Fired Miami County elections director sues to get back pay, job

The fired director of the Miami County Board of Elections filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Board of Elections and members Dave Fisher and Robert Long individually claiming the board violated the public meetings law when it fired her in January and the members defamed her by blaming her for votes that weren't counted last November.

Beverly Kendall of Troy filed the complaint in Common Pleas Court against the board, Fisher of Bethel Twp. and Long of Troy. Kendall seeks an order finding the board's action violated the open meetings act and asks for job reinstatement along with compensatory and punitive damages of more than $25,000 each.

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Kendall was fired Jan. 22 by a 3-1 vote following public disclosure that more than 6,000 in-person votes in the election went uncounted until a discrepancy was discovered by the Secretary of State's Office in December. The votes were counted later and did not affect the outcome of any race or issue.

Kendall claims the board violated the open meetings law by asking her in an executive session to resign or she would be terminated. The lawsuit alleges the board illegally made the decision to fire her before returning to public meeting, where a vote was taken.

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She alleges she was defamed by Fisher and Long who said during the January meeting that the election error "fell squarely on (her) shoulders" and they had lost confidence in her ability to do her job. Kendall claimed the statements were false and that the Secretary of State said the board failed to provide proper training and to maintain policies and procedures for properly conducting an election. Long and Fisher said they had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment.

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