The Greene County Board of Elections is reviewing its hiring procedures after learning that one of its clerks had a felony conviction.
The board fired the clerk Monday.
The agency said it was unaware the employee, an entry-level clerk, had a criminal conviction because she was not required to complete a job application when she was hired.
“We can’t have anyone with a felony (conviction) work here,” said Anne Gerard, the Greene County Board of Elections chairwoman. “Because she went from parttime to fulltime, we did not do a background check. It was a horrible shock for us and we felt bad.”
State law prohibits the board from hiring anyone with a felony conviction, according to election board officials.
The board does not require part-time employees to go through a background check, Gerard said, so the employee’s conviction was not discovered until recently. Gerard declined to disclose how the conviction came to the board’s attention.
The chairwoman said the board met with the county personnel department in April and the agency will require all job seekers, including those applying for part-time positions, to complete a county job application.
The application asks applicants if they have been convicted of a felony and includes space for the applicant to explain the conviction.
The board also plans to discuss requiring background checks for all job candidates.
The clerk, Hayley M. Lewis, 24, worked for the elections board from September 2008 until this week when she was fired because of her criminal conviction. She was one of eight employees, and as of January she earned $11.25 per hour, according to elections board records.
Lewis initially worked as a seasonal temporary part-time employee. In 2010, she worked as a part-time temporary clerk, and was hired fulltime in November 2011 as a clerk, according to the BOE director.
Six months before she was hired at the agency, Lewis was indicted on five counts of forgery, a fifth degree felony, according to court records. Lewis was arrested by Xenia police after she cashed more than $3,000 worth of counterfeit money orders. She pleaded guilty to the charges in May 2008.
A Greene County Common Pleas Court judge sentenced her to five years of probation and ordered her to pay $3,176.70 in restitution, according to court records.
Lewis could not be reached for comment.
“It had nothing to do with the May 7 election,” said Nancy Johannes, the Greene County Board of Elections director. “I’m sorry it came so close to the election.
By Sharahn D. Boykin - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)
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