New Carlisle Council seat settled by two votes after lengthy recount

Published: Thursday, November 30, 2017 @ 4:08 PM

Clark County Board of Elections recount ballots from the New Carlisle city council race.

Ronald Cobb won the third and final open seat on the New Carlisle City Council by just two votes after a lengthy hand recount was held by the Clark County Board of Elections.

RELATED: New Carlisle city council race could go to a recount

Cobb finished with 432 votes, beating challenger Chris Shamy (430 votes) after a nearly five-hour meeting on Thursday at the Springview Government Center.

“It was a close tally,” Cobb said. “I hate to see Chris Shamy lose, but somebody’s got to. He fought a good battle. Now, I’ll go back and make the city stand up for what they’re supposed to. We’ll get the trust of the citizens back, and we’ll go from there.”

Unofficial results from Nov. 7 showed Shamy beating Cobb by six votes. That margin narrowed to one vote after provisional and remaining absentee ballots were counted. The tight margin — less than one-half percent — triggered an automatic recount.

New Carlisle city council candidates (left) Ronald Cobb and Chris Shamy watch as Clark County Board of Election workers hand count ballots from the November election. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Incumbent Aaron Leighty and challenger William Cook also won two open seats with 34 percent and 24 percent of the vote, respectively.

MORE: Election 2017: 4 candidates vie for 3 New Carlisle council seats

Nearly 500 provisional and postmarked absentee ballots were counted on Nov. 20, Clark County Board of Elections Director Jason Baker said, which saw Cobb (431 votes) take a one-vote lead over Shamy (430 votes).

An amended official recount was held before the recount because 35 provisional ballots weren’t counted due to issues with the ballots coming back with stubs not being attached, Baker said. The ballots were not initially counted, but after consulting with state and local officials, staff decided to count the ballots, he said.

The ballots added to the amended count gave Cobb 432 votes and Shamy 431 votes, Baker said.

After a series of hand counts didn’t match machine totals in one precinct, all precincts were required to be hand-counted to determine the winner.

Cobb is a longtime resident, and Shamy has lived in New Carlisle for the past 12 years. Both were first-time candidates. City council members serve four-year terms and earn about $4,800 annually.

Despite the loss, Shamy plans to run again, he said.

“I’ll be back in four years,” Shamy said.


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With no deal on shutdown, GOP accuses Sherrod Brown of flip-flop

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 3:23 PM

            WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 18: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Congress is working to avoid a government shutdown ahead of a midnight Friday deadline. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
            Aaron P. Bernstein
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 18: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. Congress is working to avoid a government shutdown ahead of a midnight Friday deadline. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)(Aaron P. Bernstein)

As a possible shutdown grew nearer on Friday, Republicans took aim at Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, accusing him of a flip-flop over a temporary measure to keep the government open for four weeks.

Brown on Thursday appeared set to back the Republican-backed four-week plan because it extended a program known as CHIP that provides health insurance for more than 220,000 Ohio children. But Brown Friday said he would instead support an alternative plan to keep the government open for a few days while the Senate worked toward a longer-term deal.

It’s not clear, though, if even that proposal would gain congressional approval. President Donald Trump Friday invited Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to the White House in hopes of negotiating a last minute deal, but the meeting broke up without any agreement.

Both parties seemed to be digging in as the deadline grew closer.

The plan to keep the government operating for a few days while negotiations continue was proposed by Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Both have criticized the temporary spending measures that have become commonplace as a substitute for a long-term budget.

Congress has passed short-term spending resolutions three times since the fiscal year began in October.

RELATED: Five things to know if a shutdown happens

“We owe it to the people we work for to keep working and get the job done,” said Brown.

Republicans seized on the Democratic senator’s apparent change of heart over the four-week spending plan, which was approved by the House Thursday night and has the backing of the president.

Bob Salera of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called Brown’s decision “alarming” but “unsurprising.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” said it’s “unusual that you have this kind of opposition when there’s nothing objectionable there.”

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He said Democrats were hoping to get a resolution on DACA, an acronym for a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, “but it’s an issue that hasn’t been resolved yet and it will take a little more time.”

“This is not a good way to score political points,” Portman said.

Last December, Brown voted against a temporary spending bill that kept the government open because it only extended CHIP money for three months instead of five years. In a floor speech the night the bill passed, Brown complained that a three-month extension “provides no certainty to the states that are running CHIP.”

RELATED: 7 things to know about the Children’s Health Insurance Program

But if he votes against the House version of the new spending bill to keep the government open for the next four weeks, Republicans can argue that Brown in essence is voting against a six-year extension of CHIP. Brown faces re-election in November.

In a statement Friday, Brown spokeswoman Jennifer Donohue said: “The fact is CHIP would have been passed months ago if Mitch McConnell and Republican leaders had listened to Senator Brown, but instead they’re holding the program hostage and using Ohio kids as political leverage. Senator Brown is continuing to fight for CHIP as part of a bipartisan budget deal, and if Republican leaders will bring up a clean CHIP bill, Sherrod will cast the first vote to pass it.”

The bill the Republican-led House passed Thursday would keep the federal government open through mid-February. Both House and Senate Democrats have balked at the deal, however, in part because it does not offer legal guarantees for DACA children, the so-called Dreamers.

