10 candidates vie to lead county election board

Current Clark County board member to retire.

Applications began coming in after director Mark Oster announced plans to retire Aug. 31. He has been director since October 2007.

“We’re really going to miss Mark. He’s done an excellent job for the citizens of Clark County,” said Ron Rhine, a board member and Democratic Party chair.man.

Four applicants — Matthew P. Thlachac, David Farrell, Dale A. Henry Sr. and Roberta Ogden— have experience working with boards of elections or the Ohio secretary of state.

Others have a variety of work experience: Pam Upper, a Springfield Masonic Home Community life enrichment activity coordinator; Darrell E. Jackson of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department; Jan Jones, acting executive officer of the Springfield Board of Realtors; Steve Schlather, program coordinator for the Clark County Waste Management District; Debra R. Heckler, a former seasonal tax preparer; and Nancy Brooks, Democratic Party treasurer.

Board members are expected to name the next director June 26.

Oster worked for the county utility department as a service worker and then as an administrative assistant at the Clark County Board of Elections for four months before he was appointed director by former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.

Brunner broke the board’s four-member tie, which was split down party lines, according to News-Sun archives.

Oster’s current salary is $52,800, according to the Clark County Auditor’s Office.

Rhine said the next director must be a Democrat because the outgoing director is a Democrat. The director also must establish a residence in Clark County 30 days before taking the position.

He also said applicants don’t need experience as a board of elections director.

“We’re looking for a combination of things. That’s a very important job because they are dealing with the voters of Clark County,” Rhine said. “We want a person who is able to talk to the voters and treat them with respect. We also want them to have some kind of contact with the board of elections.”

Oster said experience with the board of elections could help the new director, but is not needed.

“Like with any job, you have to be willing to put the work and time in,” Oster said.

Thlachac of London is the deputy director of the Madison County Board of Elections. Farrell is a former deputy assistant Secretary of State and director of election in the elections division and is also a former Clark County Board of Elections board member.

Henry is a former regional liaison for the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State, and Ogden is the current principal clerk for the Clark County Board of Elections.

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