With tempers flaring and voices raised, two Board of Elections board members stormed out of a monthly board meeting Wednesday night while another criticized Executive Director Robert Kando’s job performance. Within hours, Kando was suspended without pay for 30 business days beginning Monday, which means the suspension will last through the state’s presidential primary day, April 26. The reason: He failed to sign up in January for management classes he was directed to take in connection with his last suspension. Disorder first ensued when board member Stephen P. Erickson began reading a previously undisclosed directive Kando was given in 2013 after he introduced legislation on the board’s behalf without its knowledge. The letter said Kando was directed to produce reports to the board about his legislative activities — something that has not consistently happened.
As the letter was read, board member Martin Joyce Jr. began shouting, “You’re going on and on beating the same dog.” “You can’t bully me into this,” Erickson responded.
Joyce and board member Richard Pierce then walked out of the meeting. Erickson continued reading the letter while acting Chairman William West banged his gavel. The board then voted for legal counsel Raymond Marcaccio to take over as the board’s lobbyist on all legislation. West abstained.
It was the latest outburst about Kando’s job performance. Over the past two years, the board has noted several issues with how its $143,131-a-year director has done his job. Later, the board discussed his performance in a closed session.