State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Elections Board Solicitor Accused of Conflict of Interest

by on October 14, 2015 6:00 AM

The Centre County Democratic Committee is raising concerns that the solicitor for the county board of elections might have a conflict of interest based on his public support for two candidates for county commissioner.

Democratic Committee Chairman Greg Stewart wants the board of elections to look into whether its solicitor Louis Glantz has created a conflict of interest by sponsoring a September fundraising event for incumbent county commissioner candidates Steve Dershem and Chris Exarchos, both of whom are republicans.

"It's a concern because we have a local election, a solicitor who potentially has to give advice on whether an absentee ballot counts or machine issues or any number of things that could come up, and he has a vested interest in the election," Stewart said. "He's not impartial, and I think you need an impartial individual on the election board if they're going to give you legal advice."

Stewart said that, despite Glantz's support of Republican candidates, his concerns about a conflict of interest are not motivated by political party. He said he "values good governance and transparency above and beyond partisan politics," and would raise the same concerns if a solicitor supported Democratic candidates.

But Glantz said his support of Dershem and Exarchos is a non-issue, especially since he brought his involvement in the September fundraiser to the attention of the Centre County Board of Elections before the event took place. He said he communicated through the county administrator, advising the elections board to consider appointing an alternate solicitor through the elections.

"It's not unusual that I, being an American citizen, support people in elections," Glantz said. "But I brought it to the board because I didn't want there to be any concerns."

Glantz, who is also solicitor to the county commissioners, said he co-sponsored the fundraiser alongside eight other citizens. He said he contributed about $67 to both Dershem and Exarchos, both of whom supported Glantz back in August when the minority commissioner called for his resignation.

Director of the Centre County Office of Elections Joyce McKinley confirmed that Glantz did advise the board of elections of his support for the two incumbent commissioners and recommended appointing an alternate solicitor.

Although the board did not take immediate action on that recommendation, McKinley said the board will discuss the perceived conflict of interest and potential responses at its next meeting, which has not yet been scheduled.

Glantz said acting as solicitor to the board of elections is a fairly minor position. He joked his main responsibility is ”getting donuts” for meetings, but explained that he mostly has to answer questions about legal technicalities such as how far away signs must be located from polling places.

 “I’ve been doing this for, I think, 23 years including primaries, and I don’t think I’ve ever been asked a political question,” Glantz said.

McKinley said that any challenge or question about election results goes directly to a judge from the Centre County Court of Common Pleas, and that the elections board solicitor has no role in resolving political disputes.



Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
Next Article
Penn State Football: Minutes 30-45 Perhaps The Most Important This Weekend
October 13, 2015 3:55 PM
by Ben Jones
Penn State Football: Minutes 30-45 Perhaps The Most Important This Weekend
Comments
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2020 StateCollege.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

order food online