The group that had hoped to ask voters in November to remake Lorain County government isn’t planning to appeal the decision by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to invalidate petitions.
Earlier this month, Husted rendered a decision granting the protest filed by Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans and County Recorder Judy Nedwick, saying “the proposal does not meet the requirements for a charter initiative given requirements of the Ohio Constitution and the jurisprudence surrounding it.”
Former Lorain County Commissioner Dave Moore, a Republican leader of the effort, said the group likely won’t appeal the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.
“We’ve talked about it, and it didn’t sound like we’re going to do it,” Moore said. “Now we’re just kind of debating whether or not to try again.”
This year was the second time in two years that Husted struck down a proposed county government charter from being placed on the ballot for voters to decide.
After Husted invalidated the petitions last year because of language in the charter, the group had legal counsel pore over the document. When the group submitted the petitions and the charter to the Board of Elections this year, it thought there was no way it would be struck down a second time.
Moore said the group was “blindsided” by Husted’s decision.
Moore said Husted shot it down because of a recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court. Trying to appeal the decision that was based on a ruling by the state’s highest court seemed futile, Moore said.
“If we appeal it, basically the thing is this: The Supreme Court’s decision is messed up,” Moore said. “We have to spend a lot of money to go before the Supreme Court to go against their decision. Basically, we’d have to fix the Supreme Court’s decision. Why should Lorain County money fix the Columbus issue?”
Moore said some in Columbus have told him the group would have a 20 percent chance of getting the court to reverse the decision.
The plan would have replaced the current three county commissioners with a seven-member council elected from districts across the county.
The plan also would have turned several jobs that are elected by voters, such as county recorder, coroner and treasurer, into appointed positions. Other positions, such as county prosecutor, sheriff and auditor, would have remained independently elected offices.
Additionally, the plan called for the creation of a county executive who would have been appointed by the proposed county council.
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