GREEN Following a four-hour recount at the Summit County Board of Elections, Issue 14 has officially been approved by 26 votes.
Issue 14 will amend the city of Green's charter to allow for the law director to be elected by the people rather than an appointed position by the mayor.
During the recount, Summit County Board of Elections Director Joseph Masich said two additional yes votes were counted to widen the gap the issue passed by from 24 to 26 votes. The final vote tally was 5,634 votes for the issue and 5,608 votes against the issue.
Green has 20 precincts and during the recount two of them were counted by hand and the other 18 by machine.
Following the recount, Citizens for Responsible Green Government, which put the issue on the ballot said Green residents said "no to a DC-style smear campaign and yes to the greatest expansion of Democratic rights since the city’s adoption."
"The voters have rejected the politics of division and inappropriate attack ads directed against the pro-yes Issue 14 committee and myself by the opposition committee, many of whom serve on government boards or work for the mayor," Attorney David Mucklow, who drafted the issue, said. "This behavior is not acceptable. The Citizens for Responsible Green Government Committee has worked extremely hard to obtain the necessary signatures and votes to accomplish this achievement."
Since voters in Green also approved to move the primary election from September to May, voters could vote as early as May for the law director position. For there to be a primary, three or more candidates would need to run for the position. The rules also apply for having a primary for the election of a mayor in the city.
The filing deadline for the May 7 primary is Feb. 6.
"Attorneys with five years of experience who are Green residents are eligible," Mucklow said. "Contrary to the position of the city, the requirement for five-years of municipal experience contained in the Charter is unenforceable due to recent decisions by the Ohio Supreme Court. It is nearly impossible to define 'municipal experience,' and only a few areas of the law are considered specialties."
In a previous statement when the final votes were counted, Residents for Effective Green Government, which opposed the issue, said it was disappointed the issue passed and it is concerned about the potential damage this will do to the effectiveness of the city’s government.
Next year will be a busy election year in Green with the election of the law director, three at-large council seats will be decided and Mayor Gerard Neugebauer will be up for re-election.