To the Editor:

I am a registered voter in Athens County. I served on the Athens County Board of Elections for seven years as a board member and board chair. In all of my years of serving on the board, I have never witnessed such criticism of our board from just a few people as we’ve been hearing in recent months.

I have knowledge of how things are handled in the office.

I know that on the staff timesheets, overtime was reported on the first week of the pay period. The instructions to do this came from the county Auditor’s office. This is how the overpayment of overtime occurred. The office received poor guidance that caused the problem on the time sheets.

The issue of family members working at the Board of Elections is a common practice statewide and has been for years. There have been accusations about hiring family members at our BOE. The director’s brother has worked there for seven years, and her husband has worked there four years. Those positions are temporary. The complaint originated from the county Auditor’s office. Isn’t the county Auditor the one who signed the paychecks all these years? Did she just now realize they were related to the BOE director? I don’t think so.

This should have been corrected on the county level instead of a special audit called for by the state Auditor. I have knowledge this has happened in other offices. There was a repayment allowed and no special audit called for. Did you read anything about those overpayments in the papers?

Does someone have it in for the Athens County Board of Elections? The problem started during the General Election in 2018. Do we need to find out what caused a certain office holder to become angry at the BOE all of a sudden?

I am also aware that our county Auditor tried to hold the BOE paychecks two different times. Is it my understanding she was told that was not in her power and it was recommended to pay them.

Have you read one thing referring to anything that was done wrong or incorrectly when it comes to our elections?

It is time for this political bullying to stop. The bipartisan staff and elections board have pulled together. They are being very professional about this.

We have a very important election in Athens County in 2020. This is what our focus should be on.

I am asking for all registered voters to come forward and join me in supporting our Athens County Board of Elections.

Helen Walker

Sycamore Street

Glouster 

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