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Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

From ousted to election official

Ex-Auglaize County elections director gets new position with secretary of state

By Janie Southard
A former Auglaize County elections official removed from office by the state in 2005 has been named a field representative by the new Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner.
Jean Burklo, former top elections official in Auglaize County, was removed from office in 2005 for election improprieties following an investigation by Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican. She is still among those named in an ongoing $500,000 civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Toledo filed by former Auglaize Election Board Director Linda Huber.
Huber makes 11 claims in her lawsuit including fraudulent procurement of federal funds, wrongful discharge and sunshine law violations.
Reached this morning by cell phone, Burklo said she did not have time to comment on her new appointment.
Burklo, a Democrat, served as the Auglaize County coordinator for the Brunner campaign last year.
Auglaize and Mercer counties are both included in the nine-county area Burklo will cover in her new position. The other counties include: Allen, Hardin, Logan, Paulding, Putnam, Shelby and Van Wert.
Field reps serve as liaisons between county election boards and the state offering training and assistance in matters affecting elections.
For example, Blackwell provided a field representative to observe the activities of the Auglaize Elections Board after it was put on administrative oversight in October 2004. Burklo was removed from office six months later by Blackwell for improprieties in carrying out her duties.
Blackwell wrote the board would remain on oversight "until such time as I have completed the investigation and am satisfied the board has regained the trust and confidence expected of public officials ... and can perform the functions and duties required by law."
The board was removed from oversight in December.
For more than two years Blackwell's field rep personally observed the board's activities as part of the administrative oversight.
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