Lehman said, noting that he remembered when Wilson, at his own expense, paid for a busload of his constituents to travel with him to Washington to be present for his swearing-in ceremony.

Carnes also recalled her favorite story about Wilson, remembering when she attended the State of the State address when Wilson served in the Ohio Congress.

She recalled looking down and seeing the expression on Wilson’s face, that he was like a “kid at Christmas” and remarked it was refreshing to see someone so genuinely excited to serve.

  • Director Bill Shubat reported that the Ohio Department of Transportation will be putting up signs along Ohio 7 asking motorists to slow down on election day.

That’s because Martins Ferry’s new polling location, Liberty Automotive Group’s lot, is on the corner of Hanover St. and Ohio 7 and across the highway from the downtown area.

Shubat recently was at the polling site and reported that here soon the parking areas for voters come election day will be marked off as well as the blacktop surface will be smoothed out.

  • Shubat reported that, so far, there are fewer than 1,000 absentee ballots that have been turned in.
  • Shubat is preparing a grant request for Precinct 45 at the Holloway Volunteer Fire Department and Precinct 63 in Mead Township.

Both are for $1,810 for each site, including $1,280 for concrete in order to have a concrete parking pad installed. The election board is responsible for providing the material while each site will provide the labor for the installation.

  • Shubat reported that poll school begin this week and that Monday’s first class went well.

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