Cantalamessa to become commissioner, but Trumbull Dems spat continues

By Ed Runyan


An administrative process to certify Enzo Cantalamessa as interim Trumbull County Commissioner was nearly complete as of Wednesday afternoon, which will allow him to be sworn in as early as late this week.

That process involved getting a certification letter from the Trumbull County Democratic Party, which was then forwarded to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, then to Gov. John Kasich, then back to the Ohio Secretary of State.

The completed certification was being mailed to Cantalamessa Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State’s office said.

The controversy over whether the county party’s Central Committee acted legally when it voted in secret to elect Cantalamessa on Saturday continues, however.

On Wednesday, the county party’s chairman, Dan Polivka, said he continues to believe that Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern can’t back up his demands for the county party to hold a new vote to comply with the state and national Democratic Party’s rules.

The state party is removing the county party’s access to reduced-price bulk mailing and access to a database of voters for refusing to vote in public, but Polivka said he doesn’t know yet whether those removals will have a significant impact.

Polivka said he doesn’t believe the state Democratic Party Executive Committee can remove him as chairman in late August, as threatened by Redfern and William Demora, the state party secretary.

Polivka said Demora actually told him he was removed immediately — just after Polivka announced that secret balloting would take place on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Demora released a letter Wednesday relating to the Democratic National Committee’s stance on public voting.

Patrice Taylor, director of party affairs and delegate selection, wrote to Redfern Tuesday, responding to Redfern’s request for clarification, saying public voting has been required by the National Committee’s charter since 1974.

“All meetings of the Democratic National Committee, the Executive Committee and all other official Party committees, commissions and bodies shall be open to the public, and votes shall not be taken by secret ballot,” Taylor said, quoting the charter.

She added, that the national party has interpreted that over the years to apply to “any Party meeting — including state and local central committee meetings and state conventions.”

Demora’s press release attached to the national party letter adds, “The chairman of the Trumbull County Democratic Party has two options: Either he petitions the DNC to change its rules, or he can resign if he cannot enforce them.”

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