COLUMBUS - 

State Senator Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) today introduced legislation clarifying the process for filling vacant seats of county officeholders who do not affiliate with a political party.  The bill closes a gap in state law that came to light when a circumstance unfolded in Stark County.  

This legislative action is in response to a vacant Stark County Commissioner seat. In that situation, the County Commissioner was initially elected as a Democrat, but later disaffiliated from the party and eventually won a local mayoral race as an Independent, leaving the County Commissioner seat vacant.  In this specific circumstance, state law is unclear on who has the appointing authority.  

Oelslager explains, “Following the opinion recently released by Attorney General Mike DeWine, this legislation clarifies that the appointment process is dictated by the party affiliation at the time the county officeholder vacates the seat. If the vacating officeholder is unaffiliated – this language directs the County Commissioners to make the appointment. If it is a County Commissioner, the remaining commissioners and the County Prosecuting Attorney, or a majority of them, will make the appointment.  This actually mirrors current law O.R.C. 305.02 (D), as to who appoints and this bill simply clarifies when there is a disaffiliated vacancy.”
  
This legislation clarifies that the appointment process is dictated by the party affiliation or lack of party affiliation at the time the county officeholder vacates the seat. If a county officeholder vacates as a Democrat, the Democrats make the appointment, the same situation if the county officeholder vacates as a Republican, the Republicans get to make the appointment – this is the current practice and this bill will maintain that by adding clarity to the code. This legislation will also make clear that if a County Commissioner vacates as an Independent or vacates as disaffiliated with either party that the appointment will be made by both the remaining County Commissioners and the County Prosecuting Attorney or a majority of them.

“The current statute is ambiguous and conflicting,” Oelslager said. “It is my hope that this small step adds clarity and can assist with ensuring a fair resolution in a timely fashion if one of these unusual situations should ever arise in the future.  We do this by simply adding the words to 305.02(B) and 305.02(D) is not affiliated with a political party at the time the vacancy occurs.” 

 
 
 
  
Featured Posts

Oelslager Applauds New Investments To Combat Heroin Epidemic

 

"Long-term recovery for those struggling with addiction is the ultimate goal," said Oelslager, Chairman of the Ohio Senate Finance Committee, which is charged with crafting the state's operating budget. "Response teams are another layer in the state's comprehensive efforts to combat this epidemic, which is devastating families and communities across Ohio."



 
 

Helping Families Save On Back-to-School Shopping: The Ohio Sales Tax Holiday Is August 4-6

 

Beginning Friday, August 4 and running through Sunday, August 6, families can take advantage of this unique tax-free weekend when purchasing select items.



 
 

Statewide Investment, Local Impact

 

I am proud of this fiscally responsible statewide budget, but I am equally as proud of the positive, direct impact it will have on Stark County.



 
 

Oelslager Appointed To Ohio Tax Expenditure Review Committee

 

"We have worked hard to improve the business climate here in Ohio by enabling job creation through tax relief,"