GALLIPOLIS — The Republican Central Committee held a special meeting Tuesday night in order to appoint a Gallia County Auditor to finish the term.
A special meeting was called for Dec. 28, to appoint the auditor position due to the passing of Gallia County Auditor Larry Betz, but members voted, 15-6, to postpone the delegation until a special meeting on Jan. 18 held at the Gallia County Courthouse.
The unexpired term will end March 12, 2023 with the new term beginning the next day.
After a lengthy meeting and speeches from three nominees — Robbie Jacks, Tom White and Terri Short — Jacks received 16 votes, White received two, Short received one and two members abstained.
Jacks was then sworn in by Gallia County Prosecuting Attorney Jason Holdren.
Jacks is currently the director of the Meigs County EMS and 9-1-1 center.
“My commissioners are allowing me to take a leave from there so I can concentrate on the duties of this,” Jacks said.
Jacks said the leave of absence began Jan. 19 and the end will depend on the election results. He said he will be focused on the auditor’s office full-time and in terms of the Meigs County EMS and 9-1-1, he will only be involved if there is something that cannot be handled and staff need to call for assistance.
He said his goal as auditor is to face some of the challenges in the office that have been brought to his attention, including the Board of Revisions, which was mentioned during the meeting.
Jacks said he hopes to continue working with both White and Short who both currently work in the auditor’s office.
“I’m just excited to serve your county,” Jacks said to Ohio Valley Publishing (OVP). “I’m passionate about what goes on in this county. I’ve been very involved for a very long time and my heart is to take the county auditor’s office to the highest level that we can. I want to make the auditor’s office accessible and transparent to the citizens we serve.”
While Jacks has not worked in an auditor’s office before, he said many of his duties as the EMS and 9-1-1 director overlap those of the auditor.
Jacks began work Wednesday and told OVP that the auditor’s office staff have been helpful in helping him get on board with everything.
Inside the meeting
The special meeting began with a roll call of both central and executive committee members, the reading and approval of the Dec. 28 minutes, a prayer followed by the Lord’s prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance with a military salute from Bill Mangus, commander of the Gallipolis VFW Post 4464.
The roll call showed 21 members present, with a majority needing 11 votes.
A motion was made to go into executive session — including the central and executive committees and Holdren — to discuss the process of the night, the central committee was in favor of the motion.
Opening the meeting back up to the public, Committee Chairman Mike Daines, spoke on the meeting being an open meeting, conducting public business and falling under Ohio Sunshine laws. Daines said the organization wanted to be as transparent as possible and offered a printout of the procedure for the evening to central committee members.
“I’ll get ready to read, so everyone in here will understand the process [that] we’re going to do this in and how we will determine who is going to be getting the appointment,” Daines said.
The process was explained as follows: a nomination needs to be made and seconded by a central committee member; a motion needs to be made to close nominations; if more than one person is nominated each nominee will be granted up to five minutes to address the floor — order randomly determined; there will then be an extra five minutes given for central and executive members to ask any clarifying questions — not to be a debate; a motion will then need to be made for a roll call vote with the number present and the number needed for a majority to be verified.
“Before the roll call vote, the chair will verify with the secretary the number of members present and determine the number of votes necessary for a person nominated to receive the majority vote,” Daines said. “Earlier we said there was 21 here, but it’s how many votes. If a member chooses not to vote, then that changes the odds. Just want to clarify that.”
The secretary was then to do a roll call with each member stating their vote; the secretary was then to tally the votes to determine the winner and present it to the chairman and the winner would be sworn in by Holdren. Daines said in the case of a tie, the bylaws say a coin toss would commence.
As the floor opened to nominations, as noted previously in this story, three people were nominated — Jacks, White and Short — and the floor was closed to nominations with all present in favor.
Numbers were drawn to choose the speaking order for the nominees.
Following remarks by nominees, there were no questions asked during the open floor.
As previously reported in this story, Jacks won the majority with 16 votes.
As of 11:45 p.m. on Jan. 19, Robbie Jacks, Kevin Nicholas and Terri Short have filed petitions of candidacy for Gallia County Auditor, according to Chris Burnett, director Gallia County Board of Elections.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.