Because of different rules in the two chambers, the House bill could pass by a simple majority, but the Senate needs 60 votes to approve it. If no agreement is reached, the federal government could partially close at midnight Friday for the first time since 2013.

RELATED: Trump and Schumer end private talks with no deal in hand

It would represent the first time that the federal government has closed when the House, Senate and presidency are all held by the same party.

Republicans made clear they will blame Senate Democrats if a shutdown occurs. House Speaker Paul Ryan called the last–minute maneuvering “absolutely, needless, completely unnecessary and wholly because of Senate Democrats trying to shut down the government.”

But a Washington Post-ABC News Poll released Friday indicated most Americans blamed the party in power: 48 percent of those polled blamed Republicans while 28 percent blamed Democrats.

Government shutdown: Will I still get my mail?

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 5:33 PM

Packages advance on a conveyor belt as they are sorted at the U.S. Postal service’s Royal Palm Processing and Distribution Center on December 4, 2017 in Opa Locka, Florida.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Packages advance on a conveyor belt as they are sorted at the U.S. Postal service’s Royal Palm Processing and Distribution Center on December 4, 2017 in Opa Locka, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)(Palm Beach Post Staff Writer)

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees could be barred from working if Congress can’t agree to a budget plan and avoid a shutdown.

But the country’s more than 500,000 postal service workers won’t be among them. 

Mail service will continue uninterrupted, even during a government shutdown. 

That’s because the U.S. Postal Service is not funded by taxpayer dollars for everyday operations.


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Here’s how you could join New Carlisle city council

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

            New Carlisle is taking applications for a new city council member. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF
New Carlisle is taking applications for a new city council member. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

New Carlisle is seeking candidates for a vacant spot on its city council.

A seat on its seven-member council opened up after former Council Member Jim Leathley resigned this month amid controversy over the selection of Council Member Ethan Reynolds as mayor.

RELATED: New Carlisle gets new mayor amid controversy, accusations

Leathley accused Reynolds of colluding with Council Members Ronald Cobb and Bill Cook by offering to help them campaign in exchange for their votes for Reynolds as mayor. Reynolds denied Leathley’s claim.

The selected council member will serve out the remainder of Leathley’s term. Almost two years remain in the seat’s four-year term, putting the spot up for grabs again in the 2019 general election.

Leathley served on the council for about a year after filling a vacant spot left by former Mayor and Council Member Lowell McGlothin. The seat opened up when McGlothin was elected a Clark County commissioner.

New Carlisle’s council meets on the first and third Monday of every month, at 7 p.m. in the Smith Park Shelter House. Council members earn about $4,800 annually.

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Potential council members must be registered voters and New Carlisle residents. To be considered, candidates should complete and submit an application, which is available at the City Building at 331 S. Church St.

The application asks about service on community boards and committees, involvement in local events, why a resident wants to serve on council and what skills they would bring to the position.

“If you live in New Carlisle and enjoy the benefits of the city and want to be active in its decision-making, this is a position for you,” said Reynolds, who served on council for six years before being selected as mayor this month.

Applications for the position are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24.

How could government shutdown affect Springfield residents?

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 5:00 PM

            Cedarville University History and Law Professor Mark Clauson. Allyson Brown/Staff
Cedarville University History and Law Professor Mark Clauson. Allyson Brown/Staff

Some Springfield seniors said they’re worried about their Social Security benefits should the government shut down this week, but a local professor says the affect in the Miami Valley won’t be great if it’s short.

A shutdown could occur if lawmakers can’t reach an agreement this week on funding the government at least in the short term. The last federal government shutdown was in 2013.

Retired Springfield resident Sam Myers hopes the shutdown won’t happen. He relies on a pension from a former employer, as well as Social Security, and is concerned about how it could affect that.

“It would make things a little rougher for a while (if Social Security were affected),” he said. “I’m sure I will be good for a while. Hopefully that doesn’t happen. Hopefully they can work something out.”

He said he uses his government benefits for groceries and to pay bills.

“I know a lot of people it would probably hurt because they are just on Social Security,” Myers said.

But Cedarville University History and Law Professor Mark Clauson says that agency won’t be affected and is protected at this time.

In a sense, the government would shut down and it wouldn’t, Clauson said.

“Government employees continue to get paid but they don’t have to go to work,” he said. “Essential employees will go to work, non-essential employees might not get called in to work.”

It could affect some federal employers in the area like Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, one of the biggest employers in the region and state.

“Certainly someone in national defense, the military, would be an essential employee,” Clauson said.

Along with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, many of them would be at work no matter what. Employees like administrative assistants will still be paid but likely not reporting to work.

“The ones who are non-essential are the ones who do more routine work that doesn’t require them to be out there doing something specific that would bring safety or protection or some service to somebody else,” Clauson said.

Each federal department is left to decide what it’s going to do, he said. For example, in 2013, the park service shut down all national parks and monuments.

Traveling shouldn’t be affected because the Transportation Security Agency is considered essential, he said, but traveling for the first time out of the country might be harder.

“Passports could be affected if … the agency head deems he will not employ some of his people,” Clauson said.

The public might not notice a shutdown at first, Clauson said, but would eventually if it lasts longer than a few weeks.