The Miami County Board of Elections met in closed session Monday before rescinding a January 2017 vote to fire deputy elections director Eric Morgan. The board then met in another hour-long closed session before voting to terminate his employment again.
The termination of Morgan as deputy director was effective Monday, according to the motion that was unanimously approved.
Morgan filed a lawsuit against the board this January, claiming the board failed to follow legal requirements in meetings to discuss his job and termination and that former board member Dean Tamplin allegedly defamed him in commenting on the board’s reason for the termination.
The effect of the board vote on Morgan’s lawsuit, including issues of pay, remain to be decided, said county Prosecutor Tony Kendell, who was among legal advisers who met with the board. The lawsuit is pending in county Common Pleas Court.
This news organization is seeking comment from Morgan’s attorney and will update this story when it receives one.
The board met in an executive session for 30 minutes Monday before voting to rescind the 2017 vote to remove Morgan, saying that the motion was allegedly “not sufficiently specific.”
It then met in another closed session before hearing details from elections Director Bev Kendall about what led to the initial firing in January 2017.
Kendall said Morgan allegedly violated terms of a workplace romance agreement that was signed with the board in fall 2016. In that agreement he, as deputy director, agreed not to act in a supervisory role with an elections office employee with whom he was involved in a “romantic relationship.”
Kendall said Morgan violated the agreement by directing the employee in the handling of provisional ballot envelopes before the November 2016 election. The action was a violation of the workplace romance agreement signed by both Morgan and the employee, said Chris Englert, assistant county prosecutor.
The election board members have changed since the January 2017 firing. Ryan King of Piqua is the only remaining board member. Previous members were Jose Lopez of West Milton and Dean Tamplin of Tipp City. One seat was vacant at the time with the 2016 retirement of Kelly Gillis of Tipp City.
Current board members are Republicans King and Rob Long of Troy and Democrats Dave Fisher of Bethel Twp. and Audrey Gillespie of Piqua. Morgan was a Democrat.
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