Betras to again ask to be appointed to elections board

By David Skolnick


Rejected three months ago for a seat on the Mahoning County Board of Elections by the Ohio secretary of state, who had called him “not competent” to serve, county Democratic Chairman David Betras will ask again to be appointed.

Betras confirmed to The Vindicator on Wednesday that he’ll seek the recommendation of the party’s executive committee for the elections-board seat. He declined further comment.

The party’s executive committee will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at party headquarters to recommend Betras for a four-year term on the board of elections.

When asked Wednesday about Betras, Matt McClellan, spokesman for Secretary of State Jon Husted, said, “We’ll wait and see who is selected by the party, and then we’ll go from there.”

The committee recommended Betras for the job Sept. 17. But Husted, a Republican, decided Sept. 29 to reject the recommendation, writing in a scathing letter, that Betras’ “wrongful conduct” as treasurer for ex-Attorney General Marc Dann’s transition account in late 2006 made the chairman not qualified for the elections board seat.

Betras was never investigated for any criminal wrongdoing with Dann’s transition account. Dann was convicted of two misdemeanor ethics crimes, including one related to the transition account, on May 7, 2010.

Betras met Oct. 7 with Husted in an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to convince the secretary to reconsider his decision. But Betras said at the time the meeting was productive and that he “provided irrefutable proof that I did nothing wrong.”

At that meeting, Betras withdrew his name from consideration and Husted rescinded the letter.

Betras was seeking to fill Michael Morley’s unexpired term on the board that ends Feb. 29.

Betras asked the party’s executive committee to appoint George Beelen, a retired Youngstown State University history professor and former 12-year Austintown trustee, to be confirmed for the unexpired term. The committee complied Oct. 7, and Husted approved the recommendation.

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