Seeking to prevent conflicts of interest, the Washington County commissioners expect to adopt a policy today prohibiting elections office employees from running for elected office.
The commissioners, who also stated they want to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, are seeking to maintain public confidence “throughout the entire elections process,” including voter registration services.
“No current employee from the adoption date of this policy forward shall seek a newly elected position,” according to the policy.
Also, no new staffers will be considered for employment in the elections office while they are running for or serving as an elected official.
One elections office employee, Troy G. Breese, is running to retain his seat on Washington School Board in the Nov. 5 general election.
Because he won a Republican nomination in the May primary before the policy’s adoption, he will be covered by a “grandfather” clause.
“We don’t want to disturb someone’s existing rights,” said J. Lynn DeHaven, Washington County solicitor, indicating that, if elected to school board, Breese could again run for the office. But he could not, for example, run for mayor while a county elections office employee.
Larry Spahr, a longtime Union Township supervisor, retired as Washington County elections director Jan. 31. He lost an election to retain his township supervisor’s seat in 2017.
Melanie Ostrander, Spahr’s successor, said the policy originated with the commissioners.