Meigs Home Rule files lawsuit against commission

By Lindsay Kriz - [email protected]

POMEROY — A writ of mandamus was filed by the Meigs County Home Rule Committee on Monday morning.

Members of the committee are listed as Paul K. Strauss, Gregory D. Howard, Dennis Jay Sargent, Kathy Lynn Sargent and Marsha Nagy Whitton. According to the documents, the mandamus asks the Meigs County Commissioners to certify the petition that was brought to the Board of Elections in a timely manner.

According to a legal definition, a mandamus is “a writ or order from a court or superior jurisdiction that commands an inferior tribunal, corporation or municipal corporation, or individual to perform, or refrain from performing, a particular act, the performance or omission of which is required by law as an obligation.”

The filing comes after a July 14 special meeting in which the commissioners took no action regarding the petition initiative from the committee.

According to Meigs County Commissioner Randy Smith, the motion died during the July 14 meeting because the Board of Elections was to provide the commissioners a certification of both the signatures and the validity of the petition itself, along with a report. This information was to be delivered to the commissioners no later than 120 days before the general election, which would’ve been July 6. Smith said that on July 2, the commissioners received a letter from Director Becky Johnston and Deputy Director Meghan Lee. The letter told the commissioners that the petition had been filed with the Meigs County Board of Elections on June 24, and that at least 567 signatures (the minimum required amount) on the petition were valid.

However, according to Ohio Revised Code 307.95, the Board of Elections, and not the deputy director and director, must send the certifications and report to the commissioners. Smith said a letter was sent back the same day, July 2, to inform the Board of Elections of this.

According to the commissioners and the Meigs County Home Rule Committee, the Board of Elections had a special meeting July 13 and sent the commissioners the certifications and report the same day. From there, the commissioners had until 4 p.m. July 15 to pass a resolution for the petition. During their 11 a.m. July 14 meeting, the motion died for lack of a second because the Board of Elections turned in their certifications and report to the commissioners a week after it was due, which would have been July 6 — 120 days before the general election, according to the Ohio Revised Code.

The mandamus states on page three that all three commissioners are being “sued in their official capacities.”

Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.

By Lindsay Kriz

[email protected]