Board of Elections increases deputy director’s hours

By Kyle Shaner -

SIDNEY – The Shelby County Board of Elections authorized Deputy Director Collin Claywell to work an additional five hours a week during its Feb. 16 board meeting.

With Clerk Trina Reithman on leave and a requirement to implement directives from Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the Board of Elections needed to increase staffing, Chairman Jim Kerg said. Claywell offered to work an additional five hours a week indefinitely, bringing his weekly total to 37.5.

“Short of hiring temporary help, which we don’t have any budget for, I don’t see how we accomplish what we need to accomplish without asking one or more of the staff members to expand their amount of time,” Kerg said.

Claywell received a pay adjustment to reflect his additional workload, which was effective the week of Feb. 15. The board voted 3-0 to approve the change, with board member Jim Thompson absent from the meeting.

Kerg said he remains concerned about the Board of Elections’ 2021 appropriations from the county and intends to meet with the commissioners in March to further express his concerns.

“We still have some issues to resolve with the county commissioners on our budget,” he said. “We see some serious staffing level capabilities that we’re presently limited under the current budget.

“It’s not a critical matter at this moment in time, but as the year progresses we will have some issues that need to be resolved in order for us to accomplish the objectives we’re required to accomplish from the Secretary of State’s Office under the Ohio Revised Code.”

The Secretary of State’s Office has released directives for changes to the election official manual that the Board of Elections will have to implement.

Issues for the May 2021 special election were certified with two issues to appear on ballots. The first issue is an earned income tax levy for the Sidney City School District, and the second is a property tax levy for the Houston Ambulance District. Twenty-two of the county’s 35 precincts will be open for the May special election.

Following a precinct election official post-election survey, an action plan was developed to respond to issues experienced during the 2020 general election, Claywell said. The plan outlined suggested improvements in three key areas, training, election day operations, and supplies distribution and returns.

The Board of Elections will create a new position of polling location supervisor for the May special election. One supervisor will oversee the Lehman Catholic polling location, and one will oversee the Shelby County Fairgrounds polling location. They will address questions and concerns at the polling locations and act as intermediaries between the board staff and poll workers.

The board authorized spending Help America Vote Act grant funds for a project that includes pothole repair, curb removal, sealcoating and restriping of the east parking lot at a total cost of $1,225. The commissioners previously accepted a bid from Superior Seal Coating Cleaning, LCC, for the project.

Three fire code compliance issues were discovered during inspections of the board office and facilities. Staff members are working with the county maintenance department to resolve the issues prior to the next fire inspection in mid-March.

Director Pam Kerrigan and Claywell were asked to delegate among themselves and outline their duties and responsibilities per guidelines specified in the election official manual.

Thompson is working on a business continuity plan to address emergency preparedness and facilities continuity in the instance of disruption. The plan is mandatory as a result of the Ohio Secretary of State becoming a division of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

A projection system was installed at the Board of Elections office. The system will be used to project presentations, attend webinars, facilitate poll worker training and other board purposes.

Quarterly staff performance feedback and communications meetings between the board and staff will be conducted.

A reorganization meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 6. The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 15.

By Kyle Shaner

Reach the writer at or 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at or 937-538-4824.