Sheila McLaughlin reports:
Two board of election employees – including the son of a county commissioner – resigned in the wake of allegations that they were receiving full-time benefits for working part-time jobs.
The county made about $200,000 contributions toward their medical and dental insurance and also paid toward their pensions.
Republican Brent Dixon, 44, and Democrat Garry Hicks, 61, resigned this month after Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser became involved and issued a “cease and desist” letter to the board of elections, Republican elections board member Dave Kern told The Enquirer. Neither Dixon nor Hicks could be reached.
Kern said he began asking questions when he was notified by the county auditor that Dixon and Hicks had received 14 percent raises and that the county was contributing toward their medical and pension benefits. Dixon is chief operating officer of his family’s Hillandale Communities nursing home business and son of County Commissioner Don Dixon.
Both are employed as election specialists and help seasonally with absentee voting at nursing homes, hospitals and jails. They also work two full days a year – election day and the day before, according to statements by Deputy Director Jocelyn Bucaro in the board’s July meeting minutes.
Reynolds said both are salaried employees making $8,000 a year and drawing bi-weekly paychecks.
Dixon was hired 22 years ago during the tenure of retired elections director Betty McGary, who has had a long-time relationship with is Don Dixon. McGary quit in 2011 after 33 years.
“There’s a lot of questions related to how Betty McGary would go along with this and authorized this as a director when it directly impacted Don Dixon’s son,” Reynolds said.
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